Journaling and other mindfulness practices have gotten a lot of attention in the media lately.
And with good reason.
We know by now, that there’s plenty of research to back up the many health benefits of putting pen to paper, (or fingers to keyboard, whatever your preferred flavor,) but what happens when you sit down with the best of intentions only to come up blank?
Here are 4 of my favorite ways to kickstart the journaling process on the days when it doesn’t quite want to get into gear.
The benefits of a gratitude practice go way beyond your run of the mill woo-woo and hippie shit. Not only is saying “thank you” considered polite, according to Forbes.com, science has weighed in pretty heavily on the benefits of being grateful.
Try making a list of the things you’re grateful for daily. It doesn’t matter how big or small the thing is. If it makes you wanna jump up and down with glee or if it just makes you crack a teensy, barely recognizable smile, write it down.
You can write down a set number of things each day, (I’ve experimented at different times with 3, 5 or as many as 10) or you can be more free-flowing with it. (Because, let’s face it… sometimes it’s hard to come up with 10 or so awesome things when you’re really struggling to get your vibe up. After all, you want to remain authentic here.)
That being said? Even if you find 1 thing to be grateful for that day, you can bet that it will raise your vibrational frequency and make you more aware of how awesome you’ve really got it.
Speaking of revving up your vibes, affirmations, (especially written affirmations) are one of the most powerful ways to get the Law of Attraction working for you.
Writing affirmations down (in ink) makes them concrete.
In essence? It makes them more real.
And that much more likely to become real in your experience.
Sarah Prout has a great tool called the Ancient Manifestation Ritual that can give you a great framework if you need a little extra structure around this approach. I’ve used it before and managed to manifest almost $10K per month in income.
Find some affirmations on Google, Pinterest or simply write some of your own.
(Bonus points for putting them into “I AM” format: ie: “I AM starring on Broadway and running a killer side-hustle business in interior design for dog houses”.)
Try writing them repeatedly at the beginning or end of your journaling practice.
Or hell… maybe that’s all your journaling practice is.
You really can’t go wrong here.
Similar to affirmations, but with a little more weight behind them.
Tracking your intentions is a great way to build some accountability into your goal setting.
I’d suggest using the SMART goal-setting technique.
You know? That thing where you set goals that are:
When you flip back through the pages you can take an honest assessment of where you’ve been, where you wanted to go and whether or not the actions you were taking actually got you there.
When you find that where you’re at now isn’t quite lining up with the things you said you wanted, it’s time to own that shit.
Nothing is quite as powerful for getting things done in your life than taking 100% responsibility for your actions (or lack thereof).
When you’re clear on what doesn’t work for you, you can start focusing more on the things that will.
One of my personal favorite ingredients I’ve added to my own journaling practice as of late is Morning Pages.
Fans of The Artist’s Way will be familiar with this, but just in case you haven’t heard of it, let me explain.
Basically, first thing in the morning, before you do anything else, you sit down with your journal and fill 3 full pages long-hand. (This one does specify a hand-written approach. Sorry e-journal keepers, you’re gonna need to go analog here.)
“But Leigh… I don’t know what I would write about for 3 whole pages!”
That’s alright. The beauty of the Morning Pages is:
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU WRITE, SO LONG AS YOU DO IT.
Just keep that pen moving.
The idea is, it’s an exercise to unblock the creative flow.
Most of us have a ton of shit on our minds, right?
Well, the Morning Pages, essentially give all of those niggly little things that make up our super-stressed-out and preoccupied inner-monologue somewhere to go.
Once those things are out of the way, it creates a clearing and a channel through which creativity can flow freely.
This one’s proving to be a powerful practice for me.
Let me put it this way…. after literally YEARS of thinking about blogging, wanting to blog, knowing I was SUPPOSED to be blogging… I started incorporating the Morning Pages into my routine and low and behold:
I actually STARTED blogging.
(Sidebar: I know the author of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron promotes Morning Pages BEFORE meditation… but I’m experimenting a little with shuffling up the order at the moment. No one thing is right for everybody, after all. Play with it. See what works best for you.)
Hope That Helps!
Whether you decide to go the Morning Pages route, or if you want to play around with gratitudes, affirmations, intention/goal-setting or some combo of any or all of them, I’d encourage you to explore this medium of mindfulness.
It’s definitely a personal fav.
What are some of YOUR best practices for journaling? Lemme know in the comments below.