This week’s topic is about journaling! Whether you call it an emotion, self-reflection, self-love, reflection, etc. journal. Journaling can do wonders for your mental health and overall wellness. Being honest though, we’ve tried traditional journaling many times in the past and it always led to failure. We would go out and buy a new journal and a fresh pen and have the best of intentions! As soon as we got home, we would fill out one whole page! Then … crickets and the journal would go unused. Yikes!
However! In the past year, we have been able to consistently journal and we have seen significant improvements in our mindfulness and overall mental wellness. Journaling is such a powerful tool that anyone can and should do. Also, trust us, you don’t have to be a professional writer with the words of a poet. We are not professional writers and if we can do it, you definitely can! In fact, our grammar was so atrocious, that we had a standing joke to say we had chicken pox during basic grammar week of elementary! Regardless, this blog has become our journal and we feel our writing has somewhat improved since then (hopefully). Regardless, we wanted to share our tips with you in hopes that they may help you in your journey!
1. Choosing the right writing medium
First and foremost, the key to journaling consistently is choosing the right vehicle for your thoughts. Thanks to technology, we all have so many options and ways of expressing ourselves! If you’re a traditionalist, you may prefer good old pen and paper and a fancy journal! If you are like us, you may prefer to write on a computer! And no, it doesn’t have to be a blog that gets shared with the world, a simple word doc will do!
To us journaling is more about getting your thoughts out into a tangible form. So, who says journaling has to be written! If you prefer, get out your phone and create a voice memo, film a video, etc. There are infinite ways for you to express yourself, and you should use what will make you most successful! They key here is to use something that you already use every day, this way it doesn’t become a chore to get your journal out and write your thoughts. Keep it fresh and exciting and most of all, keep it you!
2. Chose the right journal and writing frequency
There are hundreds of types of journals out there that encourage you to write in different ways. Whether you prefer minute journals, bullet journals, etc. the key is to do what you like. One of the things that had us stumbling for so long was falling into the trap of what we felt a journal had to be. If you grew up in the 90’s too, then you remember the journals of the sit coms. Long drawn-out books that always started with dear diary and was a daily entry! Yeah, no… ain’t no one got time for that!
Whether you write a daily journal and a couple of sentences. Or if you are like us and prefer a weekly themed blog concept. Your journal is yours, do what feels best and what allows you to process your thoughts. You have to do what feels right for you to allow for consistency. However, once you set your mind, you should try to keep yourself accountable to it!
3. Set the right audience
We know, we know! Don’t freak out! We aren’t saying you should publish your journal for the world to see! What we mean is to set a fake audience of who you are writing your journal too. The answer can be that you’re simply writing to yourself! However, for us, it really helped to imagine all of you, our Tomodotchi’s reading this. This is because, it helps us really process our thoughts, think about our experiences and consider how we overcame that particular topic in a semi-coherent way. Typically, this blog is a real insight into the feelings we feel that week. We use our experiences and write to a friend as if they were going through a similar problem. We found this allows us to truly process our thoughts into a thoughtful and useful manner. You can write it to the journal itself, write to your kids, friends, family, etc. You never have to show them, but writing with an audience in mind, can help you process your thoughts.
4. Find your why
Personally, we believe that to consistently do something, you need a valid reason why. If you don’t have a reason why, then the task feels pointless or meaningless. So, a great first journal topic could be, why should you keep a journal! Personal for us, we do this for our mental health and self-improvement. We have a million thoughts floating in our heads and as sufferers of OCD, we have a lot of intrusive thoughts. Journaling keeps us focused on one thought at a time and allows us to truly flesh out the idea. Further, once a thought is tangible, we can better digest it and process the feeling. This has helped us with self-reflection, mindfulness and peacefulness.
Some potential why’s could be that you want to journal your thoughts so you can be more present with friends and family. It could be that you journal to remember how you dealt with past problems. It could be that you want to keep a journal of happy memories to go back to when needed. Whatever your reason, find your why and it will get easier to journal! Also, your reason doesn’t have to be deep, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
5. Use journal prompts
One thing that can be really detrimental to a journal is running out of ideas to write about. We can’t all come up with ideas on the fly and we won’t always have something at the top of mind. In these cases, we highly recommend using journaling prompts to come up with ideas. It can be what you find on the internet, problems that others are going through, etc. Find something that you have thoughts about and simply write. Like the gym, if you skip journaling, it just becomes easier to keep skipping. Use a prompt to keep yourself on schedule!
If you are in need of a prompt, we will be providing a weekly journal prompt as part of our newsletter! You can sign up below and join us in the weekly prompt. We plan to share our thoughts on the prompt as well so we can grow together! Another great source of prompts can be books! In our Facebook group, we are starting a book club and will release bi-weekly prompts on the mental health / self-improvement related book. You are welcome to join our community and book club at any time!
Bonus 6th Tip! Journal in the right place
Bonus 6th tip! We would highly recommend that you journal in a place best suited for you. What do we mean? Well, personally, once we get home or are settled in to home clothes, the last thing we want to do is journal. Once we get into the home mindset, there are infinite other things to be done and the thought of getting out a journal is exhausting. If this is you, or if you feel this way elsewhere, make sure you journal where you are comfortable. Write in your car before you step out or write at work at the end of the day. Choose where you will actually still have the motivation to write. This will help you be consistent; we know it does for us!
Journaling it all in
We hope you found this insightful and helpful. Journaling is a huge part of our personal wellness plan. It’s really allowed us to process many different thoughts like how to manage expectations, ways we can unintentionally cause anxiety in others or even overcoming being overwhelmed. Hopefully, consistently journaling can be a powerful tool in your mental health tool kit!
Keeping a mental wellness journal doesn’t have to look a certain way. Get your thoughts out in a sustainable and consistent matter and continue to process your thoughts and emotions. Journaling is a powerful tool that we can employ in our personal wellness toolkits!
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As an added bonus for our readers, we like to include a game of where are the Tomodotchi Pets. They’ve been hidden in 2 of the pictures within this post. Can you find them all? See below for what they look like!