When you think of mindfulness, what do you picture? Is it a luxurious savasana at the end of a yoga class? An afternoon spent perched on a meditation cushion, listening to relaxing music and focusing on your breath? A moment, amid a crisis, spent centring yourself and watching your thoughts float by like clouds?
Yes. Mindfulness is all of those things, but at the core of it, it’s about paying attention. And one of the most powerful tools in your mindfulness toolkit is something you may not have considered: a simple journal and pen.
A personal journal is an ideal environment to think, feel, discover, expand, remember and dream. That’s why I believe journaling is the perfect way to ‘plan’ and ‘become’ the version of you that you truly aspire to be. Keeping a journal has many positive benefits. Journaling can help with personal growth and development. By regularly recording your thoughts you will gain insight into your behaviours and moods.
Just as mindfulness can strengthen creativity, creativity can strengthen a mindfulness practice. Getting into the habit of writing down your observations in a journal can help you practice noticing.
How to start a mindfulness journal Practice
Go for a long, mindful walk.
This is something I do every morning – I have various thoughts flying around in my mind, but I gently remind myself to live in the now, to pay close attention to my body, my breathing and of course my surroundings (view the video below).
Start writing about where you are in your life at this moment – Describe your living situation, your work, and your relationships. Are you right where you want to be?
Get into the habit
Try to set aside a regular time for journaling – I have scheduled it and blocked out time on Google Calendar. I tend to do it in the evening – before bedtime.
If you want to improve your perspective on life and clarify issues, start writing in a journal. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. Be sure your journal will remain private or write online so that you are writing for your eyes only.
- For five to ten minutes just start writing in a “stream of consciousness.” – Don’t edit your thoughts or feelings and don’t correct your grammar. Don’t censor your thoughts.
- Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by maintaining a daily list of things you appreciate, including uplifting quotes – Keep it in one journal or a separate section so that you can read through it all at once. When you feel down you can read through it for a boost of gratitude and happiness.
- Start a journal of self-portraits – You can take pictures, draw colours or shapes or collage images. Learn to love and accept yourself just the way you are today.
- Maintain a log of successes – Begin by writing the big ones you remember then regularly jot down small successes that occur during the week. As you pay attention, your list will grow and inspire you.
- Keep a log or playlist of your favourite songs – Write about the moods they evoke. When you hear a song that triggers a strong memory, write down how you feel and explore that time and space of your life.
- Develop your intuition – Write down questions or concerns then take a deep breath and listen for a response from your Higher Self. Let yourself write automatically. If you don’t get an answer right away, look for signs during the day.
“If you want something, start taking steps to get it.”