Updated: Jun 23
"Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind." - Natalie Goldberg
I have always loved writing and a journal of some kind has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It has developed over time and I often simply return to just dropping in to my Heart and writing what I hear.
It turns out journaling in general can do a lot, especially for those struggling with mental illness or striving towards more positive mental health.
Avid journal writer and journalist Michael Grothaus notes that there are studies suggesting journaling can strengthen the immune system, drop blood pressure, help you sleep better, and generally keep you healthier (2015).
But where do you start?
One of my very favourite practices and one that I suggest to clients when they are going through periods of stress or change:
Julia Cameron the inventor of this technique describes them:
"Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages–
they are not high art.
They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronise the day at hand.
Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow."
In my experience an excellent way to clear the head clutter for the day.
Practicing gratitude is known to impact our emotions and emotional health.
Studies have shown that by simply journaling for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness, increase self-esteem, enhance positive emotions and support positive psychological wellbeing.
Noticing what we already have can make us feel more positive about our lives, which makes a simple sort of sense.
The practice I use is simple, short and effective. So easy to do at the end of your day.
List three things things that went well
List three things that didn't go well today
Spend a short time looking over your list and then journal about the lessons you learned and what makes you grateful about these experiences .
Set three small and realistic goals for the next day
Journal Prompts for Health
Here are some specific journal prompts around health for you to explore
How do I feel about my body?
What can I do to make my wellbeing a priority from now on?
Which healthy habits do I want to build?
Which small lifestyle change would support me now?
Am I listening to the messages my body is giving me?
When do I feel most energised and alive?
How do I recharge?
Is deep rest a part of my daily routine?
How does my body tell me something is wrong?
I always advise to try and stick to a specific time of day to journal. Mostly morning and evening as this is when we are more open and reflective.
Buy a really nice journal and pen to get you going. It is so nice to write on and with something beautiful, it gives the practice a sense of coming from your Heart and Soul. True connection to the task
Find a peaceful space where you won't be disturbed. Sacred space and solitude is so important to allow your thoughts to be just yours and to expand the mind fully. Here is a link to support you to do this.
I use journaling in many of my events and classes. Find out more and book online.