When people think of journaling they tend to think of it as being either...
A) Disconnected and pointless surface-level story-telling or
B) Woefully indulgent "Dear Diary"-esque that elaborates on and exacerbates emotional pain - instead of processing it and growing from it.
Sure, it CAN be either of those things if that's how you want to approach it or if you approach your journaling practice as a form of self-enquiry and a tool for self-development it can be super fucking POWERFUL and can...
> Improve and maintain your mental health and overall wellbeing.
> Keeps you in alignment with your true self and cosmic life calling.
> Allow you to explore cognitive paradigms and shift and uplevel your mindset.
> Encourage you to design and create your own reality.
> Create a channel for you to tune into your intuition and recieve guidance from your Inner Guide/Highest Self/The Universe/God.
> Assist you to move past thoughts, behaviours and energies that keep you stuck and blocked.
> Help you fully understand and integrate life lessons and experiences.
> Encourage you to reflect on complex situations and improve your emotional regulation.
> Allow you to safely face your fears without confrontation and move past them.
> Help you to recognise opportunities to grow and evolve.
> Improve your sense of "brain" clarity and open you up to flow creatively.
> Give you ownership, control and direction of your own life.
> Tap into your desires, define your dreams and provide major manifesting mojo.
> Completely reduce physiological stress and its physical symptoms within your body.
> Find new solutions and new perceptions to your problems or fear blocks.
> Get you out of your head and mindfully into the present moment where the magic is.
> Heal your body, mind and soul!
And that's only just scratching the surface...
Journaling is a private dialogue with your true, authentic self - completely from-the-soul honest and 100% uncensored and unedited.
Some approaches are healthier and more effective than others (see A and B above) and although there aren't any hard and fast rules, after a few years of experimentation I've discovered a few things that make my journal practice truly super fucking POWERFUL and created a friendly, sort of "How-To" guide that I like to call, "The Self-Love Journal Method"...
PEN AND PAPER IS BEST //
This straight up brings up ALOT of resistance for many people. With our technologically reliant lives it can seem too time-consuming and outdated to pick up a pen and paper to journal. It doesn't mean that you CAN'T open up a notes app and go hell for leather on your phone or computer - I do that out of in-the-moment ease of accessibility from time to time - but physically using a pen and paper has its own stand alone benefits in addition to what you also get from journaling - like balancing the left and right hemispheres of your brain, physiologically integrating your thoughts and discoveries (wowsa powerful!) and creating physical and energetic imprints that add to your manifesting mojo (DOUBLE WOWSA POWERFUL!) as well as the visual comprehension of actually being able to see what you've written rather than scrolling back and forth to draw correlations and meaning and therefore lose your flow and momentum.
GO FREESTYLE //
Rather than getting caught up in trying to articulate the particular details of a past event or situation (i.e edit yourself) and carefully reconstruct and organise your thoughts, give yourself permission to freestyle your journaling practice instead in a free-flowing stream of consciousness - because your thoughts and feelings are NOT carefully constructed and totally organised! Your mind - just like life - is beautifully chaotic.
When you stop and start and stop and start and try to portray your OWN thoughts and feelings in a neat and stuffy way, you block off the magic. You block off the "Aha!" lightbulb moments. You block yourself from healing because by editing yourself you're essentially telling yourself that what you think and feel isn't REALLY valid, that it isn't REAL and that conditions should be placed on who you are and how you express yourself.
When you freestyle you connect with your intuition and inner guidance system - you connect with co-creational flow itself and you get in the ZONE. And right THERE in your zone is where you find alignment with your very soul.
QUESTIONS AND PROMPTS //
Sometimes freestyle journaling just doesn't get any momentum behind it and usually it's because you're stuck in your head about something or your inutition wants you to explore exactly what you're currently stewing on deep inside, this is where customised questions and prompts can really benefit your practice.
There is really no wrong or right way to ask yourself questions to really get into what you TRULY mean, REALLY want to say or what's hiding in your heart of hearts that you haven't yet put your finger on. Here are a couple of very basic prompts that you can customise or specify any way you like...
"Why do I really feel this way?"
"What's that really about?"
"If I was really honest with myself..."
"I know deep down the real reason why is because..."
"Why?" ...and then again, "Why?" ...and even again, "WHY?!"
There are literally millions of ways you can prompt yourself to dive deeper within to get to the real heartcore truth - it's the cheapest and most effective therapy you can get! You can uncover layers and layers and years upon years of thought patterns, beliefs and conditionings using this technique and create massive mindset shifts almost instantaneously simply by approaching your inner enquiry with a different prompt.
UNEDITED AND UNCENSORED AS FUCK //
This should go without saying - write like a motherfucker - true, honest, unedited and uncensored. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don't fluff about or paint a pretty and emotionally evocative picture for the sake of it. You're not writing a Hollywood screenplay - you're journaling. If you can't be honest with yourself then what is the point? If you can't admit to yourself what you truly think and feel well then honey there WILL be trouble ahead. And more pain. And blocks. And even DEEPER developed deep seeded fears.
No one else has to read what you write... ever! This is your own time, space and place for you to dive deep and explore your inner landscape without pressure or societal influences. The whole point is to be 100% raw, real and honest. THAT'S where the alignment is.
THAT'S where the magic is.
THAT'S where the HEALING is.
What you have to say matters.
What goes on in your brain matters.
What is hidden in your heart matters.
You can't shed light on your darkness if you're afraid to speak its name. And girl it's not fucking Voldemort! It's YOU. The real, perfectly imperfect you. Your feelings and thoughts fucking matter and to process them, uplevel them and heal them you actually need to FACE them.
Just because you have ugly thoughts.. "evil" thoughts.. fucked up thoughts does not make YOU ugly, evil or fucked up. It makes you wonderfully human!
And if you DO feel resistent to admiting openly to yourself certain things well then THAT'S a beautiful example of something to explore the "Why?" about in your journal...
DAILY ACT OF SELF-CARE //
Your journal practice doesn't HAVE to be sacred. It doesn't have to be done by full moonlight in the North-East corner of your apartment after you've cleansed yourself with salt and sage - it can be done anytime and anywhere! In fact it's best if you DON'T make your practice a particularly special ritual - sure use a lovely swishy pen and a cute notebook! But if you can't find your pen or you have to resort to an old exercise book so be it... the real magic lies in your committment and connection to pen and paper.
What might seem like a past-time for angsty teenagers is actually one of the greatest acts of self-care that you can do for yourself as an adult woman - ESPECIALLY when done on a daily basis. So do yourself a favour and carve out time to journal DAILY even if it is just 5 uninterupted minutes. Once you start feeling the shifts and seeing the benefits ripple out into every aspect of your life and wellbeing it will become a do-or-die neccessity and a discapline you won't ever regret.
And if you're REALLY serious about personal growth and manifesting some hardcore magic you might find yourself in your journal for a couple of hours each day... minimum!!