I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Landis back to the blog today to discuss journaling. Jennifer first joined me during the Week of Well-being and Inspiration with a wonderful post about mindfulness and writing. Jennifer now writes a regular column for the blog on mindfulness and related topics. I find Jennifer’s posts fantastically helpful and I hope you will too!
Let These Different Methods of Journaling Inspire You to Start Your Own
As the New Year inspires you to, or possibly pressures you into, making new resolutions and inviting new experiences into your life, so does it inspire many to fill the blank pages of a journal with meaning.
What are you going to do with a journal, though, aside from detail the failings of those New Year’s resolutions and then let it sit? Honestly, 80 percent of resolutions fail by February, so it’s best to use another method now to inspire yourself. You can do plenty with paper and a pen. Journaling provides the opportunity for growth, reflection, appreciation and more.
Maybe you tried journaling in the past but it didn’t stick. The blank page freezes you in place, much like the idea of getting your butt up in the middle of winter and heading to the gym. Conquer writer’s block and more — and let these different methods of journaling inspire you to start your own:
Expecting or already have children? Create a memory journal following your journey through their first steps and beyond. Write about how big your watermelon belly grows as they grow, complete with all the sweet kicks. Inscribe it with memories and footprints.
Separated from your best friend by distance or time? Bring back the old days of passing notes in class with a Best Friend Journal. You can even write it in code!
Add in a “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” vibe by mailing the journal back and forth, and you’ll have a beautiful handwritten way to stay intimately in touch with each other’s lives.
According to one study, participants who recorded positive events at the close of a day — and why these events inspired happiness — lowered their stress levels and boosted inner peace. When you write in a gratitude journal, you don’t concentrate on ranting and reliving the day’s stress. You write down what you’re grateful for and what made you happy.
Try it! Make a list of three happy events from your day. It only takes a few minutes, and your stress levels will go down.
Having a hard time working through the loss of a family member, friend or pet? Going through a divorce?
Give yourself a supportive space to authentically express your emotions and develop coping strategies as you recognize your triggers. You’ll also have space to write about your progress. Try working in periods of 15 minutes twice a week. Instead of writing about “sad stuff,” you can always write about memories and the good times.
Are you a busy individual keeping up with multiple projects? Journaling will help you keep track in your personal and professional lives.
Whether you’re faced with multiple deadlines or scheduling conflicts, your journal has your back: use your journal to solve problems and identify the lessons learned. What didn’t go so well and what can you do about it next time?
Commit five minutes of your time, two to three times a week, and ask yourself questions. What have I learned? What are my biggest risks and wins? If I had to do this step over, what would I change? What are my favorite parts of this project?
Who says you have to write about yourself? Use a journal to record your favorite motivational quotes along with inspiring lines from a novel, something hilarious a friend said or your favorite lyrics.
Trouble reading beyond that first chapter when you used to conquer a book in three days? Life happens. We all get busy.
Keep track of your reading progress — whether it’s for pleasure, work or academics — and record your insights into character and plot development. Create a section with book titles you’re current reading and want to read or make a pie chart to please your graph-loving inner nerd.
You can also keep it simple. For example, in a bird-watching journal, you list what type of bird you saw, when and where. Do the same for your reading log and just list the basics.
Suck at self-care? You’re fabulous and deserve to indulge. But if you’re going to be “selfish” anyway, you might as well keep journal about how badass and royal you are.
Keeping a self-care journal isn’t that indulgent, but it is a way to stay on top of anxiety and depressive periods and to reward yourself for small and big wins in life. For example, use a page in your journal as a hack-this-ickiness guide to cheer yourself up, such as hugging your pet, making art and chugging some water.
Instead of lugging a giant sketchbook around with you, carry a pocket-sized sketch journal. When inspiration strikes, stop and take out your journal. Draw your coffee cup, the wood grain of the table or the stranger sitting across from you. Capture a hawk circling in flight.
You get bonus points for leaving the journal in a random coffee shop with a single incomplete page. Spread the creativity and brighten someone’s day!
Store travel memories with a journal. Consider letting your travel-journal-keeping consist of two parts. A paper journal is a wonderful thing to keep with you as you hike and don’t have Wi-Fi access. Afterwards, you can commit your journaling to the online format you like best.
Create a travel blog or vlog to stay connected with family, friends and readers. On a blog, post your photos, map images, tips and discoveries. You don’t need to buy fancy materials to maintain a vlog — just record, edit and post. Sites like Vimeo and YouTube will help you grow your audience.
Journals take many forms and they don’t have to be high-maintenance. From keeping a baby journal to collecting quotes, let these different journaling methods inspire you to start your own record of wisdom and light-hearted fun.
About Jennifer Landis
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, and healthy living blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She loves yoga, distance running, peanut butter, and spending the small amount of free time she has watching Netflix with her husband.