How to Use Journaling as a Tool for Sustainable Change

The Benefits of Journaling

When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment. – Unknown 

I can’t quite remember how old I was when I first started journaling. Nor can I remember the reason why I began. I just know that for a very long time, through thick and thin, it has been part of my life in one way or another – even as a child.

And although we have drifted from each other now and again (as a student at university I was more inclined to pick up a glass of wine than put pen to paper!), writing about my life in a safe and honest space has become an activity that is truly ingrained in who I am and how I process the world around me.

The Benefits of Journalling

It has become my therapy; a place of sanctuary and refuge that I turn to in times of need. 

Wherever I may be in the world, my journal has always come with me as my companion, friend, and supporter. It’s seen my good times, and it’s seen my bad times.

Celebrations, break-ups, successes, and failures – they’ve all been recorded in black and white through personal, honest and emotional words that pour out of me whenever I feel the need.

Allowing me to tune into my inner wisdom and find a moment of calm, journaling is an activity that holds many great and powerful benefits. It is a tool for reflection, change, and understanding. A way to process thoughts, release emotions, lift spirits, and gain clarity. 

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Intimate, honest and personal – this is the place where you have the freedom to be and say whatever you wish. It is a highly personal and soulful activity that requires little more from you than an open heart and a willingness to try. Your journal is a haven to be just as you are.

What to Use?

For the purpose of journaling, I encourage you to use a paper journal that you can handwrite in.

We live in a digital age. Laptops, televisions, tablets, and phones have given us access to an enormous library of information and allowed us to connect with people the world over. When used well, it is wonderful.

But we have also entered an age where we rarely disconnect

Like so many others, I spend huge chunks of my life sitting in front of the computer.
I love my work, and I’m grateful that I can reach people through online means. But I also know that I need to step away from technology now and again. To reconnect with the world outside of the internet – to those close to me, and to the things I love.

For me, journaling is an opportunity to escape that digital world and return to the old-fashioned ways.

Where laptops and phones feel so ingrained in our daily lives, a beautiful paper journal can feel special and magical. Handwritten journals allow for more creativity and thought. They force us to slow down, take our time, and really connect with ourselves.

Where to Start?

There are a huge number of ways that you can use your journal, however, I believe that there’s no better place to start than simply putting pen to paper and letting the words spill out. I would say that about 60% of my journaling time is used in this way – it’s unstructured, free-flowing, and a way to clear and process the jumble of thoughts that swirl around in my introverted head.

Writing in this way can often be very creative. In the same way, that you allow your daydreams to drift off into unpredictable directions, unstructured writing can allow for ideas to form and emotions to be released. The lack of boundaries means that absolutely anything and everything can end up in your journal. 

For example, I may write about new ideas that I’ve had, how I’ve been spending my time recently, the emotions I’m feeling in relation to a specific event or situation, new habits that I’m developing, what my hopes and dreams are for the future, how I’ve been inspired by a new blog that I’ve discovered, or how wonderfully supported I’ve felt by my partner during a tricky work situation.

So give it a go. Find some quiet time, pick up a pen and just let the words pour out onto the paper. 

You never know where those words will lead to!

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