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What is journaling?

There are thousands of different kinds of journals on the market and almost as many definitions.

But for me it’s quite simple:

Journaling is the art of putting our thoughts and emotions on paper

You see, the way our brains work is that we feel first and think or reason second. I know this might surprise you, especially if you have a background where you’ve been rewarded and recognised for being smart or analytical.

In fact, when people say they are prone to overthinking, they’re really over-feeling. Beneath the thoughts are a tangle of emotions that need acknowledging and working through before the thinking can get straightened out.

Our brains have a negativity bias, which means that we are much more prone to dwell on the negatives, rather than luxuriate in the positives. Even if you’re a glass half full kind of person, reflect on how hard you might find it to accept a glowing compliment or to spend more than a few seconds congratulating yourself on your achievements and successes.

Journaling gives you a way of getting your thoughts and feelings out on paper, so that you can feel calmer, think more clearly and have a more balanced view of where you are right now.

Journaling helps free you up and gets you unstuck

It’s important to say that like any “new thing” it can take a while for you to work out how to journal in a way that works for you. This is why I offer dozens of different kind of journal exercises in Journal Safari to give you as many different tools in your well-being tool kit as I possibly can.

There is no one right way to journal

In the journal writing classes I facilitate, I often hear: "I'm not sure I'm doing it right." For perhaps the first time in our lives, our writing is just for us. It's not going to be marked, graded or judged. We don't have to get anyone's approval or appreciation. The challenge we have is that most of us bring our Inner Critics with us to our journal writing. Our Inner Critic pushes us to doubt ourselves; we hesitate, we edit, we try and hide. And that is where the power of journaling lies for me.

Journaling is a tool that helps us move through and past our doubts For me, It doesn't matter if you have chosen creative journaling, bullet journaling, reflective writing or anything else; what you are really doing is putting your emotions on paper. Even if you find yourself writing to-do lists, I'd invite you to reflect what emotions are down there on that page; what's important to you, what are you anxious about, what might you be putting off? While there is no one way to journal, there is only one way to start journaling

And that is to do it! Grab a pen and a notebook and set a timer for three minutes and just write. Perhaps you could answer the question: What do I want to get out of journaling?


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