First off, what is Mindful Journaling?
Mindful journaling is a way to stay in the present moment and write everything down, which combined a basic journaling practice with the benefits of mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of self-awareness, where are living and appreciating and acknowledging this very moment, and no other.
It is often compared to meditation, since you do try to focus your mind on one thing or event that is happening. However, with meditation you are trying to clear your mind, but with mindfulness you are still allowing thoughts and emotions to come in, but you accept them without judgment, then move on.
What does this have to do with journaling?
Journaling while in a mindful state is incredibly powerful. It takes the traditional form of journaling what you did that day or writing downy our goals, and turns it on its axis. You remain in that mindful state while writing in your journal, using it as a way to document what is in your mind and work through any emotions, fears, or stresses that you currently possess.
Mindful journaling is a type of journaling where you first get into a mindful, self-aware state, then you write about anything you are thinking or experiencing. It is a technique used in combination with mindfulness, when you want to seek clarity, learn to accept things you can’t change, and become more self-reflective in your life.
How is it Different From Regular Journaling?
It is both different and the same. Journaling is a blanket term to describe any form of writing your thoughts or feelings down. There are dozens of ways to write in a journal, with so many different styles of writing and various writing techniques. Each of these styles of writing in a journal comes with its own benefits, therefore they each appeal to a different type of person.
Mindful Journaling VS Traditional Journaling – The main difference between this style of journaling and other types of journal writing you might have done is that you want to get into a place of reflection and self-awareness. This is done through mindfulness.
While you don’t have to practice mindfulness on its own before you start this form of journaling, it does help quite a bit.
Other Styles of Journaling:
Diary-Style Journaling – This is the most traditional way to write in a journal. It is more commonly done similar to writing in a diary, where you write about your day, your plans for the weekend, anything that might be upsetting you, what is going right or wrong in your life, really whatever is happening in your life.
Stream of Consciousness – Stream of consciousness is similar to a brain dump, where you set a timer or have a page number goal, and just write anything that comes to your mind. You don’t need to be in a mindful state, rather you just get out whatever is on your mind, as fast as you can. The subjects often change throughout the pages.
Scripting – Scripting is a form of writing used in the law of attraction. You think about what you want to manifest into your life, then write it down in your journal as if it has already happened. It is another powerful form of journaling that works closely with visualization.
What Do You Need for Mindful Journaling?
All you really need for mindful journaling is a journal and something to write with. Don’t have a journal yet? No problem! Find a notebook to write in or even printer paper. That is all you need to get started.
It also helps to remain open-minded to the process, be aware of what mindfulness and how it works, and be willing to remain reflective without judging your own thoughts.
Why Should You Write in a Mindful State?
Now you know that mindful journaling is about being in a mindful state before you begin writing, but why is this important? What is the purpose of mindful journaling in the first place? Why can’t you just write about whatever you want?
Try to think of mindful journaling not a way to create more rules and guidelines about journaling, but instead a way to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, remain non-judgmental about them, and simple accept what is.
As we mentioned, you will get into a reflective state for this form of journaling, so while it is still similar to other ways of writing in a journal, you are going to benefit in some unique ways.
Here are some different benefits of mindful journaling:
Taking Judgment Out of Expressing Yourself
One of the fundamental benefits of mindfulness is that you acknowledge and accept your current thoughts and emotions, without judging them. When you write in a mindful journal, it allows you to be aware of what is happening in your life, and not judge anything, including your own choices.
Bringing More Self-Awareness Into Your Life
In addition to the lack of judgment and more acceptance, you will also become more self-aware. This happens the more you practice mindfulness and write about what you experienced while in that mindful state. You understand your motivations and inspirations behind your choices, tap into your subconscious mind, and have much more awareness throughout each moment of your life.
Helping You Identify Sources of Stress and Anxiety
Mindful journaling is similar to other forms of journaling in that you start to identify your stress and anxiety, but also what tends to trigger it. If you suffer from panic disorder, writing down your moments of anxiousness and what caused it will help you see patterns to be aware of in the future.
Improving Your Creativity
When you begin writing in your mindful journal, you will also notice that you have less “noise” in your mind after releasing these thoughts, and can then tap into more creative aspirations.
Releasing Fears and Worries From Your Thoughts
Everyone has worries and fears, so it’s not about no longer having them. It is just a part of life. But what mindful journaling does is allow you to be aware of what they are, accept them, and then release them. They don’t need to take over your life.
Processing Traumas in Your Life
One last thing mindful journaling can do for you is help you identify certain traumatic experiences in your life that is still having an effect on you. You can’t erase these experiences, but you can understand them more and move on from them.
Tips for Getting Started with Mindful Journaling
Ready to start on your journey of mindful journaling? At this point, it is time to get started, but let’s go over a few tips and strategies first.
Get Into a Place of Self-Awareness
Before you begin writing, practice some mindfulness in order to get into the place of self-awareness you need to be in. If you have never practiced mindfulness before, here are some tips:
Relax with a breathing exercise – You can start by breathing in and out slowly and intentionally, where you just focus on your breathing and nothing else. Let thoughts and worries float right on by, as you keep centering your focus on how it feels and sounds when you inhale and exhale.
Be conscious of your thoughts – Following the breathing exercise, you can then start entering the mindful state. You want to be in the moment and conscious of your current thoughts and emotions, and simply remain aware of them. This is all mindfulness is.
Take Judgment Out of Your Thoughts and Emotions
Once you are in that mindful state, just let your thoughts and emotions come and go, entering your conscious mind, and accepting what they are. This is when you want to analyze what you are thinking or focusing on, and just accept that this is where you are at right now.
You remove all judgment and self-critical thinking. There should be no feelings of guilt, regret, or self-hatred, since all you are trying to be right now in mindful. You are not solving problems or trying to figure out how you got here. You just are.
Write What You Are Experiencing in This Moment
Now, it is time to start writing in your journal! While in this mindful state, get out your journal and begin writing what you are thinking or feeling. This is going to be similar to a stream of consciousness style of writing, where without judgment or self-doubt, you simply write what is on your mind.
Are you worried about something?
Do you have a feeling of anxiety?
What are you excited about?
What is the first thing that comes to mind?
Are you thinking about a future appointment?
Is today’s to-do list on your mind?
What thoughts keep creeping up?
What are you feeling in this moment?
It can be anything from positive and uplifting feelings of love and gratitude, to worries and concerns you have about certain things in your life. Nothing is right or wrong here. You are just writing what your mind is focusing on in this moment.
How Much Should You Write?
This is going to be entirely up to you. Some people prefer to set a timer for 5-10 minutes or have a goal to write 3 pages in their journal, but if you have the time, just write until you feel you have exhausted your thoughts for the moment.
Often times, you notice that when your thoughts start becoming repetitive and the same things keep coming up on repeat, that it’s probably time to stop writing.
Finish With What You Are Grateful For
Before you finish with the day’s mindful journal entry, write a list of 5-10 things you are grateful for. These can be big or small, events or blessings, people or things that happened to you. Anything in your life right now in this moment that you feel gratitude for, write it down.
Here are some ideas if you aren’t sure what to write down:
Mindful Journaling for Mindful Eating
While mindful journaling on its own is a great way to work through your feelings, find more clarity in your life, and accept the present moment, you can also use it for unique purposes.
An excellent way to use mindful journaling is when you are also on a journey to healing your relationship with food by using mindful eating.
Take a look at how you can use this form of journaling for your mindful eating journey.
How to Use Your Journal for Mindful Eating
Journaling for mindful eating is similar to just using it for mindful journaling in general. However, you are going to focus all your thoughts on eating, food, your relationship with food, history with dieting, tracking your mindful eating process, and anything else that might come up.
More on mindful eating in future blog posts. Please let me know what your thoughts on that are!
What Do You Track?
When it comes to tracking your mindful eating journey, this should be anything that you become aware of, have clarity about, or even details about what you are eating.
Here are some examples:
Keep a food log – You may want to use your mindful journal as a way to have a food log, including what you eat, at what time, if you finished the meal, if you were mindful while eating, and what your satisfaction level was.
Write how your attitude about food changes – Through mindful eating, you might notice that your feelings about food begin changing. Maybe you tried some of your fear foods and have made peace with them, or no longer have feelings of guilt when eating certain types of food.
Daily journal of your experiences – Lastly, you may want to write about your daily experiences with mindful eating, including the ups and downs, how it’s going, what you are learning, and what revelations you have experienced.
Mindful journaling is a practice that can be used every day to help you reach a place of acceptance, find clarity, and enjoy your life without judgment.
And of course, I got your back! Sign up below, and download some of your free journal pages. I am currently uploading a new Mindful Journal, 15 page Journal in my printables hub. Then there will be a full version for you, if you want to buy one, from my Etsy Store! Thank you for being here, and let’s make 2021 the best year ever!