*Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links. Please note that I only recommend books, products, courses, and services that resonate with me and all opinions expressed are my own. The affiliate link below means that I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase at no cost to you.
I love journaling.
If you have read any of my blogs, or have been in my classes, then you know that I highly recommend journaling as a way to help us release emotions and process our thoughts.
I started the practice of journaling in high school from an English summer writing camp. It was an assignment only but it was the first time in my life that I actually enjoyed writing. I didn’t have to think about the grammar, spelling, or any other rules for the matter of fact.
I then realized journaling was the place for me to connect with my inner voice. The more I journaled, I better I was at listening to my inner voice.
I would write down my ups and downs, my heartbreaks, triumphs, anger and worries. Anything that came to my mind, I just jotted down on paper.
It was cathartic, the process. The pen moving on the paper, transferring all my inner thoughts and the different voices in my head through my hand onto something physical.
There are multiple voices in my head that want to be heard, with the inner critic being the loudest usually. But the more I journal, I know that eventually there will be a wise voice emerging. Some may call that inner wise voice as our soul, our spirit guides, or even the Universe.
To simplify it I would just call it the voice of Love, with a capital L. Who reminds me on seemingly hopeless days that there is indeed hope. That there are miracles and magic everywhere, but sometimes we just forget to acknowledge them. That there is love, all around us. Hope is not lost among us even when we may be surrounded by fearful voices. Because the love within us will triumph – as long as we listen.
So journaling to me is one way to help us hear that voice of Love. In today’s blog I want to share with five ways on how journaling can help us with our emotional and mental health and spiritual growth:
Our minds hold so many thoughts. Studies have shown that an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. 80% of these thoughts are negative, and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. 97% of our worries are baseless, meaning that they will never happen in real life.
Now you can see why it’s not easy to quiet our minds in meditation. That’s where journaling comes in handy.
In the past I only did journaling after meditation until I read Gabrielle Bernstein’s book called “Happy Days”. In her book she suggested to do journaling before meditation as a mind-dumping tool to help us gain more focus in meditation.
It was true. I tried and tested it and I could focus much better in my meditation.
Whether you will meditate after journaling or not, journaling can be a great mind-dumping exercise. Once we write down what’s on our mind, sometimes we can feel lighter or find more clarity.
Besides being a great way to “dump” thoughts, journaling is also an amazing tool that can help us process emotions and feelings.
I love writing down my own thoughts and feelings in my journal. Particularly when I’m feeling certain negative emotions, journaling becomes my outlet. Sometimes maybe I feel angry or resentful to a situation or person but I don’t know how to express my true feelings yet without getting defensive.
When we write down our feelings, we can express our emotions in the rawest form without the need to censor or intellectualize them. It’s different than talking it out with a friend, as sometimes we may start to water down our feelings or rationalize them in order to avoid being judged.
Perhaps at the moment I’m feeling so much hatred towards a certain person. Instead of directing the anger to that person and getting into a fight, or suppressing that anger and pretending nothing is wrong, I can write down all my anger and frustration down on paper first.
Writing then becomes a way to release some of the pent-up emotions, and perhaps through writing, other emotions will start to surface from deeper within, such as resentment, grief or even love.
Once we are able to find relief from releasing emotions through writing, we can take a step back from our life and start to see more clearly on what’s going on in our inner worlds. We can ask ourselves questions to get to the root cause of our emotions.
Why did I feel angry? Or resentful? Or fearful? Was it because the words or behavior of another person triggered a limiting belief, like I was not good enough? Was I carrying other people’s feelings? If so, why was I doing that?
Journaling prompts are helpful to gain more awareness into our inner worlds. Simple prompts such as “if I were not afraid, what would I do?”, or “if I had all the money and resources and support I want, what would I do?” can help us reflect on what we truly want to create in our lives. It can also help us clarify our intention and to listen to our intuition.
Sometimes after doing meditation, walking a labyrinth, drinking cacao or waking up from a dream, I feel like words, images, or ideas are coming through me. That’s when I’ll grab my journal and write or draw them out.
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic”, she wrote about catching our inspiration or the big idea before it gets away. I truly believe that. Sometimes it’s not a big idea, maybe they are just random words that want to be expressed as a poem. Sometimes I start writing and a short story comes out. Sometimes I jot down ideas for a blog (like this one), an offering, or an answer to my prayer would come.
Journaling is a safe and private way to express our creative voice without the need to show anyone. It gives us an opportunity to play with our creativity within the safe four corners of the paper.
Like any other skills in life, the more we express our creativity through journaling, the better we get at expressing our true authentic voice in all aspects of our life.
Last but not least, journaling can be served as a written prayer.
In times when I need more clarity or just feel stuck in my life or don’t know how to resolve a problem, I would write the questions in my journal. I believe that once the question is posed, the Universe will show us the answer one way or another.
For example, one time I was feeling really down and I asked the Universe, rather angrily, to show me a miracle that day. On the same day I received an email from a guest who appreciated her time at Museflower and felt that the experience has transformed her more than she had imagined. Her words brought tears to me and reconfirmed that I was on a right path. Her email was the miracle and the answer to my prayer. The Universe was listening and gave me hope that I needed to move forward.
In “The Artist’s Way”, Julia Cameron suggested a daily exercise called the “morning pages” where one would write 3 pages of anything first thing in the morning. I highly recommend anyone who’s starting out with journaling to try this exercise out for one week.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the first thing in the morning if your mornings are busy and hectic. Of course, it is a great exercise to do at the beginning of the day as it helps to release some of those repetitive thoughts, and by doing so it can help to set the tone for rest of the day.
But if evening times are the only time that work for you, go ahead and do your journaling at night. Night times are great for reflecting and processing what has happened during the day.
In Shawn Stevenson’s book “Sleep Smarter”, he suggested to do some journaling before bedtime, including writing down three things that we are grateful for today, reflecting the best and toughest part of the day, and what we are looking forward to in the next day to help calm the inner chatter for better sleep.
All you need to get started with journaling is a pen and paper. The morning pages and journaling prompts are useful guides to help us get started, but nothing speaks louder than the action itself.
Try it one time and see how you feel. Notice if you feel any difference on the days when you did journaling and on the days you didn’t. I sincerely hope that you can reap the benefits of journaling as I have.
- Neringa Antanaityte, “Mind Matters: How To Effortlessly Have More Positive Thoughts”, TLEX Institute: https://tlexinstitute.com/how-to-effortlessly-have-more-positive-thoughts/
- Book: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson
- Book: Happy Days – The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace by Gabrielle Bernstein
- Book: The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
- Book: Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Perfect for anyone who wants to wrap up the current year with gentle rest
And enter the new year with authentic clarity and renewed energy
This Sacred Rest with Nature retreat allows you to slow down from the doing, and is a time to tune into your inner rhythm. It is a time to embrace rest as a sacred practice.
Through nurturing your body, mind, and soul with Nature, you can cut through all the noise and start to listen to your inner voice – the voice that matters the most.
This 6-days-5-nights retreat is designed to provide wellness experiences to guide you to be in rest, such as forest bathing, yoga nidra, cacao ceremony, and shamanic journey. The retreat program also offers space and downtime to reflect and integrate, and to enjoy the facilities at Museflower Retreat & Spa.
What we will covered in this retreat:
- Forest bathing
- Nature Yoga nidra
- Shamanic journey
- Cacao ceremony
- Forgiveness practice
- Fire release ceremony
- Chant and sing in kirtan
- Dance meditation
- Creative tea blending workshop
- Discover your heart’s intention
- Journaling time for self-reflection
- Sharing your thoughts and feelings with the group in a safe space
This Retreat is Right for You if You Want to:
- Intentionally and gently wrap up the current year
- Slow down to replenish and to recharge your energy
- Enter the new year with an authentic clarity for yourself
- Cut through all the noise and to listen to your inner voice
- Experience restful ways to connect with Nature
- Feel supported in a community setting with like-minded individuals