Old definition of journaling: Anxiously writing every detail about what happened that day at school while crying.
New definition of journaling: Writing for the purpose of clarity, expansion and confidence.
In the beginning of the Sisterhood Program that I lead, one of the self-care assignments was to start journaling. Well, turned out some of the ladies got triggered by this BIG TIME. So much resistance! It halted some of their efforts because most of them just didn’t want to do it. They said they have never been good at it. They didn’t like physically writing and had no clue what to journal about.
I was honestly shocked, because I have always been so prone to journaling and have always been so excited to try new ways of doing it. I couldn’t imagine some women didn’t want to do this! It was a beautiful wake up call to open up my perspective as a leader.
The weeks that followed were filled with baby steps from them and cheerleading from me. I was fascinated by their triggers to journal, so I remained curious. We finally dug deeper into some situations that held a negative experience when journaling in their past. It wasn’t fun because it was attached to a bad memory, so the subconscious belief was that they will be in pain if they journal.
Can you relate? If so, this post is for you!
Journaling has been the catalyst to discovering SO much about myself and life in general. I think I can speak for millions of women when I say that journaling should be one of the top self-care practices that we do.
The purpose for journaling isn’t to just vent and write about your day. That’s how we do it when we are young because we just need to express so badly it would hurt without doing so. Now, we can use journaling as a tool to help expose parts of ourselves that are predominantly dormant or unconscious, that only get accessed when physically reflected back to us by something we create (writing words). We find clarity in who we are becoming, something our thoughts can’t put together by itself. We will understand real pieces of our identity, needs and purpose that help us put our life puzzle together rapidly. Even veteran journalers still journal and come up with new things to journal about or continue to use the tried and true methods that they know. It will always reveal something about ourselves that will enhance our life experience if we participate in this regularly. It’s just like meditation. People who have been meditation for decades don’t just stop because they got this, they keep going, deepening into the experience that brings them endless rewards.
Self discovery is really the only sustainable integration tactic. When we learn from others, we question it or try it out, if it resonates with us…we still search for proof. When we discover something on our own, we know it to be true and therefore it becomes embodied much easier. Journaling can facilitate this discovery. I am here to encourage you to begin, start again or continue journaling as a form of self development and growth.
There is a strong connection between what the hand writes and the brain thinks. Even if you type on a computer, it is better than not journaling at all. Just start somewhere! I highly recommend the morning because that’s the sweet spot for brain activity, creativity and willpower. Our brain can perform and soak up information like #ladyboss at this time. For the sake of beginner or reluctant journalers, just pick any time of day, though.
The options for journaling are literally endless, but I can share some of the most eye-opening ways I have experienced journaling for me.
Here are my TOP 10 journaling exercises that will powerfully and positively impact your life.
This is what started it all for me again after the long break from the musings of teenage drama. I wrote for 2 years straight, every single day (ok, I missed a few days) on what I was grateful for. I never repeated any of them and the list ranged from super small like a compliment my friend gave me to major life changes such as moving somewhere new.
Brain dumps are great first thing in the morning for reasons said above OR last thing at night to get things out of your head so it’s spacious again. There is major power in a simple brain dump. Set the timer for 3-5 minutes and just write anything and everything that you are thinking.
Ideal Scene Manifester
One of my all time favorite manifesting secrets is this journaling exercise. Do you want something you don’t have, like a new home, job or boyfriend? Write out what it would be like to have it in the most ideal circumstance. Use all 5 senses and as many descriptions as possible. What will you see driving to your new job? How will you talk about it/him to your friends? What do you see out the window? How does it/he make you feel? What do you do when you have this thing you don’t have yet? Things like that. Then read it everyday until it comes true.
We don’t get many opportunities to release our anger in today’s society. When anger goes un-processed or gets suppressed, it turns into a health issue and major resentment. I love this method of releasing anger by writing to that person who made you SO mad, no matter how long it’s been. Write everything you feel, what they did to you and why it was unacceptable. Bonus points if you follow it up with the next exercise. Don’t give it to them, obviously. Keep it or burn it.
Similarly to the angry letter, part of processing emotions mean coming back to neutral and cutting ties that may hold us energetically to another. Forgiving someone, especially if it’s ourselves, creates major freedom within us. Write this by starting off with what your experience was that you are forgiving them for. Tell them you forgive them for it, why and what you believe now. Bonus points if you thank them for being your teacher. You can keep it or give it to them, if you think they would be able to receive it.
Love Letter from Future Self
I believe we can access our higher selves, the soul-part of us that is already in greatness, enlightenment and connected to the entire universe. If that seems too far fetched, this is a great exercise to start with because you are simply imagining your best self in the future giving yourself your own advice, love and encouragement. I guarantee you will feel more motivated and on purpose once you do this, and feel free to do this every year or so!
Sometimes we need to detach from ourselves in order to see who we truly want to be or how to move. By giving yourself the perspective of the person you most admire, respect and look up to, you understand the qualities that actually exist in you and can choose how to start living differently, in the way they have, in order to experience what you want. Success leaves clues, so this exercise helps you find the clues that will work for you. Note logistics like where they live, who their friends are, what events they attend and what they wear. Next, write down what their beliefs are, what their non-negotiables are in life and how they feel alive.
What do I want my legacy to be?
Even if you aren’t destined or desire to be a multimillionaire entrepreneur or famous person, there is still a legacy that you will leave on this earth. From stay at home moms to transformational leaders, there is some kind of mark that you want to have on this world. What is it? What does it look like? How is the world changed for the better? This will help you really pinpoint not only your purpose in life, but it will also give you the greatest perspective ever to make empowering choices when you remember what you desire your legacy to be in every situation.
Intentions are the beginning of manifestation. They are powerful beyond belief. I use this tool twice a month and now that I am well-versed in this process, I set intentions in my mind before I go anywhere. We create our reality from this place. Napoleon Hill said “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.” Write down what you want as if it’s already happened and as many details that support it as possible to make it more real and palpable for you.
Freestyle during or right after any major transformation
When you are going through a major life transition, good or bad, there is a lot that is shifting inside of you that will be immensely helpful to look back on. During or soon after any big A-ha, retreats, personal development journeys, breakups, big moves, new endeavors, etc, write what you are feeling, thinking, experiencing and doing that is different than normal. This is the kind of thing that you will want to look back on when you are 80 years old.
What is YOUR favorite journaling exercise? Please share below what the most powerful thing you journal about is!