How to Start a New Journaling Practice from Scratch

If you are new to the world of journaling, it can be quite overwhelming to start a new journaling practice from scratch. It will be even more challenging for you if you have a fear around ‘not being a good writer.’ But this notion that you need to be good at writing to journal is a limiting belief and false. It’s simply stopping you from enjoying the many beautiful benefits of journaling.

What is Journaling?

Journaling is the process of putting down your feelings and thoughts regularly on a piece of paper or in a dedicated notebook. However, it’s not something that many people do regularly.

Forming this daily practice of sitting down every morning or evening to put down your feelings and thoughts is a formed habit. And to form a habit, it starts with taking the first step. With the below tips, you will learn approaches for a better journaling experience as a beginner and learn the various benefits you will get from this practice.

Benefits From Journaling

·        Improve your writing prowess

You certainly don’t need to be any sort of an acclaimed writer to begin journaling, but in time, you will find, journaling helps you hone your writing skills. And what better content is there to write about that your own thoughts and feelings. The more you practice journaling, the more you improve your writing.

·        Keeps your feelings and thoughts organized

A journal helps you to process any hard experiences you may be going through by providing a way for you to get those thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto paper. In doing so, you will then be able to look at them with a new perspective. When we keep everything bottled up inside, it just begets more anxious thoughts and can leave you in a tailspin of emotions. By writing about what’s going on inside of your head and heart, you can gain clarity on a situation and give your body a break from wrestling with the intensity of keeping it all inside.

·        Relieve stress

Writing down your frustrations, anxieties, and pains in a journal helps you to release all the pent-up emotions in a safe and non-judgmental way. By doing this, you will reduce and relieve all the stress that you have accumulated over time.  A good way to relieve stress is by writing everything you have experienced early in the mornings or before going to bed so you don’t have to sleep on them. If you have a journal with a mood tracker, you can use it to determine your sentiment level.

Tips to Start a Journaling Practice from Scratch

1.     Prepare

Before you embark on any journey, you first need to prepare. Get yourself a piece of paper, notebook, or a dedicated journal and pen that you will use specifically for journaling. You don’t need to buy the most expensive journal out there, but it does help to have something you feel a connection to. Whether that be a special handmade leather journal, or simply a standard ruled notebook. What matters is that you have one specific place that will solely be used for your journal entries.

2.     Make it a habit

They say a habit is a disease! One of the best ways to begin successful journaling is by making a habit out of it. You can choose to start your morning by filling in your journal after preparing yourself for the day. This way, you will be better positioned to make decisions and reflect on them throughout the day.

You can also end your evening by journaling. This allows you to check-in and reflect on how your entire day was. You can set up a different journaling routine depending on how you run your days. The main idea is to make the practice a regular part of your life.

3.     Create time

Some days get busier than others, and you might not get time to write. On such days ensure that you carry a journal to write your thoughts during your free time.

Even just a few minutes while waiting at the bus stop, or on your morning tea break, can be enough to write something down. You don’t have to write everything down all at once. You can state the main ideas in bullet points and then expand on them later when you get home.

4.     Turn to your journal in time of need

While expressing yourself in the morning and evening is wonderful, your journal can also be used even in moments when you’re not your best self. There are times when you get angry, and you don’t feel like talking to anyone.

Your journal can prove to be quite useful at such times. You can write down all the feelings you are feeling at that time, and this will allow you to process the event and give you enough time to calm down.

It can also help when you are experiencing any form of pain. By keeping a pain journal you can track the days you experience pain, the length the pain lasts, and the severity. It can be handy when seeking a Dr’s advice.

5.     Let your journal be a judgment-free zone

We live in a very judgmental world. It’s all too common to receive judgment from our families, partners, coworkers, friends and even ourselves. That’s a lot to take in. Your journal shouldn’t be another judgment zone where you feel like you can’t say what you need or get what you need off your chest without fearing judgement. You should be honest with yourself every time you are writing and not judge what you write but simply allow it to be. These words don’t have to mean anything unless you place meaning on them. Sometimes it helps just to get it out. Before writing, always ensure that your journal is a safe space where there will be no judgment.

6.     Come up with a compelling vision

If you want to be more motivated in your journaling journey, you will need something more compelling to brighten your days. Goals that are not clear will rarely get achieved. The clearer your goal and vision, the easier it will be for your brain to visualize the goal and work towards achieving an outcome.

If you are starting your writing journey from scratch, the above tips will significantly help you and enable you to have a smooth journey as you continue to practice. Just like with everything else, with practice, journaling gets better with time.  At first, the experience can be challenging. However, with time it gets easy as you get the best routine that will work well for you.

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