Every person has a unique story and every story is worth being told.

We all have a voice, we all have a journey. It’s not a question of whether or not we have a story to tell, it’s how do we best unleash our creativity and discover what we have to say. A regular journaling practice can be an inspired outlet for sharing your story as well as a very helpful tool for personal growth and self-discovery. Your journal is a faithful companion and a safe space to share. In your journal, you can be yourself without judgement.

Journaling helps us learn more about who we are, what we need and what we want. It can help us make better decisions and bring focus to the things that support us in taking compassionate care of ourselves and others. With the right inspiration, journaling can help open our creative channels that have been begging to be tapped. 

When you are ready to commit to a journaling practice, consider this:

The first thing you need before you begin to journal is a quiet, relaxed mind. Too much static and chaotic overthinking will make journaling toward self-discovery a difficult task. Before sitting down to write it is good practice to relax your mind and begin to hear your own thoughts instead of the countless messages that we are constantly bombarded with each day. 

We often overlook the simple things in life because they are just that: simple. But, consider that those simple things can change our lives if we begin to use them creatively. When you unplug from our attention based society, you can quiet the rest of the world and begin to pay attention to your own voice instead. Taking yourself back to basics can help you uncomplicate the present moment and help unleash the free flow of ideas that can help you grow and discover.

Here are a few simple, unplugged activities that can help you set the tone for a successful journaling practice:

  • Peaceful breathing
  • Gentle stretching
  • Walking in nature
  • Creating art

(More suggestions can be found in the Journaling Towards Self-Discovery Workbook in The Brightest Side Library)

All of these are wonderful ways to get your journaling juices flowing. After you have taken a moment to enjoy these activities, sit with a good old fashioned pen and paper and let it happen. Wanna take it a step farther? Journal by candle light. This can be a completely unplugged activity that you practice alone and in peaceful quiet. How many other things in life provide you that kind of beautiful solace to grow and learn and discover? 

Here are some of the benefits to letting your pen flow:

  • Setting up and committing to a regular journaling practice that is realistic for you promotes self-discipline which may spill over into other parts of your life. Keeping up with your practice will make you feel pride of accomplishment. Developing a heightened sense of both self-discipline and self-confidence are steps in the right direction toward self-love and being able to look on THE BRIGHTEST SIDE. Writing out your goals helps to articulate them more clearly and keeps you accountable. Having a permanent record of your goals and pledges will provide proof of your successes as well as keep you accountable for what is left to accomplish.
  • Writing down an honest recollection of an experience helps us keep it real and keeping it real helps keep things in perspective. When we catastrophize (or embellish) our experiences can cause more stress than necessary. Writing down the real, honest version as soon as possible may bring the experience into better focus and lessen the stress attached to that situation. Journaling will help you be objective about your life and lessen the tendency to get on that run away train of exaggerated stories that veer away from actual fact. 
  • How many breakthrough thoughts have you had and then lost, never to return? Capture those moments of clarity and nuggets of wisdom so you can go back and revisit them often. Who better to learn from then yourself? I cannot count the number of times I wished I had a piece of paper with me and by the time I get to one the thought has escaped me. However, keeping a consistent journaling practice may pull those thoughts from your memory when you give yourself time and space to get it all down on paper. Those little things, good bad and ugly, get recorded for later reflection instead of lost along the way.

There are only a few more things left to think about after you have decided to begin your journaling practice:

  • What method works for you? Written word, dictation, online journal or blog?
  • Focus on the free flow of creative ideas and not so much on style or grammar.
  • Write as much or as little as you feel, no expectations is always best.
  • Where will you journal? Is your journaling space comfortable and conducive to what you want to accomplish or does it need a few alterations? 
  • Take your time. Leave enough time to let the magic happen and you will reveal the hidden lessons in your own writing. 

Be gentle with yourself, this practice is meant to be healing and not a time for self-judgement.

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” -Jane Austen