Journaling is a practice that I have labeled as essential in my life. I have found that it is key in helping me sort thoughts, have self-compassion, be calm, and live within my values.
I set aside fifteen to thirty minutes in the morning to write in a notebook.
Now lest you think I am one of those moms who gets up before her kids and has quiet time in the morning, let me paint a picture for you of what my mornings actually look like.
Sometime between 6am and 7am the baby wakes up and I bring him into bed with me to nurse and snuggle. A horrible rooster crow alarm goes off on my phone at 7am and the rest of my children make their way downstairs.
If my husband is home I pass the baby off to him and he feeds the children breakfast. If he is not home I pass the baby off to a bigger kid who feeds him yogurt. Either way my youngest child screeches like a chimpanzee who has crossed paths with a cobra (do chimpanzees and cobras live in the same part of the world even?) because he is not being fed fast enough.
Slightly removed from the chaos of the morning meal, I scribble my burdens, hopes and the gifts in my life, on the lined pages of my journal.
It is not serene. It is not perfect. But it is necessary for my wellness.
In case you missed the point of my story, the stars to not all need to be aligned in order to have a journaling practice.
Wanna jump on the journaling band wagon with me?
Here are a couple methods of journaling that have benefited me enormously.
Morning Pages is how I reintroduced myself to journaling a little over a year ago. The idea comes from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is simple and therapeutic and peaceful. Writing these pages has brought about some of my most creative ideas and a few really handy aha moments.
The guidelines for morning pages are straight forward:
- Hand write three pages every day no matter what. (Ideally in the morning, but as a mom of littles the time of day I write fluctuates).
- Don’t let anybody read them. Even you. Don’t go back and read your pages for a long time after you write them. Like months.
- Put it all on the page. Don’t let the critic in your head tell you that thought is stupid. Write it down. Even if it’s the thought that you need to buy more cat food. It belongs on your pages.
Vision journaling is like telling your brain one big lie to make your life better. The means justify the ends. I learned about this method from the Vibrant Happy Women podcast.
Here’s what it looks like:
Say you are working on eating better. Write about a healthy nutritious meal like it has already happened.
Example: This week I have eaten food that is good for my body. First there was the hummus with read peppers and celery that I had for a snack at 3 o’clock on Monday. Usually I would have chips and dip, but the crunchy veggies were really satisfying. Then the beet borscht for dinner was simply divine and I did not feel hungry at all before bed. Smoothies and oatmeal in the morning have been giving me so much energy. I love all of the tasty and wholesome ways I feed myself these days.
Guess what! It’s very hard for your brain to tell the difference between a real experience and something that it is told happened. In fact as you write like this you may feel a sense of motivation welling up in you. You might even crave that hummus and peppers instead of chips and dip.
Conjuring up these images in your brain helps it make stronger connections to your hopes and goals and is more apt to take you down the paths you want. Like having you be hungry for oatmeal in the morning instead of donuts.
Pretty neat right?
Next week I will have 2 more journaling methods for you to try out.
So make sure you come back! If you already have a practice of journaling I would love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and tell me all about how you journal.