I wanted to dig a little deeper into journaling. I find it to be one of the most healing things I can do for myself and understand myself on a different level.
I have wrote this template for anyone who might want to get into journaling but doesn’t quite know where to start. Please feel free to take all of it, a few bits or nothing at all.
Before we start, get yourself a nice journal – one that you love. More importantly invest in a beautiful pen for yourself. I keep both of mine together and I won’t use my pen for anything else other than my journal. It makes it feel sacred, important and beautiful.
Secondly, I like to journal outside where I can ground myself by being in the elements. Make your morning journaling time special so that you look forward to it, have a coffee and wrap up in a blanket. The next 20 minutes is for you and only you.
1. How am I Feeling Today?
I find that after having a big peak in my anxiety levels, I got a little bit lost and struggled to find myself. I find that with anxiety it is very hard to understand what it is that you are feeling other than a large sense of impending doom coming from somewhere.
So, for the first part of the journal, take a moment to listen to yourself. Take a deep breath in, hold it and exhale while you listen to how your body truly feels today.
I like to just write a few words about how I am feeling e.g “calm, hopeful, excited for the day” or “nervous, restless, sad”. It’s good to pin point your emotions, so that we can get used to how each one feels within us and can pin point them next time they come up.
I find this exercise extremely theraputic and a big help in getting to understand myself.
2. Where Are These Emotions Coming From?
After I have figured out my emotions, I take a few minutes to just write whatever comes to mind with a focus on the emotions I wrote. The aim of this is to untangle the racing thoughts and connect some dots.
I like to do this freestyle, take some breaths and allow myself to just write. The main thing to remember here is that you are not here to judge yourself, rather, understand yourself. Sometimes, big emotions can come from really small things. So it’s okay if your nervousness turns out to be rooted in having to face new people that day, or knowing that you have a work meeting that you don’t want to go to because you don’t like groups of people.
I usually find that I read back what I wrote and either laugh or cry. Sometimes it can be quite sad to read how crazy your brain can be. Other times – in the right mood – it can be pretty funny to realise that everything that you are worried about actually just comes down to a fear of “making the wrong decision”.
Whatever it may be, getting to the root of the emotion means that you can work your way up. If you find a lot of anxiety comes from trying new things, make a concious effort to try something new that day. If it’s to do with fear of rejection then put yourself out there to be rejected.
We are not here to wallow in self-pity, and it is only ourselves who can truly help because we are the ones who know us best.
Healing requires bravery. And when you do that scary thing that day, you will feel on top of the world.
3. Gratitude list
After all the heavy stuff, it is important to get some grounding in.
Write a list of at least 5 things you appreciate in your life. Honestly, the smaller the better. When everything can feel so chaotic, it’s good to find the joy in the little things. Here is an example of mine today:
- My Sunday morning coffee, with cuddles, in bed.
- The walk down the beach, I love feeling the sand in my toes and ocean breeze on my skin.
- Having a job that keeps me secure and learning, and allows me to travel.
- Having a family who I know loves and supports me no matter what.
- Myself, for continuing to be there for myself.
- My love, for always being there to catch me and bring me a glass of wine in the bath when I need it.
Okay, so I wrote 6 today… I am feeling very lucky. This practice has been so valuable to me, I find that it can be so easy to focus on the negatives and the things that make us worried and stressed, but when you remember how much joy and love you have in your life it will always put a smile on your face.
4. Things I Like/Love About Myself
Back to being a little lost, it’s important to remember who YOU are. I need this kind of reminder quite often, as I can spend a lot of time focussing on my mistakes or flaws and in the past it has lead me to feeling a sense of hatred for myself.
I like to write about something I like about myself, or something I know that I am good at. I tend to keep this list quite short with maybe one or two things for the day, otherwise if I can’t think of a number 102 I’ll start some negative self talk.
- I like how much empathy I have for others and that I always try to put myself in their shoes.
- I am good at (it’s ok if this take you a minute… currently staring out my window searching for this one) romanticising my life and making small moments feel extra special.
5. Lastly, an Intention for the Day
Keeping small promises to yourself every day is the thing that is going to bring back trust with yourself. Trusting yourself is a huge part of healing the nervous system, it’s about getting to a place of “I know I can trust myself to handle this situation”.
So, taking everything else we have just wrote into consideration, I like to set some kind of intention in order to have a focus for that day. It can be anything at all, just something that you know your day needs.
I like to make just one, so that it is clear in my mind, here are some examples:
- Today I will have fun
- Today I will be extra kind to strangers
- Today I will say no when I feel like it
- Today I will yes to trying new things
- Today I will make my partner feel extra special
- Today I will make myself feel extra special
- Today I will practice my communication skills, and speak up when I am uncomfortable
The next day, when you go to journal, you can look back and reflect on whether you achieved your intention. If not – try again tomorrow!
I have no professional experience in any way, I am simply sharing the ways I have made up to get to know myself better and push myself to be better.
We can only do so much to help ourselves – we must seek help in other ways when it’s needed. But it’s powerful to be able to make small steps for yourself for the better! And when you look back at pages in your journal to see how far you’ve come – you’ll be so happy and proud that you did it for you.
Keep going! It’s all worth it.