Mindfulness Journals: How to Use Writing to Live More Mindfully

Amber Murphy
Amber Murphy

A mindfulness journal is necessary for anyone serious about improving their overall mental health. The act of routinely journaling one’s experiences and expressing thoughts, emotions, and significant events can have a positive effect on mental health.

Journaling is an exercise that helps someone to become more aware of themselves and their surroundings in life. Putting aside 10 minutes a day to focus on expressing one’s thoughts is a useful life habit. The key here is to communicate in writing creatively and releasing unwanted feelings so that you can have more attention to details in your life.

There are many different ways that mindfulness followers implement a routine minThere are many different ways that mindfulness followers implement a routine mindfulness journal in their life. One routine includes taking a 15-minute walk outside before writing in a journal. Some mindfulness followers begin their routine directly with the journal right after they wake up. Whichever way you like to start the journaling process, you should focus on answering critical questions while putting down your deepest thoughts on paper.

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What is a mindfulness journal?

Mindfulness journal

A mindfulness journal is more than just a notepad and a pen. The act of journal writing is as therapeutic as a meditation session. To have a useful meditation session, you must understand every aspect of meditation for the session to have some impact. The same is with the mindfulness journal. To be effective, you should have a routine along with a dedicated journal and writing tool.

Let’s start with the journal itself. There are different kinds of journals out there. First, Let’s start with the journal itself. There are different kinds of journals out there. There are digital journals like Evernote on your iPad. There are plain journals from Amazon. Some applications keep your journals, and there are more expensive hard copy journals with an interesting design. However, there’s is no specific journal that you should buy. Buying expensive journals is not necessary. However, it’s believed that purchasing certain materials does help.

Try to avoid digital journals if possible

Digital types of journals don’t create a mindfulness experience as much as physical writing. Putting your pen down to paper enforces retention much more than typing on a computer. Also, when you’re sitting down and writing by hand, it limits distraction. Trying to be mindful on a device (that usually encourages distraction) is just a bad idea.

For a more optimal experience, you should consider buying a mindfulness journal with writing prompts. However, some people don’t appreciate mindfulness journals with writing prompts. They prefer to write on their own. Whichever is your preference is fine, but know that we will include some writing prompts you can use later in this post.

Either way, you should have a physical journal that is stylish and a unique writing utensil. The elegant physical journal is to show you that the journal is essential mentally. The selection of a unique writing utensil helps you be aware of what you are writing and enables you to work to get the thoughts out of your head. Every stroke from your hands onto the paper will help relieve unwanted thoughts and stress, giving you the optimal experience that you desire. The writing utensil could be a crayon, colored stencil, or pencil with no eraser.

With a unique writing utensil, you can work out your frustrations and feelings and express yourself conveniently in a journal. Physically writing and working out your thoughts is recommended after you read the writing prompts. Some mindfulness followers prefer a crayon because the crayon requires more physical labor to write.

Get creative with your journal

Other mindfulness journal methods include writing with a typewriter or with a keyboard. The difficult act of writing in a journal adds a special effect to journaling. This creates a feeling of “working out the thoughts” and creates a mindfulness-awareness atmosphere.

Mindfulness journals don’t use speech to text software. This is because the use of speech to text software defeats the overall purpose of the journal. The journal is to create a quiet atmosphere of concentration free from noise so that the person can gain a therapeutic experience writing with labor.

Remember that the purpose of the mindfulness journal is to get your thoughts on paper. Be as creative as you want and write down why you feel the way you do. Do this at the beginning of the day. You will have a clearer mind before you begin the day.

How to use a mindfulness journal

Writing in journal

A mindfulness journal is a digital or physical journal with specific writing prompts that help guide you to write. The mindfulness journal should be physical in nature. If the journal is digital, you may want to print it out so that you can write on paper.

When you open a mindfulness journal with writing prompts, head to the day of the week, that is your current day of the week. The paper will guide you to write. Answer each writing prompt the best you can. Try to keep your time spent to 10 minutes. If you go over, don’t worry. As long as you answered the prompts the best you can, then you can move on.

For journals without writing prompts, try to date the page that you use when you begin the journal. Keep track of your progress. Keep in a state of full awareness as you write. Don’t write without a purpose. Be honest and reflect momentarily on what you wrote.

What you write is up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to use your mindfulness journal. Make it your own. Set your own rules and guidelines.

Write about your day, life, philosophy. Jot down your experiences or things you noticed in today’s meditation practice. Describe the most mindful or aware experience you had today.

When you write in the journal will likely influence what you write. If you’re writing in the morning, you might write about your intentions for the day ahead. If you write in the evening, you might talk about your experience or goals for the next day. Again, make it work for you.

Finally, try to set a cadence to take time out to read and reflect previous journal entries. Often we spend so much time filling our journals that will never take any time to reflect on what’s already been written. Every quarter (or every month) take a few minutes to read previous entries. It’ll give you insight into patterns and common things you write about and notice. Use this data to adjust, improve, and become mindful of your mindfulness.

Mindfulness journal writing prompts

Mindfulness journal prompts

Mindfulness journals are very helpful in bringing to attention what matters in life. The mindfulness journal usually has different pages for every day of the week. For every day of the week, the mindfulness journal will ask questions that elicit a response. The goal of the question is to move you to more of a mindful state.

Let’s take a look at some questions that a mindfulness journal will have. For one day, questions and writing prompts could be:

  • Today, what kind of feelings would you like to permit?
  • Write down: what are you grateful for?
  • What do you desire to let go on this day?
  • Did you notice something about your body?
  • Write down the sensations you feel in your body. Show compassion and do this without any judgment.
  • Recall a moment when you felt most alive today.

The typical questions and writing prompts above are necessary to elicit self-awareness. A mindfulness journal with writing prompts, like listed above, will help you understand yourself. The questions help extract mindfulness types of responses that support your move closer toward a self-awareness state at the heart of mindfulness.

Prompts are not necessary, though. You can choose to have a more free-flowing style of writing in which you write about changes every day. You can also choose to have prompts some days and none on others. The most important thing is that you make the journal your own. Do what works for you and you find easiest to stick to. If you’re trying to follow a journaling format that doesn’t make sense for you, you’ll have a harder time sticking to it.

Other than using writing prompts or the format, try to write in your journal daily. Either first thing in the morning (you can write about the day before) or in the evenings before bed. In the evening is likely the best time to write in a mindfulness journal as it allows you to reflect on the day you just had and decompress.

Start writing

Now it’s your turn to pick up a notebook and pen and set a reminder to write every day in your mindfulness journal.

Are you a journal writer? Share your tips below. If you have any questions about getting started with journal writing, feel free to leave your questions below.

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