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 and self discovery. Mindfulness exercises like journalling helps someone 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. In this article, you’ll learn all about mindfulness journalling and how to use mindfulness journals.
What is a mindfulness journal?
A mindfulness journal is more than just a notepad and a pen. The act of mindfulness journaling 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 practice mindfulness journaling daily using journal prompts or a mentor to guide your thinking patterns.
Let’s start with the journal itself. There are different kinds of mindfulness journals out there. First, Let’s start with the journal itself. 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) can be a bad idea for some people.
For a more optimal experience, you should consider buying a mindfulness journal with writing prompts if you’re a beginner or a blank journal if you want more freedom to express yourself.
Either way, you should have a physical journal that is stylish and a pen or pencil, maybe even one in a unique color. Some people even choose to write their thoughts down in crayon, to capture a childish essence for their creativity and let the inner child out. Every stroke from your hands onto the paper will help relieve unwanted thoughts and stress, giving you the optimal experience that you desire.
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.
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 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. Or share your thoughts about topics in a poetic format, song, or any other creative method. Write at the time that you have the clearest mind, whether that’s morning or evening. Self-expression isn’t bound by any time of day, just when you feel like you need to get something off your chest.
How to use a mindfulness 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 on what to write about. Answer each writing prompt the best you can. Take as much or as little time as you need to compile your thoughts. Don’t feel pressured into rushing through your mindfulness journaling practice. It’s not a race.
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, problems, ideas, or anything you feel would express yourself in this moment. Jot down your experiences or things you noticed in today’s meditation practice. Describe a conflict you had with someone to work through it. 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 mindfulness 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 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 in a gratitude journal: 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.
Get into the present moment
The best mindfulness journals will allow you to live in the present moment. You might share what you’re feeling, thinking, or experiencing right now. With our minds constantly time travelling to the past and fast-forwarding into the future, it’s rare that we sit with the feelings and emotions happening to us in the present moment.
Life satisfaction often comes in the present moment. When we live in the moment, we’re able to find a sense of inner peace and quiet that allows us to enjoy life. It’s usually negative thoughts that cause us to overemphasize the past or build anxiety for the future. Try not to get stuck on moments outside the present when writing in your journal. A mindfulness journey will often entail some time traveling in the beginning, but with more practice you’ll be able to center yourself in the present moment.
Things to add in your mindfulness journal
On the first page of your mindfulness journal, be sure to include some positive affirmations. Recite these positive affirmations daily to help you start cycling in more happy thoughts to stop rumination.
You might also include some inspirational quotes that inspire you. Don’t just include random quotes. Think about the types of quotes that make you think a different way, challenge you, or simply excite you whenever you feel lost or sad.
You can also add your own separate page to include positive habits you have. This could be helpful on difficult days, where you start beating yourself up or wondering “what is wrong with me?”
You might also add some writing space for weekly themes. You might challenge yourself to come up with themes to discuss each week to channel your creativity or release any painful moments.
Some people also include their meals in their mindfulness journal. Mindful eating is an important practice in mindfulness, especially since we eat three times a day. You can follow along to a mindful eating exercise on the Declutter The Mind app to help you practice eating mindfully while writing in your mindfulness journal. You can also watch this YouTube video about it.
You don’t need a creative mindfulness guide, most mindfulness journals will include prompts. However, you really can channel your writing in any way. If you love writing songs, your journal can include choruses, one-liners, verses, or music notes. If you just need a place to vent in private, you might write your emotions out. Write at your own pace and express yourself in your own way. No one is judging how you do a bit of self reflection.
The blank pages of even the best mindfulness journals allow you the space and room you need to process detailed information, get some self care, or even express yourself when you feel bored. So whether, it’s having daily affirmations, writing inspiring quotes, or having themed entries, you can use your daily practices of journaling in any way.
Now it’s your turn to pick up a notebook and pen and set a reminder to write every day in your mindfulness journal. Journalling can be a stress reducing habit that changes your life. So whether you do it once in a blue moon or seven days a week, work at it at your own pace. You don’t need to search for the best mindfulness journals to get started. Any notebook will do. But the key is to give yourself the freedom to express yourself in the way that feels right for you.