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What is journaling? 10 journal prompts and ideas for you

Updated On 17th June, 2021

What if I told you that all of those things you dream about are possible? 

What if I told you that when you get out of your own way, the things you desire the most will desire you too, and you’ll move in an effortless force towards each other?

You’d want to get out of your own way and explore the possibility, right?

Journaling is a very effective and very low-cost tool to explore your mind with. Journaling can help you decide your next best foot to step forward and it can help turn on some light switches to help you reach your potential. Journaling is an investment in your wellbeing.

If you’re looking to start a journal, looking for journal prompts, wondering what journaling is or wonder how you could benefit from journaling… this is the blog post for you.

Other blog posts you may want to explore if you’ve journalled before:

Otherwise, let’s get stuck in…

How does one ‘journal’?

Journaling is basically putting pen to paper as honestly as you can. Don’t overthink it. It’s literally that.

There are many ways that you can journal (some that I’ll suggest later in this post) but the main thing with journaling is that you express in a way that feels right for you on the day you decide to do it.

Journaling could be…

  • writing down all the thoughts in your head so that you can sort through the mental clutter and relieve your mind of the burden
  • planning your next 12 months of goals and steps on how to get there
  • writing down your emotions during a breakup
  • writing down symptoms of a physical ailment you are experiencing
  • writing a gratitude list

There are no rules here.

The desire most people have when they consider journalling is clarity. That could be emotional, physical or mental clarity. There is something about putting pen to paper and spending dedicated time with yourself that allows you to find it.

There’s no right way to journal, all that matters is that you write from an honest heart.

Why does journaling work?

Journalling is a judgement-free space with no rules whatsoever. This allows us to show up as our authentic self with no shame. Turning up as our true self allows us to look in the mirror and to face some truths that maybe we wouldn’t if we were in the company or listening range of others.

Journalling is powerful because it requires us to get up close and personal with how we are actually feeling. Like actually feeling.

The more honest you are, the most you will get out of journalling. 

Life, for most of us, is filled with endless to-do lists, tasks, appointments, social agreements and more. Right?

This can leave us with very little time to ourselves. Very little time for self-care, reflection and rituals. Though our life may be fun, when we are too busy, we are denying ourselves the processing time we need to find clarity and to move through life with ease and conviction. 

Too often we also find ourselves in the company of people where we:

  • limit our dreams in fear of intimidating the people around us
  • limit our truth in fear of being too much
  • hold back on speaking our truth due to all the self-doubt we’ve carried around for years
  • daren’t voice our goals incase we get shut down for setting the bar too high

Too often we take someone else’s limitations on as our own. We listen to others opinions and believe them. When absorbing the fear of people around us, we don’t allow ourselves to dream fully.

It’s so important to grant yourself permission to be who you are with no limits. It’s so important to allow yourself to bloom regardless of the company you find yourself in.

Because of the realisations that can occur when one journals, journalling can be extremely therapeutic and life changing practise.

Journalling in many ways is similar to seeing a counsellor in that it allows you to express all that is going on inside your head without the fear of someone you ‘know’ judging your words and thoughts. It allows you to express freely.

Journalling gives you permission to speak your truth and when you see those words written in front of you, it reads differently. We acknowledge our truth and we are called to do something about it. We listen.

Journalling, like counselling, can help validate how you’re feeling and also, you don’t need to rely on someone being in a place to listen to do it. Journalling is always available to you.

Honestly, I’m forever surprised at what comes out when I journal.

Journalling invites:

  • new answers
  • new approaches
  • new perspectives
  • new ideas
  • new chapters

into your life.

There’s absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Here’s a few practises and prompts to get you started with your journal…

What is Journaling? How to start your journal today.

How to start your journal today.

1. Write down 5 moments this year that you felt pure joy

Where were you?

What were you feeling?

Where were you feeling it?

What could you see?

Who were you with?

Write as much detail as you can about the 5 moments that stand out to you the most.

Then write down any similarities about the moments you have chosen. Is there a similar location? A similar person? A similar action/activity present? Sit with your pile of happy things and feel their energy run through your bones.

2. Write a letter to someone that has hurt you this year

Often when we are hurt, let down or betrayed we can close off and barrier can arise to protect our heart from any more pain. Sometimes we get clarity and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we get to talk it through with that person and sometimes they aren’t available for that chat.

You deserve to voice your feelings and your thoughts, even if they can’t be heard by the person you’d like them to be heard by. You deserve to voice your feelings and thoughts even if they don’t deserve to hear from you.

Write a letter to them. Say everything you need to say and wish you could say. Say it with no boundaries. Release all the emotion that you’ve got stored up inside of you.

Then, either write a reformed letter and send it to them, burn it and release that energy from your life or turn a new page in your journal.

3. (part 1/2) Draw a stick version of you in your sad place

Okay, so this is one of my favourite exercises. Get clear on what you do and don’t want.

Start with a piece of paper and draw a stick version of you. Annotate your drawing with all of the things that don’t feel good for you. Get clear on the places that don’t feel right for you. Get clear on the environments that suck the life out of you.

4. (part 2/2) Draw a stick version of you in your happy place

Now do the same thing on a new blank page. Draw a stick version of yourself and annotate it using the same prompts to get clear on the things that make you happy.

Write down all the ways you love spending your time, how it feels, whos around you etc.

Notice the feelings that come up in the body and the way you respond to the happy place. Allow this to get you in tune with your inner compass and move towards doing more of the things that make you happy.

5. Write down a list of all the things little and big that make you happy

This could be things as little as the type of tea you like drinking most. It could be a favourite walking route you do with your doggy. It could be a restaurant. An activity. A view. A morning routine. A workout. 

Keep going until you have a list of happy things in front of you.

I like to pop this by my bed if I’m having a dull week. It reminds me to fill my life with as many of those things as possible on a daily basis.

6. Write down your goals

This could be for the next week, the next month or the next year.

Spend some time really thinking about what dreams you’d like to bring to life in the next chapter of your life. Dream BIG. Put those intentions out into the universe and set the frequency you’d like to attract in.

Every new year I write down 5/6 big goals for the year. Things I’d like to achieve. Then I break those down into monthly steps. Monthly movements that will move me towards the bigger goals. Think big but action small is my motto. Bitesize chunks every day and before you know it… YOU’RE THERE.

Write it down, acknowledge it, decide you deserve it, take small actions every day and watch it come to fruition.

7. Write down a list of lessons you've learnt in the last year

It’s as important to congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come as it is to set goals and dreams for where you want to go.

We are growing and blooming every single day that we are alive and sometimes we forget that. We overlook the small wins and think we have to be achieving huge milestones in our career all the time. Have a think about what you’ve learnt on a personal level in the last year.

8. Write down some words that have inspired you / stuck with you this year...

Write down a collection of:

  • quotes you’ve read
  • advice people have given you that has been priceless
  • excerpts you have read in books that have resonated with you
  • words of encouragement you’ve received

Create a couple of pages of inspiration to lift you on days where you need it. Send a message to the people that have contributed in a positive way to your life this year and thank them.

9. Write down a list of things you are grateful for

No matter what the world throws at us, we always have something to be grateful for.

Writing down gratitude is the best way to flick a switch in your brain and raise your consciousness.

If we focus on the negative things, they get bigger. If we focus on the good things, they get bigger.

Make a habit out of boosting your consciousness and your vibrations by tuning into gratitude.

10. Morning check-in

When I was going through a rough time emotionally earlier this year, it begun taking its toll on my body physically. The link between the emotional stress and my growing physical ailments became very apparent. Before I knew it, my body mind and soul was chaos. It was hard to navigate, hard to put my finger on what to do to get my body back to balance.

Journalling, along with an hour of yoga and breathwork (to get into my body), became my saving grace. Every morning I would open my journal and write under 4 titles:

  • How is my body feeling today?

Here I would close my eyes and then write down any pain, discomfort or tingling I could feel and where I could feel it. I would draw a little stick man and highlight those areas on him. I would then rate the pain/discomfort out of 10 with the intention of reducing that every day with other practises.

  • Whats on my mind today?

Here I would just write down whatever came out. I didn’t necessarily need to do anything about it at that moment but I’d take time to acknowledge it and release it onto paper.

  • 5 affirmations for today

Affirmations are basically positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. If you repeat them continually you begin rewiring your brain and rewriting your belief system.

e.g. ‘Today I am doing the best I can’

‘I have the power in me to create change’

‘I have the power to be present, I am here to learn through the pain I feel’

  • 5 things I am grateful for

A list of things you are grateful for, simple.

What journal prompts do you use?

I’d love to know… leave me a comment!

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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