Recently I was told by a health professional that I’m too stressed out. While I would love to deny it and say everything is okay…truthfully? It’s not! I’m stressed about a lot of things in my life. Trying to get a book published, launching a big work project, keeping up with this blog, all while trying to live through a pandemic? It’s taking a toll on my body in ways that I didn’t expect…and this professional told me to slow down. And the only way I know how is with pen and paper. So today, I figured I’d write a little bit about that.
Want to know something wild? This journal that I have pictured above is my 30th journal. I just counted out all of my journals before writing this number, and it’s true. 30 journals.
Now I can’t technically say that I’ve been journaling my whole life. Before college I only wrote through two journals—one Hello Kitty diary that my brothers loved to steal and read, and another journal that had a lock and key that I definitely lost. I did have a lot of other notebooks that I wrote in (some I even wrote in with my mom and dad), but I usually misplaced them. So I would say that I really had two consistent journals when I was younger.
Once I hit my freshman year of college, I started writing in a journal every day. It became a comfort place, a therapy when I felt all alone in the big city. At first, I would write about my day, but then I just started writing about how I was feeling. My journals became a place to word vomit my thoughts, and I found myself loving the rhythm of it. Since then I’ve written another 28 journals, and here we are.
Why you should start a journal.
For the very reason I mentioned in the first place: Journaling can be therapeutic. It can be a place to be mindful of the state of your body, mind, and spirit. A journal is safe. It doesn’t judge you. It’s just a place where you can be you without someone watching your every move. Isn’t that kind of freeing? Especially in a world where it’s normal to constantly put your life on display through social media…
Journaling doesn’t have to be pretty. I always find it hilarious to read back on my first diary and read all the times I would actually apologize for not writing in it for so long. Like my journal cares, ha! Journaling doesn’t have to be perfect or look perfect. Journaling can be messy. It can be sporadic. You can open it and write whenever you damn well please. Scribble down your thoughts. Cross out sentences. Let weeks go by if you don’t have anything to write. Who cares if your practice isn’t “perfect”. The journal is your safe space, remember? It doesn’t hold standards in the same way the world does.
Lastly, journaling can help you set intentions. Do you have goals or dreams you want to achieve? Or a list of things you just want to get done? Sometimes having a place to write out everything on your mind can help you organize your thoughts and get productive. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I have to do, I’ll simply write out three daily goals in my journal. These three goals are usually big tasks that I want to get done and helps me to prioritize the important things in a see of what feels like very unimportant things.
Now that you have a few reasons to start a journal, here are a few prompts to get you writing.
25 journaling prompts to get you started
If you’re feeling stuck and you don’t know what to write about, here are a few sentences to get you started.
- What are you currently feeling, and why?
- What’s stressing you out right now?
- What are you feeling excited about?
- What are three goals you need to prioritize today?
- What’s giving you a hard time right now, and why?
- What’s something you recently read or listened to that inspired you?
- Where did you go today?
- Why are you feeling frustrated?
- What would you have said to yourself 10 years ago?
- What are the words or phrases you want to live by right now?
- What’s a quote or verse that recently inspired you?
- What’s making you feel energized?
- What do you miss?
- What are you grateful for?
- What’s a memory you love to think about?
- What’s the best way you can love people right now?
- What’s a meal you recently ate that made you smile, and why?
- Where did you recently travel to that you loved?
- What brought you joy today?
- What are the triggers that leave you feeling lonely and upset?
- Who’s a friend that’s been good to you lately?
- What is your definition of the happiest place on earth?
- When are you at your happiest?
- What’s a lie you keep believing about yourself?
- What are some positive affirmations you need to hear about yourself right now?
The journal & pen I love to use
Because if you’re going to start a journal you might as well splurge…I like to get the LEUCHTTURM1917 – Medium A5 Ruled Hardcover Notebook, which has a little folder flap in the back for saving images and other fun things! As for a pen, I use a refillable Rifle Paper Co. 0.5 mm Rollerball Tip Pen with these refills when you run out of ink. Because if you write as much as I do…you’re always running out of ink. Sigh.
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