Mindful journaling is an easy activity that can help you to feel less stressed in as little as a few minutes a day! I’ll admit, I was never much of the journaling type. I always started and then just fizzled out. However, mindful journaling became a game changer for me! Simple, purposeful and short.
What is Mindful Journaling
You may have heard of gratitude journaling or possibly bullet journaling, but you are probably wondering what’s different about mindful journaling? I like to think of mindful journaling as a way to lay out your thoughts while also focusing on intent and purpose. Basic journaling is really just a brain dump and for some of us, that can be very purposeful. However, with mindful journaling, you write down a few current thoughts and then focus more on ways to intentionally bring your thoughts to a place of positive gratitude and goal oriented focus.
As humans, we are somewhat engineered to be negative. This is because originally it was a way to keep us alive and focused. We actually have to train our brains to be positive and less negative. One way we can do this is with positive affirmations or positive self talk. For example, instead of saying “I’m horrible at this” you can say “I am still learning” or “I am capable and smart.” You simply shift your mindset. This is where mindful journaling comes into play.
What are 3 Benefits of Mindful Journaling
Mindful journaling has many benefits! Not only will it help to positively shift your mindset but it can also help you create a more positive and healthy self-identity. Here are 3 additional of benefits of mindful journaling:
- Greater sense of confidence
- Reduces stress
- Manages anxiety
One of the best ways to deal with an intense emotion or a repetitive thought is to write it down. Mindful journaling helps decrease stress and manage anxiety by letting out your thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. According to a study from 2018, journaling can actually improve your physical and psychological health!
What Should Be in a Mindfulness Journal
You can create your mindful journal in a blank notebook or a dotted grid/bullet journal. It depends on how creative you want your journal to be. For me, I created a template below that I use at night. It is designed to put your thoughts into simple categories, for stress free journaling. I, personally, need direction when writing and this template works perfectly when you are looking for a simple guide and starting place.
How to Get Started
When creating a mindful journal you want to focus on a few simple categories:
- Current thoughts and feelings
- Positive affirmations
- Goals for today or the next day
To begin, simply start by writing down your current thoughts and feelings. For example, you could say, I am worrying about work and am feeling very stressed. You can make this as long or as short as you like, as long as you write down how you are currently feeling. After you jot down your thoughts in the moment, then focus on shifting your mindset by creating some positive affirmations. One of my current affirmations for this year is, I AM CONFIDENT. You can change your affirmations daily, based on your mood or you can stick to one affirmation that you are working towards believing and embracing.
After you jot down your thoughts, feelings and affirmations, then you can begin to write down your goals for the day or tomorrow, depending on when you journal. Adding goals helps you to shift from focusing on what you may not have accomplished to instead looking towards completing a goal for the day or the next day. This also helps to simply shift your mindset from a negative one to a more positive perspective.
A nice way to calm your mind while honing in on your thoughts is to mindfully color or practice a mindful breathing exercise. I love the 5-5-5 breathing technique, where you focus on regulating your breath. The secret behind mindful breathing is that if you are truly focusing solely on our breath, your mind takes a break from the thoughts. This is why breathing helps you to relax, calm down and refocus.
Why Journaling is Good for Mindfulness
Mindful journaling gives you an opportunity to create a habit of being there for yourself. It provides a moment of pause, while writing down your current thoughts and feelings. Simply put journaling is good for mindfulness because it keeps you centered and focused on the present moment. When you focus and ask yourself why you are feeling a certain way you begin to let it go and better yet, help it get out of your head. Journaling gives you the opportunity to release your worries and stress in a healthy and positive way.