You might have heard about it, seen others doing it but still feeling a bit lost as to why, how and where to start.
Journalling is a simple (but sometimes feels not so simple) task that can help you to clarify your thoughts, feelings and experiences.
- 1. Release the tension
It can often be thought of as a cathartic release. It gives us the opportunity to release our thoughts onto paper without judgement. A release of tension onto paper that allows you to breathe some life into the problems and struggles instead of just allowing them to sit and fester in the space upstairs. A chance for you to write about how you are feeling about a certain event or experience. A chance for you to open into the things that you are feeling.
- 2. Creative birth space
So many people believe that they are not creative. Assuming that creativity alone lies in drawing, painting and arts based projects. The reality is that we are all creative but we have often lost it along the way. Exploring our creativity is an important and exciting part of our lives. We can explore thought patterns that often don’t get a chance to flourish. We can learn to see the connections between how one thing ties into another. Our ability to problem solve and think critically can be enhanced. When we journal, we can begin to explore and nourish our creativity in life. This doesn’t mean that we have to just draw pictures, this can be an interpretation of an event into an analogy that you take and live by. When we explore our creativity, we can learn to see the world in a playful, colourful way.
- 3. Lessons learned: opportunities for growth
Every experience is an opportunity for growth. The good and the seemingly bad events that occur will always provide us with nuggets of gold that we can learn from if we look hard enough. That fight you had with your partner. The cathartic release of filthy words onto the page can then reveal some responsibility underneath.
How could I have shown up differently and what do I need to do now to take some responsibility here?
We can learn to view the world with different lenses. Thrive or service, we all have a choice to choose how we think and act.
- 4. Problem solve and self parent
Writing out the things that are troubling us can allow us to turn into detective mode. We can seek out the BS problems that are consuming too much of our head space. Alternatively we look to recognise the recurring narratives that keep playing out that require some more attention. Recurring thoughts can quite often be clues of where to search. There is a reason that they keep showing up. In many instances, the only way through is through, and the more we duck & weave, and look back for answers, the further away we are getting from moving through to get out on the other side.
You are a detective of bullshit in your mind. Are the problems that you’ve written down as big as you made them out in your head when they first came up? Or have they lessened their power with multiple touches. A detective of your own bullshit, what solution(s) can you write up that will help to solve the current problem.
How can you close off this cold case file?
Just like that of a detective, remember that your first line of enquiry might not (and probably won’t) crack the case. The mere task of switching problem to solution mode can help you feel like you are taking some control and making some positive steps forward.
Patience friends, we are complex creatures!
Where do I start?
It can feel super weird, sitting there with a blank notebook having no idea what to write. Giving it a go for 10 minutes, getting frustrated, it makes sense that you say “I gave it a try, this isn’t for me”.
The initial block can and will pass with continued effort. With the undeniable benefits of journalling for your growth, pushing past the initial is a small task to commit to for the huge benefits.
Pen to paper is an important component of this practice. We use technology for so many things. It can be too easy to just jump in and check your emails quickly or quickly scroll through your news feed or watch insta stories and lose track of time. Find yourself a space away from technology and connect with the power centre that controls everything you do, say and think.
There can be a number of approaches that you use to get started.
1. Brain dump
Whatever is coming to your head let it out. Go in with no prompts but with the intention of exploring any thoughts or feelings that are going on. It doesn’t have to make sense, it can be in bullet point version or take the life of a flow chart. It can be nonsense or look like the scribbles of a crazy woman. Set no expectations and simply follow the line of thought. This is a great way to just “let it out”. Simply sit with the thoughts and let it be before you take any action. Not every thought needs to result in action. We think a lot and sometimes they just need a place to vent. This is “raw” journalling. It can often be too confusing to start this way as one can feel like there is just too much going on.
2. Employ prompts
When one is new to journalling, prompts or opening questions can be a great place to start. The line of enquiry can start with something as simple as “How did I show up today?” or “What did I achieve today?”.
Starting prompts from a positive place can help us to see the goodness in our day even though it may have felt like complete fuckery at the time.
If you can’t think of a prompt for yourself, buy yourself a journal that has some printed. Send a message to someone in your world that can give you a question to start with. The clincher here is repetition. Much like getting better at lifting and getting stronger in our lifts, repetition and training volume is required. We simply can’t get better at lifting without completing the reps, week in and week out. Journalling is no different. It is a skillset that must be developed too. We have to complete the reps. Not once a month otherwise we lose our strength. It has to happen like your training. Use it or lose it.
- 3. Goal setting
If you are a goal oriented person and like to have something to strive for, goal setting and goal revisiting can be a great line of thought.
Exploring what you want to achieve in the next 3/6/9/12 months.
Exploring what you want to achieve in your health and fitness goals or your career.
Exploring what will make a successful month for you.
And taking it one step back, what does success in your life look like for you.
Breaking into your goals on a regular basis and tracking where you are. What roadblocks have emerged in the pursuit of the result. What actions did you take that lead to a successful outcome. What can you take from the last month that helped you to get here or what can you disregard because it’s proving fruitless.
Goal setting without revisiting is pointless. Goal setting is not a one time set and forget task. Make it a priority.
- 4. Weekly or daily reflection
Whether you prefer to set your day up with a simple question or choose to debrief at the end of the day (or both) checking in daily can be a hugely powerful approach that allows you to control your thoughts and not the other way around.
I want to finish the day knowing I have done this…
Today I want to achieve this…
High priority tasks for today are…
Let’s have a great day by…
Today I achieved…
Today I was happy with…
I will take the following into tomorrow……and disregard this/these things……
- 5. Detective mode: problem solution
What is taking up space in your head. Take it out of your black hole of negative space and breathe some fresh light into it. Assume detective mode and search deep for possible solutions. Take a helicopter view of yourself from the sky and scour the scenery for all possible clues. Think of the simple and complex files to this problem and write it down. What solutions can you see? Let’s knock off some easy wins from your problem files and build some wins and confidence in your ability to solve and get the job done.
- 6. Gratitude
Do you want to wire the negative nancy into your life or do you want to seek something else?
Amongst the chaos of our ever changing lives, we can bring ourselves back to reality and gratefulness. We live in a volatile world that is made up of confusing things and confusing people that can make us feel certain ways. It is what it is and this is living. If we choose to only tap into that wire, be prepared to get caught up in that thought process. At the end of the day we have the choice to bring it back home and celebrate and be grateful for all that we have.
As of September 25th 2019 there was said to be 7.7 billion people in this world. The things we have, the resources that are available to us, the opportunities that are at our fingertips, this is not available to everyone.
I am grateful for…
Today I got to wake up and experience…
What do you do after journalling?
With all this information, what do I do next?
Thoughts and feelings can be things that pass in time or things that may be great to explore. Not every thought needs to have action taken. Sometimes we simply need to have them, sit with them and then let them go.
That crazy dream you had last night that had you doing some seriously crazy shit……that doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Accept it for what it might be and move on.
The recurring thoughts that keep coming up, the ones that keep plaguing you, don’t ignore them. Reach out to someone you trust and have a conversation to gain some perspective. Look up a book and explore the topic further. Download a podcast and breathe some more life into it. Write about it again the next day with fresh eyes and new thoughts.
Just because you might not be able to “find an answer” and “feel a result” immediately isn’t a reason to give up. We don’t get stronger by lifting a barbell for one week. PB lifts are built in volume and repetition. PB’s are built in the months, the weeks where you don’t want to train but you do it anyway. Goals are achieved in the continuous effort and the showing up daily.
We search and search for answers but are often so hesitant to explore the one thing that controls everything: our mind.
Our mind is a powerful place and one that has the ability to push us forward or pull us back.
And remember, these thoughts and feelings that you write down. They are for you and you alone. Everyone else is already wrapped up in their own thoughts to want to break the lock on your diary.
Breathe and write x
Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter!
Want to experience how we set your training up for success? Book in a free movement analysis with one of our coaches (limited spots available).