3 Ways to Journal Peace Into Your Life
We all know Journaling has benefits - but how do I get them?
How can I scratch mindfulness and world peace out of that $28 leather bound brick - with a pen?!
Blogs are all recommending I keep a Work Journal to get ahead in my career, and a Bullet Journal to keep track of my life... who has time for all that, and how in the world is it going to improve my life?
I've spent years searching for these answers, and you tell me if I'm onto something:
The Mind Dump: How to let go of mental trash.
I've found this to be the most compelling type of writing for new Journalers! The thing is, no one knows what to write about in their journal until they've been writing for a while.
Which kind of leaves beginners with the problem of 'how do I start when the knowledge of how to start is in chapter three of my own words???'
Don't worry - I've solved this problem:
The answer is to start out writing crap. Literally write out the words "I don't know what to write."
That's right, take a deep breath and prepare to feel like a second grader, because these first few pages and entries are just rough drafts to get your pen moving.
* Quick Tip * Don't try to outsmart your brain and do this on separate pages until you're 'ready' to write in your Journal. Trust me the subconscious knows your tricks! The second you go to write on that first page, all 'prepared' - you'll freeze.
It happens to lots of people.
Honestly, don't waste your time. Just give over the life of your first few pages to the mundane nonsense of things like:
"I hate the line at Starbucks, its so long, I wish I could order from my phone, then go pick it up in a shorter drive-though line just for phone orders... this sucks, I'm writing about my stupid coffee that I shouldn't even be spending money on because I'm always scrimping for the water bill at the end of the month and buying ramen..."
Seriously. Just let the nonsense flow out of your head and onto the page.
Because really, those thoughts do NOT belong in your brain. You have better things to think about, so dump it into the Journal - and move on.
You'll find that this actually is a very productive form of writing, though not for the readers sake. But then, who's going to be reading your Journal???
No, this technique is actually very beneficial for clearing your mind. You are basically taking all your mundane and cluttering thoughts, removing them to external storage (the page) and being left with more free space to contemplate deeper and more interesting ideas!
The "To Do" Journal: Making it useful in real life.
This is another practical technique that you'll find tangible benefit from! I'm all about real, solid results and this form of writing has it in spades.
It's also a good way to start your Journal with a productive and purposeful attitude.
First: Make a master list of the things you need to accomplish.
All the yard chores, the car maintenance, the shopping list (out of kitchen sponges, etc...) Put it all down there, in order, or just a mishmash, as long as it all gets written down.
You can always organize it later, but just make sure you write everything you can think of.
Then, as you complete things each day, End the evening with writing two small paragraphs:
A) what you accomplished, and
B) what needs to be done immediately next.
That way, when you come back to it, all you have to do is read the last paragraph of what you are to work on next - and you'll be right on track to make more progress!
This means all your little to-do's and things that usually fall through the cracks get done, AND you get your Journal off the ground and ready for the heavier things!
The more you entrust your Journal with your day to day friendship - instead of putting it on a sacred pedestal awaiting divinely inspired verses - the faster you'll have deeper thoughts and ideas pouring into it like the whispering of an awakened soul...
Or, you know, whatever.
But, nice job crossing stuff off that list, huh? Cool, right? XD
Genuine Gratitude: Better known as not being so darn selfish.
Everyone talks a lot about Gratitude Journals, right? But what are they, and why is everyone so obsessed?
I see the Gratitude Journal as the most widely talked about and least understood form of Journaling.
Because how can we be grateful for bad things in life?
Gratitude isn't about making yourself feel differently, or pretending to be happy when things are rough. It's a different perspective from which you can choose to see your life.
Your dog is very sick and is at the end of their life. You have to take them to the vet to be put down. It's horrible and you can't control the pain or the anguish.
A person who doesn't think from a grateful perspective might think:
"Why me, it's not fair, I can't accept that this is happening..."
A person who thinks from a grateful perspective might think:
"I'm so glad I've had them this long, they've always been faithful to me, I want to make the rest of their time just as wonderful as they've made our time together..."
Each of the things that the ungrateful person is thinking are very short-sighted and self-focused. One could waste away in misery for weeks on these sorts of thoughts!
But what occupied the grateful person was the bigger picture. The sentiments include both them and their furry pet, and frame the situation in a healthier way. It's no less heartbreaking, to be sure - but they expressed productive and mature ideas that create room for healing and moving forward.
Gratitude is looking at the Big Picture.
Here's another example, maybe one that hits home in more than one way:
You've lost your job. It's a main source of income for the household. You need to replace it, and fast.
You could just react, and not think with gratitude in perspective:
"That jerk boss doesn't have a clue who he's just messed with, that department will fail without me, I hope they fail, what am I going to do, I can't pay the bills, I don't know what to do, that company is so mean, I hate them..."
Not much to work with to move forwards, is there? With this way of thinking, you could get stuck in limbo. Angry, hateful and stuck running in circles.
But, what if you took a breath and looking with gratitude at the big picture?:
"This is a set-back, but I've had those before. Everyone has. Time to re-evaluate my direction, maybe even my career goals. I need to improve so I can move up. Have better security for my family and not face this situation again..."
Wow. Kicked to the curb, but just brushing it off to move right on up the ladder some more!
This perspective basically takes the loss of their position as a wake-up call. It's like getting fired actually made them decide to improve their whole life!
That's what having the big picture in mind can do for you. That's Gratitude.
It's a way of looking at situations to improve them and move forward out of them. Forget all that silliness of pasting a plastic smile on and forcing happiness.
Gratitude isn't being positive. It's having a growth mindset.
So practice these three techniques:
1) Mind Dump in your new Journal,
2) Put the To-Do list to the test and keep up your productivity
3) Re-frame your tough situations into a Grateful Perspective
and you'll find that not only have you started to write a ton in your new Journal - but all of it is useful and is bringing you multiple benefits.
From better time organization, to a less cluttered mind and a more peaceful perspective in life... I hope you're proud of those pages.