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Journaling is one of the top pieces of advice given in discussions about mindfulness. Countless articles recommend journaling before bed, Etsy is full of beautifully designed personal journals, and bullet journaling has been a top trend for years. It all makes sense. Since humans began writing we’ve kept journals. They really do help. However, mindful journaling isn’t always as easy as it sounds. As someone who's journaled on and off for the past four years, here are some ways in which you can make journaling work for you: 

Don’t Force It

It's important not to force any kind of mindful practice. It really ruins the practice of relaxing and letting go if you’re forcing yourself to write everyday when you don’t want to. Journaling is about self discovery, so sometimes you’ll need to push through barriers to reveal your true feelings. However, this can only happen in a space where you feel comfortable. When we pressure ourselves to never miss our self-care routines, those routines can become harmful. You should never feel guilt or shame for missing a day of journaling. 

Personally, I tend to only journal on bad days. When a day has beat me down, I find a lot of comfort in spilling all those thoughts into my journal. I can figure out what went wrong as I work through my thoughts. When I have a good day, I often don’t have a lot to say about it. I feel awkward only being able to write a few sentences. Journaling is a way of getting your thoughts out, and you don’t need to push yourself to journal until you have ideas that need to be written out. 

Use Journaling Prompts

When I do feel the urge to write, sometimes I have no idea what to say. I know there is something scratching at the back of my mind, but I have no idea how to write it out. This is when I turn to the holy-grail: Pinterest. Pinterest is full of amazing lists of journaling prompts. There are journal prompts for self-love, self-discovery, gratitude, and many more.Often these lists have many prompts on them so you’ll be set for a few journaling sessions! 

Have Fun

Finally, I’ll say the most cliche advice in existence: have fun with it! Journaling can be a serious way to work through ideas and problems, but it's also your space. You can create it however you want. Add little drawing, diagrams, or arrows to your words. Use glitter pens and stick cute stickers amongst your words. Make it your own!

However you choose to journal, make it work for you. Don’t pressure yourself too much about how often you should be journaling, what your journal should look like, or what you should write. It's your own mini world to create.

Julia is a freshman English major at Lasell. She enjoys reading, writing, exploring nature, and spending time with her family. Most nights you can find her in bed watching Keira Knightley movies.
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