Are you journaling the wrong way?
I am OBSESSED with journaling.
Hands down, I think it’s the best way to sort through and process emotions, ideas, feelings… basically: Everything. But whenever I talk about journaling, I hear the same comments over and over:
“I have a TON of empty journals sitting on a bookshelf!”
“I’ve tried, but can never seem to stick with it!”
“It’s just NOT my thing.”
Maybe instead of deciding that it just doesn’t work for you… have you ever considered that maybe you're journaling the WRONG way? You see; Everybody is different. We have different learning styles, different ways of processing information, and different personalities! In other words: we all won't journal in the same way!
I’m willing to bet you have thoughts and feelings surrounding events and experiences in your life.
I’m also willing to bet that, sometimes, you’ve wished you could process them without unloading on someone you love… or you’ve wished you had someone to unload them to!
So if you’ve tried journaling and it’s never stuck, here are a few tips to help you break out of the box and try on a new journaling style. (that might work better for you!)
Here are a few tips to help you break out of the “journaling box” and think about it in a different way!
Let's talk Learning Styles:
🌿 KINESTHETIC: Feeling the pen in your hand, the cool of the paper underneath your wrist, and the movement of writing thoughts on paper… traditional pen & paper journaling is probably perfect for you. (This is my style!)
🌿 AUDITORY: If you’re auditory, you might find yourself getting frustrated with journaling. Try using a Voice Memo or Recording app on your phone instead. You can save the note and listen to it over again to help you sort through your thoughts and feelings.
🌿 VISUAL: If you’re visual, you might process well by writing down your thoughts and re-reading them… because SEEING the words on paper can help with that visual processing. You might also want to try doodling your thoughts, or typing them up on a computer or your phone.
Let's talk Personality Types:
Thinking vs. Feeling
🌿 “Thinkers” process life logically. If you’re “Thinker” then it’s a good bet you’re not a fan of sitting down and writing out your feelings. You are probably great at writing lists and putting things in order!
But that doesn’t mean that Thinkers don’t have feelings! Some of my dearest friends have gotten blindsided when they’re feeling all the feels… because the logical side of their brain has no clue where to start.
What if you tried writing a list? YES, I just said to write a list as a journal entry. Sit down, write whatever thought or feeling pops into your mind beside a bullet point, and then keep going. When you’re done, you can organize your thoughts and feelings into categories, color-code them… whatever makes your soul happy!
🌿 If you’re a “Feeler” there’s a good chance you feel All The Feels — ALL. THE. TIME. This can lead to a jumble of thoughts and emotions that are really hard to sort through. I’ve told my hubby that it feels like my brain is “swirling." If you’ve ever experienced All The Feels… then there are two methods of journaling you can try:
Stream of Consciousness Journaling is basically just sitting down and dumping WHATEVER comes into your brain on a piece of paper. This is the form of journaling I’ve used the most. You might start out with the grocery list and end up with Theology. Who really knows? The idea is that you get all the thoughts OUT of your head and onto paper.
A similar, but more visual idea is the “Brain Dump” or “Mind Map.” Grab some blank paper, write down the first thing that comes to your mind, and circle it. (Or you can doodle around them!) When you’re done, you can connect similar thoughts by lines, or color them in. This is a more visual, creative way to get those swirling thoughts out of your head and put them where you can see them.
One last (REALLY IMPORTANT!) tip about journaling:
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAVE IT.
Years ago, I gave myself permission to THROW AWAY my journals. It was the best decision I ever made. I was unloading very deep emotions, and I really don’t want my hubby or kids to learn how many times I got mad at them! 😂 So I gave myself permission to throw away my journals!
Friend, give yourself FREEDOM to journal.
If that means typing on your computer and deleting the file, deleting voice notes off your phone, or burning pages in the fireplace… then go for it. Give yourself permission to to be completely free so you don't hold anything back while you’re processing.
So… how many half-filled journals do YOU have laying around?