Mindfulness is a wonderful practice that allows you to stay present, no matter what you are doing or thinking about in that moment. It brings your thoughts to the present, where you intentionally shift your focus from your other worries to what you are experiencing at that time. I have kept a journal since grade school days, although now it is filled with my thoughts, gratitude and goals. While you can practice mindfulness (gratitude) during any activity throughout the day, it is especially useful to us a journal when you are being mindful. Here are some benefits of using a journal for your mindfulness routine.
Your Journal Keeps You in a Mindful State
By using a journal to write down your thoughts during a mindful practice, it can actually keep you in that mindful state. It is really easy for your thoughts to shift and focus on a million different things when you’re trying to be mindful. You are trying to stay present and just appreciate the current moment, but you keep thinking about what to make for dinner, errands you need to run, trying to remember if you paid that bill.While this is completely natural and normal to happen during a mindfulness practice, it can sometimes be frustrating and make you quit mindfulness altogether. With a journal, you are writing down how you are currently feeling, so you keep pulling your attention back to the present.
It Can Help You Work Through Your Emotions
This is probably one of the best benefits of journaling in general, especially if you use it while you are in a mindful state. By journaling while practicing mindfulness, you allow all your thoughts and emotions right in that moment to come to the surface. Write down anything you are currently thinking or feeling, including good emotions and bad ones. They are all valid. What you might notice is that is gives you the opportunity to work through your emotions. Most of the time, you have to hide how you are feeling because you don’t have time to deal with it or you don’t want to upset other people around you. But mindfulness is all about you and how you feel. You are giving yourself the time and space to work through it.
You Have a Place to Unleash Anxious Thoughts
If you suffer from anxiety, you will benefit a lot by using a journal when practicing mindfulness. In addition to processing your emotions, you also become more aware of your anxious thoughts. Anxiety can cause a lot of irrational worries and fears, from making assumptions about how other people think about you, to fearing the worst case scenario in just about everything you do. While anxiety disorders can’t be cured with just journaling and mindfulness, it does make a large impact on how you deal with it. Suddenly, you will notice that you have learned how to let the anxious thoughts appear, but not overwhelm you or completely derail whatever you’re trying to accomplish. It is much like learning how to cope with anything difficult in your life, like stress or various obstacles.
The Journal Places Judgment on Paper, Instead of in Your Head
A big part of mindfulness is allowing your current thoughts or feelings to come to the surface, without judging them. This is effective because you learn to embrace your experiences without trying to hide from them or push them aside. There is a level of acceptance with mindfulness that is so healing, and offers you this pace to work through anything difficult.By writing down your judgments on paper about your thoughts and feeling during the mindfulness session, you are letting it escape your mind and your worries. You are processing everything and acknowledging it, without judging yourself for feeling a certain way.
Tips for Choosing the Right Mindfulness Journal
When it comes to your mindfulness journal, you can use anything that is convenient for you, though there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Does the journal lay flat when you open it? This is a small annoyance in the grand scheme of things, but having a journal that lays flat when you open it to write in it can actually encourage you to write more. If you are constantly trying to keep it open with one hand and writing with the other, it becomes distracting and even harder to stay present. I love this blank moleskin journal:
- Is it a good size for what you need it for? If you are always going to practice mindfulness at home, this might not be a concern for you. But if you want to bring it with you, consider what size you get. It should be big enough to write in it comfortably, but small enough to fit in your purse, laptop bag, or anything else you bring with you.
- Do you need journal prompts? There are also mindfulness journals that include journal prompts meant to ask you about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences. They help keep you present without trying to think about what to write. This one has great prompts, especially if you are new to journaling.
My favorite thing about journaling is when you can look back and see how far you’ve moved forward with your thoughts, gratitude and goals. It’s an emotional personal history, a validation of who we are. I encourage you to start journaling today.
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