A personal note on journaling

I have been journaling since I was six years old.

The journal has always been a best friend and companion for me, and the journaling practice has led me to all sorts of insights that I didn’t know I had in me. Being an introverted and highly sensitive child I didn’t have many friends. But I knew i could always count on my journal.

The daily journal

This is probably the most common ways of journaling. To capture what has happened through the day and what the overall thoughts and feelings were. I journal mostly like this, with a stream of consciousness: I write whatever comes to mind. This is such a relaxing practice, and I highly recommend starting this practice to get a daily habit.

I’ve talked about Julia Cameron’s method The Morning Pages before. According to this method you write 3 pages every morning in a stream of consciousness kind of way. But three pages can be quite challenging at first and chances are you will quit if you don’t have a solid habit going. So I recommend that you go easy on yourself and start with a few sentences per day.

The Bullet journal

Well, I have to include the bullet journal in a blog post about journaling, right? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m a keen “bullet journal addict” and always try to improve my bullet journal. Even though it is a planner at core, there are many elements of the bullet journal method you can use for your journal as well. One of them is the index. If you’re journaling as a daily habit, you will find that certain themes come up again and again. Sometimes you might want to write a poem. Another time you write a beautiful aphorism that you want to get easy access to. You can categorize your notes and journal entries as you go with an index page. And you can also journal in different “collections” bujo style and jot down the collection in the index for easy navigation in your journal.

The journal as a life coach

Nowadays my journal functions as a therapist, life coach and close friend. I write whatever is on my mind, and the habit of journaling is the most important habit in my life. The journal is the first thing I’m packing if I’m going on a trip, and it’s the first thing I open in the morning. (Well, technically I open my eyes first, but you get the idea!😄)

Therapy journaling

As many others, I have always struggled with self worth. Having deep childhood wounds, it’s not easy to just say “ok, I’m going to let that go” and get on with your life. It can take years or decades before you can unravel all the aspects of a childhood trauma. Here’s where the journal comes in as a rescuing hand. You can always calm your nervous system by writing your feelings, worries and anxieties in a journal. If you’re an introvert, INFJ or a highly sensitive person I would highly encourage you to journal regularly. Every day and preferably the first thing you do in the morning.

I have written about Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way and the benefits of morning pages here.

When you write out exactly what you feel you catch yourself in the thought process, and the pages become evidence of that thought process. Joakim Pirinen, a famous Swedish comics artist and writer, has said that “poetry coagulates on the page”. And the same goes with the thoughts that are written in a journal.

This might seem depressing at first, but it’s not. The pages are just dead matter when you’ve done the work of writing on them. It’s like archeological finds. Interesting to look at afterwards but you had to be there to really get the juice out of the experience. Every feeling that runs through your body while you write stays on the page in a coagulated form.

Art journaling

As an artist I’ve always been eager to draw and express myself creatively in my journal. Since the journal oftentimes is a stream of consciousness technique, the art within my art journal follows the same pattern. Intuitive drawing has always been a fascinating way to explore the inner landscape. This is a great way to explore the messages that your higher self wants to communicate to you. If you want, you can incorporate this practice into your bullet journal as well.

Journaling for self discovery

When I come to think of it, journaling can be expressed in so many different ways. But the purpose often comes down to one thing: self discovery and self inquiry. The way a simple notebook can be transformed into your best and most reliable friend is an amazing discovery.

Throughout the years I’ve picked up a thing or two about the journaling practice. And I want to share this with you. With the experience I’ve gained through my own journaling journey and my interest for self discovery through art journaling, I’ve decided to put together an online course in journaling for self discovery. I will release a course in journaling for self discovery in the near future, and if you want to stay tuned I highly recommend that you subscribe to my newsletter for future updates. If you want to check some of my other courses out in the mean time you can do it here.