Yesterday was my birthday, and I got to enjoy one of my favorite birthday rituals – starting a new journal!
For the past few years I’ve been keeping a new journal for every year of my life, and I love opening up fresh pages on my birthday and thinking about all the wonderful things I’ll fill them with in the next year.
Journaling has been a transformative practice for me, sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I really think about a situation until I see it work itself out on the page. It’s a way that I can work out my emotions It’s one of the main exercises that I recommend to everyone, no matter where they are in life or what they’re working on.
My Daily Practice
I practice free writing, where I let my thoughts flow without policing topic, structure, spelling, or grammar. I like to journal first thing when I wake up, before I’ve started looking at my phone or thinking about the day. I find it helps me start my day on an even keel, and I write with less attempt to self edit while I’m still a little sleepy. I finish out my morning journalling by listing three things I’m grateful for.
Keep journal and pen where you can reach them from bed
Grab journal first thing when you wake up
Free write 1-2 pages or 10 minutes, whichever works best for you
List 3 things you’re grateful for
I will also often add a page before bed, especially if it’s been a busy day with a lot to process. Putting it all on paper helps me quiet my mind before I go to sleep. Writing in my journal is one of the primary ways I sort out thoughts from the day, review things that bothered me, and take time for introspection to identify places I’m finding blocks and patterns in the things the universe is bringing to me.
I often also pick up my journal throughout the day whenever I feel the need to work something out and trust myself to just let the thoughts flow. It is truly a multipurpose tool for mental health!
I keep a separate notebook that I use to write out my daily exercises, learnings, and ideas in. You can easily keep these all in one journal, but I like to have my tactical items separate from my general thoughts. (This also keeps my journals from filling up to quickly hehe)
A Note on Privacy
You’ll get the most out of your journal if you aren’t worried about someone else reading it. This is truly a tool just for you, so keep it in a place where you feel it will be safe.
Topics to Get You Started
If you’re not sure what to write about, these are good places to start.
Situations you aren’t sure of your feelings on
Anything that’s making you feel troubled or worried
Events in your day that have stuck in your head
Patterns you see repeating in your life
Things that you’re happy and excited about!
I’m a bit of an office supply aficionado, and have strong feels about the journals and pens I use. These are my favorites, but you can use any journal and writing utensil that make you happy!
Leuchtturm1917 Hard Cover Journal (pictured above) – For me these are the perfect size and format. I love the range of color options and like to pick a new color for each year.
Uni-Ball Signo Retractable Gel Pen (pictured above) – I love these pens because they write well, are inexpensive, and easy to find. I’ve tried most every pen out there, and keep coming back to these!
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens – If you like to write in color (or want a really great alternative black pen), these are some of the best pens on the market.