How to Journal?
Now, if the previous post has convinced you that this is worth it, the question is where to start? How does one develop a journaling habit?
The most freeing thing I have learnt is that there are no rules to this. Journaling is something that is meant to help you relieve stress, not add to it, so the key is to make it work for you. Below I will write about what works for me, and other tips that I have read, but honestly just experiment with it until you have a method that works.
How long for? Now I tend to journal just as I need to, as having a ‘rule’ that I must journal every day, at a specific time, tends to make me panic and not do it. Many ‘journaling for beginners’ articles (such as this one from Mindful Parenting and this one from the Gospel Coalition) suggest starting by setting a rhythm of picking a time each day, for around 10-15 minutes and just writing about anything.
What do I use? I love pretty stationery and I’m rewards-oriented so I buy nice journals a lot and good pens. I also love organisation so I have a prayer journal, a goals journal, a study journal etc. Again though, this needs to be what works for you. A lot of people now use an iPad, computer or their phone to journal – apps like ‘Evernote’ and ‘Microsoft OneNote’ are good. There is definitely no one ‘right way’ here, at the end of the day any form of paper, pen or technological item will work.
What to write? This is generally the hard bit for people, and I can relate to staring at a blank page or screen and wondering where to start. What I would suggest here is to use the prompts in the Boundaries course book each week, or for anyone not studying boundaries – start with writing down your thoughts on Sunday’s sermons, what did you learn? How is it applicable to your life? Then as you go through the week, write about any worries or stressors, write down the good things that happen or things you are thankful for. Once you start, the possibilities are endless!
Hopefully this has provided you with some inspiration and ideas for how to approach journaling. I encourage you to just give it at try, and pray that you’ll be surprised and blessed by the experience.