As a small child I used to keep a journal, filling it mainly with complaints about the annoying things my siblings did, or what I had eaten for lunch. Hardly riveting reading I'm sure, but these early scribbles paved their way for a love of writing and for capturing my thoughts. It helped me connect to myself in a way that nothing else I did could. It helped me make some sort of sense of the world, albeit in a very simplistic childish way.
I abandoned my journaling habit in my teens when more interesting things came along to fill my hours, like parties, beer and boys. And as I moved away from my writing, I also moved away from myself. It wasn't until my very early 20's that I returned to journaling, after a broken heart led me to pick up a pen and try to make sense of things on the page. And as the words began to flow so too did the connection to myself. I literally felt as if I could breathe again. And it's a habit that I've kept up since then.
Over the years I've gone from free flow, brain dumping onto the page to what I now call ACTIVE Journaling, and it is this kind of journaling that has had the biggest impact on my life. Not only does it help me make sense of things but it also helps me take action. And the results really do feel magical. Everything I've created in the last few years was first created on the pages of my journal, from my dream office to a business I love, to creating beautiful relationships and travel adventures, all of it was assisted by my journaling habit.
Journaling has been shown to help lower stress, to assist people in finding solutions to problems, to boost creativity and to support people as they move through things like grief and heartache. It's also been linked to greater success in life and business, higher emotional intelligence, better self-discipline and motivation, as well as increased concentration and more happiness. It is a pretty powerful process. No wonder so many of the world's most successful people (such as Richard Branson, Robin Sharma and Arianna Huffington) use journaling, and credit it with helping them create amazing lives.
Because it has been (and continues to be) such a hugely powerful part of my life I'm always encouraging other people and 1-1 clients to try it, by giving them guidance and prompts to use to help them get started - and those that give it a go always tell me they have had great results, and received clarity and connection in a way that they never have done before.
Here are some simple ways to get started:
write out a daily gratitude list
set the clock for 10 minutes and just write whatever comes into your head, no judgement just let it flow
Try a writing prompt such as ‘I feel…’ or ‘If I couldn’t fail I would…’ and see where your writing goes
Write about your day, the wins you had, the things that made you happy or mad and what you learnt because of them
Journaling is such a personal practice, do it any way that feels good to you. But, give it a try, who knows what transformations you might experience.