I truly believe journaling for self awareness is valuable to everyone.
There’s a whole lot of info out there on journaling in general. So, I wanted to create a guide for anyone who’s new to it or wants to learn more. I’ve found journaling an amazing way to dig a little deeper, try to unpick my thoughts and decide what I truly want. It gives you clarity on your thinking and goals, and it’s a moment to just pause and get everything out. Alongside therapy and a few other lifestyle changes, journaling for self awareness is one of the best things I’ve done for my mental health, and life in general.
You can journal about anything, and I mean anything. Food, exercise, self discovery, mental health, to increase self esteem! You can get really specific and focus on goals you want to achieve or keep it broad. I wanted to focus on journaling for self awareness for this post because it’s a good place to start. With heightened self awareness you can improve all aspects of your life, from relationships, mental health, exercise regime etc. Without self awareness, we’re unable to put actions into place that will truly benefit our wellbeing, because we won’t know what’s making us tick.
The benefits of journaling for self awareness
Journaling gives you clarity.
It helps you identify where you might be going wrong, or what direction you should take. It’s been proven to reduce stress levels and encourage mindfulness. When you journal, you’re carving out time in your day to look after yourself and be curious, it’s an act of self care to improve your life.
More specially when it comes to journaling for self awareness, you’re exploring what truly makes YOU happy. As someone in my mid twenties I feel like I’m navigating a time in my life where there’s outside pressures and expectations. Journaling has allowed me to find the differences between what I think I should be doing, vs what I actually want to do.
How to get started
If you’re reading this blog post, I imagine you are wanting to gain better self awareness through journaling to improve your life.
Start with this, what aspect of your life do you want to change? Is it a particular thought, feeling, habit? Get clear on what you want to unpick. If you’re not sure on how to get to this place, start writing a daily journal using the following questions:
What made me feel good today?
What didn’t work so well?
How can I improve my day tomorrow?
It’s two simple questions, but after a week or so you’ll start to see the same things crop up under the ‘didn’t work so well’ list. From here, that might inspire you to start journaling further to gain further insight into your thoughts and feelings.
Getting the most out of journaling
The main thing with journaling is to be truly honest, don’t hold back.
It can feel strange to bare all on a piece of paper if you haven’t done it before, but stick with it. Write down everything you’re thinking, and feeling. You get a lot out of journaling when you stay true to yourself and let it flow. Basically, don’t over think things.
Do a meditation beforehand
Doing a meditation beforehand is powerful when you’re journaling. It allows you to dig a little deeper and be more in the present moment instead of the past or future like so many of us operate in.
Tailor journal prompts based on the time of day you will be journaling and how you’re feeling
If you want to journal in the evening, I find tailoring questions around my day really useful. When you do this over time and use the same prompts, you’ll start to see the same things crop up which can be food for though, or inspire action. An example of this for me is how important exercise is for my mood. I noticed on the days I’d been to the gym I felt better in myself, so I tried to do it more (pre pandemic, but essentially, exercise makes me feel good!).
End your journaling with something positive
If you’re writing about something that feels difficult, try to end your journaling with the things you’re grateful for. When we’re grateful for what we have, naturally more good things come our way. You can do this by writing a list of 3 things that you feel grateful for that day. Sit with those things and really think, and feel about how grateful you are to have them in your life.
Take away the pressure of writing every single day, or a certain amount
I’ve been journaling for a few years, and although I try and do it every day, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on missed days, just try to pick it up when you can. One thing that helps me is keeping my journal by my bed at all times, that way it’s easier to reach for it and start journaling in the morning or evening.
My favourite journals
I’m a huge fan of having a dedicated journal. One place where I write down my thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to spend a fortune on something fancy if you don’t want to, Wilko have some amazing affordable options, but two of my favourite places for more luxe journals is Papier and Etsy.
A dedicate journal makes it easier to make this a habit. You’ll see the journal and it will be the reminder you need, especially when you’re just getting started.
Journal prompts for self discovery
My favourite way to journal for self discovery is by using prompts. It’s these carefully curated questions that provide so much insight into where I want to improve my life. For me the prompt “if I couldn’t fail, I would…” has taught me a lot about the barriers I put up for myself when it comes to my career and self belief. I realised I hold so much fear around failure and ‘getting it wrong’ which was holding me back.
Get curious and just go with it and you’ll be surprised at just how much you get to know yourself.
That’s everything. I hope you’ve found this post useful if you’re looking to journal for self awareness.
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