Journaling to Ease Anxiety, Boost Productivity, and Create A Clearer Mind
When I was younger, I received a Lisa Frank journal. Bright colors of blues and pinks and greens and yellows splashed over three ballerina bunnies. It came complete with my own lock and key so I could keep my 7-year-old thoughts a secret. The first page of it asked things like my favorite color, movie, sports, cartoon, etc. and the rest of it were lined, allowing me to confess how much I loved spaghetti and hated lobster.
Since then, I've owned countless amounts of journals. Composition notebooks, moleskines, locked diaries, lined, plain, etc. I've saved so many of them and even have my old Harry Potter journal. Journaling is a calming, self-care ritual. It's a place I can make my thoughts more tangible, more fluid. I write poems, I doodle, I do stream-of-consciousness writing, I write down my dreams, my tarot readings, my hopes, my goals, I write letters to my son, I write weekly activities and things that need to get done. It's my way of organizing my thoughts and my way of creating.
What It Helps
Starting mornings by writing in a journal can boost your productivity. Instead of waking up and opening your phone, you start the day by refreshing and clearing your mind and it will increase your focus for the rest of the day.
If you feel you don't have creativity, you do. You just have to find it. One way to do that is by writing out your thoughts, reaching into your subconscious, and pulling out who you are. It helps you put ideas onto paper without worry of repercussions and it helps you become more in tune with yourself.
Keeping track of to-do lists, goal-setting, and forming good habits can all be achieved with a bullet journal. A cluttered, disorganized life puts more stress on us. Reduce it by organizing your life and your mind with a journal.
Most of the time I write and never return to reread it. However, there are times when I'm in a rush and I write down my tarot spread or my dreams or an emotional issue I'm dealing with. I can return to it at a later date and analyze what's going on in my subconscious mind and look at it with new eyes. It gives you the opportunity to examine yourself, your mind, your emotions, and your current or previous experiences.
Pulling your thoughts from your mind and placing them onto paper helps you sort out and understand them.
The stroke of pen on paper is soothing and the idea of writing is similar to meditation. Expressive journaling allows you to explore your feelings and gives you the tools to help you process them.
Dreams tell us more than we give them credit for. By writing down our dreams, we allow ourselves to become more aware of our subconscious minds. They are often representative of how a person is feeling in that particular time frame. It's also interesting to see, on paper, the stories and visuals our minds create. And writing them down daily can help exercise your brain in remembering them with more vivid detail. You can also go back later on in that day or week and analyze what it's trying to tell you.
Mix up a diary, a planner, and a to-do list all in one with this trend. Here are some hacks to help you dive into the world of bullet journaling.
Author Julia Cameron suggests everyone start their day with stream-of-consciousness writing that fills three pages. I don't disagree. It's an amazing ritual. Whatever crosses your mind, jot it down. Don't judge yourself, don't shame yourself, don't question yourself - just have at it. Starting your morning with a release will help you feel lighter for the rest of the day.
Similar to morning pages except stream-of-consciousness writing does not have to be dedicated to only mornings. It's therapeutic at any time of the day: in the morning, before bed, when you're anxious, when you're happy. The purpose of this is to have no guidelines, you simply write whatever comes to mind. No matter how silly it may seem or disorganized. Just write and let go of your thoughts.
How Long Should I Write For?
Honestly, that's up to what you're comfortable with. I write for as long as I feel like it which lasts anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour. Anywhere from 3 pages to 6 pages. If you feel like you need a push, start with 15 minutes or set a goal of 3 pages. Once you get started, you'll find you can't help but keep going. Don't feel like you have to rush -- it's all up to you and meant to relax you.
Journaling is truly a transformative journey. Pick one up along with some pens and start diving into your subconscious mind. You'll be surprised at what you find.