So, you want to start journaling? Good news is: this practice will only cost you the price of a pencil and pad of paper!
Journaling is a creative practice that helps to reverse negative thinking patterns and clear samskaras, which are imprints on the mind that keep you circling through the same life issues. According to Psych Central, keeping a journal allows you to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time, most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. While keeping a digital journal is a great way to start, practicing with the written word is more effective when developing clarity of thought, through the hand, and onto paper.
Keeping a journal has also been proven as a transformative healing tool for working through past traumas and fears. “Since the mid-1980’s an increasing number of studies have focused on the value of expressive writing as a way to bring about healing. The evidence is mounting that the act of writing about traumatic experience for as little as 15 or twenty minutes a day for three or four days can produce measurable changes in physical and mental health.” – ‘Writing to Heal’ – James Pennebaker.
Not sure what a journaling practice consists of? For some people it’s keeping a daily gratitude journal. For others it’s a nightly data dump of mind chatter. For me, it’s not so structured. Some days I write about a situation from the day that I need to talk out, some days it’s a letter to myself full of encouragement and positivity, and other days it’s re-writing a sad story into a fictional tale of happiness to shift my attitude. Whatever thoughts make their way into my journal, the practice always remains ‘showing up’ to the pages with what I feel I need to share at the moment. Similar to showing up on your mat for a daily yoga practice, a daily journaling practice can become both a meditative and transformative mind/body experience.
Here are 4 reasons to get started:
1. Yoga opens your body to more expansiveness and curiosity, while writing provides an outlet for this exploration.
2. Through yoga you find your breath, and through writing, you develop your voice.
3. Yoga supports the effort of expanding your mind through mindful movement, while writing can work in opposition to reflect inwards.
4. Weaving these two practices together can ignite your own wisdom and intuition so that you can begin to see beyond the limitations of anxiety and fear, where lays your deepest creative expression.