The following is a guest post by Hannah Braime. Hannah is British so if you see words which appear to be spelled differently than what you would expect from this American website don’t be alarmed. Her spelling skills are fine.
We’ve heard a rumor Hannah may be presenting at the 2014 Journaling Expo and we think she will have a lot to offer. Take a look at this post and I’m sure you’ll agree.
Your turn Hannah.
One of the most exciting aspects of journaling is its versatility. Even within the scope of written journaling, the endless possibilities available to you as a journaler make it impossible to feel bored with your practice.
Because so many options and varieties of journaling are available, it can be difficult to know how to choose what kind of journaling to do next. Although my first response would be to say “Go with whatever your gut tells you”, certain types of journaling are better suited to certain times of day.
To help you choose the variety of journaling that’s right for you, I’ve created a list of round-the-clock journaling tips so that whether you’re picking up pen and paper first thing in the morning or opening your notebook at night, you’ll never be stuck for ideas again.
AM: Morning Pages
As the name suggests, morning pages are ideal for the morning! Taken from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Morning Pages involves writing three pages (about 750 words) of stream-of-consciousness journaling.
The idea behind this journaling exercise is that it enables you to get your thoughts, ideas and feelings out of your head and onto paper so that you can start the day with a refreshed mind. As you’re writing stream-of-consciousness, Morning Pages can also help you process past or ongoing situations. Not sure what to write about? Start with that, and see where your mind takes you…
Lists are the perfect lunch-time journaling tool. Not only can you organize the rest of your day, but you can also take your mind off work and other commitments by making fun lists like “20 countries I want to visit”, “10 things I want to do this weekend”, “100 things I like about myself” or “50 things I want to do by the end of the year”.
We’ve all reached that point in the afternoon when it’s time to do the tasks we’ve been putting off all day, we’re in the middle of a post-lunch slump, and our relaxing evening still feels like far too many hours away. When that happens, it’s time for some cheerleading: a great exercise for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Cheerleading involves taking a negative statement about yourself and flipping it around into a positive statement. For example: “I’m terrible at writing reports, if I don’t improve my boss is going to fire me” becomes “I’m perfectly capable of writing good reports, and I trust my boss to give me helpful feedback.”
Write down any negative statements running through your head and take a few minutes to turn them all around.
The evening is a fantastic time for reflection: most, if not all, of the day’s work is done and you can make some quiet time for contemplation. This makes it the ideal time of day for a trip down memory lane, using photographs as journaling prompts.
Either look through old photos until you find one that sparks your memory, or choose photos from a specific period. Study each photo, then journal about how you feel looking at each photo, your feelings about other people in the photos, and what you would say to your photo self if you could travel back to that time with the knowledge and wisdom you have now.
Before Bed: Gratitude Journal
End the day on a positive note and make a list of everything you’re grateful for before going to sleep. You can set yourself a target, for example “20 things I feel grateful for today” or simply keep journaling until you can’t think of any more ideas.
Gratitude journals are a fantastic source of comfort and positivity, especially when life gets challenging, as they help you remember all the people, experiences and things you enjoy.
Small Hours: Dreams
Here’s a suggestion for the night owls: if you frequently find yourself up in the small hours of the morning, try keeping a dream journal. Dreams are a gateway to our unconscious, and using this time not only to write down recent dreams, but also to have a thought-provoking read back through previous dreams, can lead to some invaluable late-night epiphanies.
Your journal is a constant companion and, whatever form of journaling you choose, it will be there for you 24/7. With many more types of journaling to explore, we’d love to hear what your favourite types of journaling are, and when you enjoy doing them.
Bio: Hannah runs Becoming Who You Are, the guide to authentic living. She is passionate about helping people create the lives they want from the inside out using a rational approach to personal development. The author of two published books, she coaches and offers resources on authentic living through her website. Connect with her via her website, on Facebook and Twitter .