Mindful Monday – Journaling your Way into Mindfulness
Welcome to Mindful Monday! Each week I try to examine new or sometimes old things about myself. I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to, as I attempt to live in the present. Come and join me on my journey. You never know what you will learn about yourself.
This week I wanted to share how journaling has really been helping me to get into the moment and clear my mind of all the crazy clutter I get rattling around inside there. I know we have talked about journaling before by using a gratitude journal with my friend Marianne Coyne, from her blog called, Leisure Lane; but I wanted to investigate some other types of journals that help to get us in a mindful frame of mind.
Write a Letter Journal
One of my favorite ways to journal is to write letters to my swamp fairies. No, I am NOT totally bonkers yet, but hear me out. Anne Frank wrote letters to her imaginary friend. Biography.com has an excellent video that explains how Anne Frank started journaling. It is an amazing video and I hope you will watch it!
The best part of a letter journal is that these letters never get sent. I love these types of journals because they are great stress relievers. You can pour out your soul and say what you think and no one knows any better. Sometimes after I have it all written down I then reflect on the whole situation again. There have been times when I was able to change my perspective of a particular situation because I took the time to reexamine the facts. That is powerful!
When you write a letter (to yourself or whoever you want to write to) it becomes a useful tool in clearing your mind of your hopes, fears, dreams, and worries. I always feel better when I write something down. It is an act that frees up additional space in my brain so that I can put other things there, like memories that bring me joy.
Memory Journals to Remember the Good Things in Life
Another fun way to journal is to keep a journal of your most cherished memories. It could be the kind of memoir where you chronicle your child’s or grand child’s first years. This kind of journal could even be more specific. I did a gardening journal with my grandchildren last year. We wrote down all of the seeds we planted and how well they performed. We kept track of all the perennial plants we bought and where we planted them around our house. I let the kids write things down so that I had their handwriting to look back on. We kept the plant tags from each new plant and taped them in our garden journal. That was one of the most cherished memories I have with my grandchildren. It was a really fun thing to do together.
Growing winter cabbages in Florida
Maybe you are more the artist type and prefer doodling or drawing as compared to writing in a journal. There is nothing wrong with that! The idea is to channel the thoughts and images out of your head to allow time for you to live within that one special moment. There are no wrong ways or right ways when it comes to journaling.
Image Credit: Pixabay Free images
A Brainstorming or Stream of Consciousness Journal
This is another of my favorite kinds of journals. As I have been writing my novel, The Swamp Fairy, I write down ideas in my brainstorming notebook. Sometimes I hear a phrase or idea from a television show and I add that to my notebook.
Sometimes it is how a particular phrase sounds, or how some song lyrics really touched a chord in my heart. It is the impromptu writing that spurs me on some days. This stream of consciousness writing helps me define my ideas. I always write down my plot ideas, no matter how silly or crazy they sound. I just let the words flow and if they turn out to work for me I use them.
At least once a week, I come in my creative room (where I do all my writing) and let my word-freak fly. I write for five minutes. Anything that comes to mind works for me. It is not always about my book. Some days my writing is about my feelings, or whatever it is at that time I feel compelled to write about. I came up with this journaling idea for Mindful Monday in one of my brainstorming sessions.
Journaling is GOOD for YOUR Health
I know that journaling is good for me. It certainly improves my mood and makes me feel less anxiety. Fast Company.com
in their post entitled, “Why Journaling is Good for Your Health, and 8 Tips to Get Better,” quotes:
“Dr. James Pennebaker, a psychologist and leading expert in the field of Expressive Writing—a type of journaling that usually involves exploring issues that can literally correct the course of your life—journaling strengthens immune cells called T-lymphocytes and has been shown to be associated with drops in depression, anxiety, and increases in positive mood, social engagement, and quality of close relationships.”
There is definite evidence that shows when you journal you are using the left side of your brain with the act of writing. It appears that it is not so much about processing your thoughts as it is in actually writing them down that brings about the desired results.
Writing engages the left side of our brain allowing the right side that governs creativity to light up with all kinds of creative ideas. This is why in creative writing classes your professors encouraged you to write the good old-fashioned way with a pen and paper.
Image credit: Pixabay free images
All of this writing in journals brings us right back to living in the moment. The act of concentration and channeling your thoughts from your brain onto paper allows you to see the beauty in that exact moment.
Please let me know how journaling works for you. Remember there is no right or wrong way to journal. It is all about what helps you to become more mindful of your own journey. I have to go now and write in my journal! J
Remember, this is not a challenge. This is an offering of support. If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making. If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so, however, it is not necessary. My main aim here is to give and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life.
Would you like to share your mindfulness journey with others? If you are interested in sharing your goals or aspirations, I want to highlight your journey here on Silver Threading. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to feature you on a guest post.
Thanks for visiting me today. I wish you all peace and joy in the week ahead.