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

Creativity Journals

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 silverthreading@gmail.com 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.

Silver Threading signature

62 comments

  • I write letters to imaginary people, or to myself, and I agree – there are many benefits. Thanks for sharing. Another delightful post on mindfulness. Thanks, Colleen ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read somewhere, Mel, that we creative types need a release from our writing and that by writing letters to ourselves or an imaginary soul releases endorphins that make us feel good. I love that you do this too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes perfect sense 😀 There’s something wonderful about writing letters in general – it does make me happy!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I wish more people did this. Instead of pouring their souls out on Facebook… write a letter! LOL! ❤

          Liked by 2 people

          • Exactly 😉 I actually wrote a post about writing letters and notes as a guest spot for a friend. Hardly anyone I know writes letters anymore.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, Mel… I want to reblog that, or have you do a guest post for me for Mindful Monday about letter writing and communication! Such a lost art. When I was a child, I had to write thank you letters for everything. I hated it as a kid, but love and respect it now. There are many authors that handwrite their books still! Amazing! 😀 ❤

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m one of those authors! I always write the first draft by hand, or the majority of it. I’ll send you a link to the post and you can decide what’s best – reblog or guest post for Mindful Monday 😀

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mel, this is awesome. I saw a video on J.K. Rowling and that is how she did the Harry Potter series. You are simply amazing! I have been setting up my plot and characters by hand. Then, I incorporate this typing/brainstorming by hand into my draft. Yes, please. Do send me your post and I will use it for Mindful Monday! Thank you!! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s my pleasure 🙂 It’s weird because as long as I’ve been using a computer, the words just don’t flow as easily – I need my pen! So I’ve accepted that’s just my process and do what feels right!

            Liked by 2 people

          • In college, I wrote all my papers from my computer and I like that. However when I get stuck, pen and paper is what pulls me out! I say to do what works the best for the person. I know for a fact that you writing your stories by hand make them exceptional! ❤

            Liked by 2 people

          • Aw, thanks, Colleen – must be my magic pen! 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  • Reblogged this on Barrow Blogs: and commented:
    Ways to get rid of all the ‘mind clutter’ . Need this today – head in a whirl already. Thanks Colleen

    Liked by 1 person

  • Lots of great ideas in this. I shall come back to it again, I think.

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  • Dear Colleen,

    I love this post. In our house, we are having our Happy Journal to record every happy moments, moods, achievements, and celebrations.

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  • Colleen, this post is just what I needed this morning.
    I too journal and I find that it really helps me to clear my mind and get some sort of order and semblance in there!
    I love the idea of writing a letter to myself and I’m going to try that today.
    You’ve inspired me Colleen and if I can find the time, I may well link up to this great post on my blog, with my own ideas on this great subject.
    Thanks for the post and the support you’ve given me, as always. x

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    • Dorne, I am so glad you like to journal too! Whenever things get stressful or I feel overwhelmed, I like to sit down and write that letter in my journal. I combine mine with a gratitude journal because I have to remind myself how lucky I am to simply be alive in this wonderful world some days. You have had a great trauma with the passing of your loved, Misty. I hope writing in your journal will help you through this time. If I was there we would cry, hug, and drink wine. Probably we would cry worse the next day. 😀 I am here for you, Dorne. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  • I like the idea of letter journaling and am pretty sure I already brainstorm journal but maybe not quite as structured as a sit down (must try), although my jotting down on the fly has also worked for me. I also have scraps of paper here and there with this and that thoughts scribbled on them.

    In school my children write out their stories before typing them into computer…interesting point about right brain/left brain engagement that the teachers must be aware of.

    Peace, love, and joy to you also Colleen.

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  • The Anne Frank link, very enjoyable and inspiring. Xx

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  • I used to write a journal when I was younger and then I’ve kept journals at certain periods of my life (or during certain experiences, like trips, etc) but not recently. Inspiring post, Colleen!

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    • I really like the creativity of writing my ideas by hand and then reexamining them later. It is something that I just started to do this year. It really seems to help me concentrate. Thanks, Olga. ❤

      Like

  • Oh Silver, I love this post! Thanks for bringing in the brain science of it all. Writing to your swamp fairies- I live it!
    A garden journal with your grands will become more precious as the years go by. I live in Central Fl! Whereabouts are you?
    Melinda

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  • That is why writing with hand is better than typing when you review the book. Writing is slower, so it helps you be conscious on what passes our eyes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • I do find the idea of writing letters to myself very intriguing. It would be wonderful to revisit these letters and find out what my frame of mind was in at a certain point in my life. Imagine if I were to go through a creativity spurt and wrote letters while that was happening? During times of writers block, I could go back and read the letters to myself and see where I was emotionally. Thanks for the great tip!

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    • Rob, I would think this would be an amazing way for you to write some of your song lyrics, too. There is something so comforting about this letter writing exercise. It really helps me see things clearly. I think your idea of using it when you have writer’s block is spot on! Everytime I have done this when I am blocked I seemed to find something that inspires me. It is that right brain/left brain connection. I wonder if guitar player’s minds work the same way when they are composing and writing words? Good luck. Let me know how it does for you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  • Colleen, every year I resolve to journal daily, and every year I journal haphazardly. I need to work on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh what an interesting post coming at a perfect time for me! I was recently recalling that I used to journal but I haven’t done so in about four years. The idea of putting pen to paper and writing down my thoughts and feelings was very cathartic. No keyboard on my computer had the same effect. I unfortunately stop journaling because life got busy but I enjoy reading my previous journals and remembering all those things I wrote about !

    Liked by 1 person

  • So often, you write what I’m living. I just bought a new journal for my #onegoodcup project – I write during my first cup of coffee each morning, thanks to Amy Kennedy’s brilliant post. I have an intentions journal with prompts, the #onegoodcup, which is for anything and everything, and I will be beginning a gratitude journal in October.

    Years ago, before I was a mother, I read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and started doing writing practice. My oldest child is 14 now – it’s enlightening to look back at who I was before him, and how I’ve changed and grown in the years since.

    My family of origin has a volatile, abusive dynamic. It’s not possible to have difficult conversations with many family members on a rational level; things devolve into ugly confrontations. I have pages upon pages of letters written but unsent. In writing them, I learned how to accept the reality of those relationships, and a great deal about myself. It was liberating and clarifying, and eventually led to my voluntarily estrangement from these connections.

    Wonderful post; I’m sharing it this weekend in my Second Serving Sunday post! =D

    Like

    • I always love how you meet people and realize that their journey is so similar to your own. I too have an interesting past. I write to my children who choose to not be part of my life. I have purged myself of so much guilt that really wasn’t my mine to bear anyway. I think the act of writing causes us to look at it more objectively. At least it does for me. I am learning so much about myself. This whole year of mindfulness has really been enlightening. I can’t wait to see where it leads me. Thanks for taking this journey with me. It is refreshing to see other women examine themselves and improve with introspection. We are a select few. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  • A great list of journaling ideas here. My journals through the decades, inspired my first book. I also wrote letters when I felt injustice. They allowed me to get out my angst, even though never sent. No doubt, writing is therapy. 🙂

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    • How fascinating that your first book was inspired by your journals, Debby. I love the style of writing called epistolary. There just seems to be so much soul and character in the writing of letters. I agree, writing is therapy… free therapy! LOL! ❤

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  • Colleen, lovely ideas! Each offers so much! I haven’t had much time in the past two years, but now I have made a more faithful return to WordPress. I see how FAR you have taken your writing and blog! WOW! Beautiful blog and so encouraging to other writers! Congratulations! Blessings for your weekend!

    Like

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