By observing our deeper spiritual gifts and understanding the richness of our inner lives through a meditation journal, we can invite the essence of self-reflection and self-expression into our daily existence.
What is a meditation journal? A meditation journal can include details and notes of the type of meditation practiced, the length of practice, and any observations or experiences that occurred during our meditation session. It may also reveal our mental state, happiness, or any other emotional experience for personal growth and self-reflection.
Meditation Journal: Getting Started and What You Can Write About
The beauty of a meditation journal or any other journal for that matter is that there is no specific way or method to write in your journal.
Let’s take a look at three aspects of keeping the meditation thoughts flowing, of course, these are not the only way. This is a creative process and a reflection on our meditation process that deserves our personal touch to keep us motivated to write each day.
I encourage you to try all three, or just pick one for now. You can always add your own questions as you feel needed, you can also research online for meditation journal templates for more ideas.
What does help is to have some ideas about different aspects of our meditative life to get started. We all need a nudge to get the mental juice flowing.
CLICK HERE To Download Your Meditation Journal Pdf File
A journal is a very personal thing and writing in a journal a very personal exercise, so you need to find what works best for you. Here are three methods I’ve used for enhancing my mindfulness practice by keeping a meditation journal.
Your meditation journal is a very personal adventure into what is working in your life as it relates to meditation. It is impossible to meditate on a regular basis and not have it impact and change your life.
As you discover what works for you, you will also discover what works for you in your life. Remember the old saying? “As within, so without”, “As above, so below”‘. This is your truth at it’s finest moment!
8 Surprising Benefits of Journaling You’re Overlooking
People keep journals for different reasons. Some do it to unlock their creativity, others to document their personal growth, understand their dreams or for career purposes. No matter what your goal is, the bottom line is that there are many benefits of journaling and writing your thoughts down. If President Theodore Roosevelt, Anne Frank, and other famous people wrote theirs down, you should consider doing the same.
The basic concept of journaling is unclogging and decluttering. It helps you better organize all areas of your life.
Think of journaling as taking pieces of puzzles in your mind and placing them on paper to formulate a full picture. It, by extension, makes you a better writer and communicator. You can also use it to document your life, things you never want to forget or ideas you might forget but need to remember.
Here are eight surprising mental benefits of journaling, especially if you’re new to it or are considering starting:
1. Reduce stress
By expressing yourself on paper, you transfer most of the burden from within you to an entity outside of you. It has the same therapeutic effect as talking and having a trusted friend or therapist talking to you. Journaling makes it less likely for stresses and anxieties of life to take root inside you and run your life.
Journaling frees you from tension within. Carrying this mentality will motivate you to purge on a piece of paper. It also empowers you; you’re able to see the areas that are within your control. Once you understand that you’re in control of your life, you can start making changes and take the necessary steps toward stress management.
2. Helps with healing both the mind and body
Writing is used as a tool by metal health medical practitioners to help patients track their sessions. Researchers and doctors have found that writing exercises given to participants with physical, emotional and psychological problems can show substantial improvements in their mental and physical wellness. When you are stressed, both your mind and body are affected, and journaling acts to facilitate healing by removing blockages.
There’s no magic to it—stress, emotional pain, and negative thoughts have been proven to affect our health and the choices we make. Journaling facilitates the journey toward a positive outlook on life.
3. Facilitates self-reflection to discover patterns in behavior and thoughts
Often life will move around you quite fast, and you won’t get the time to soak it all in. Journaling helps you stop time, figuratively, to take stock of the things going on within and outside you. Through journaling, you’ll be able to see patterns in behavior and thought, especially over things that stress or cause you anxiety.
When you look back on your pages, you can notice recurring themes, experiences or actions that may need changing. This awareness equips you to make necessary changes. As time goes by, you’ll see a positive change and growth in you that’ll encourage you to keep journaling.
4. Improve your memory and communication skills with your journal
When you journal, you become better at storing information in your mind. Writing down things you’ve learned or experiences in details cements them into your memory. Your brain makes new connections and gets to store this information in the long-term memory “vault” of your mind.
With your thoughts organized and well-articulated on paper, you can communicate ideas and experiences better. Journaling, albeit to yourself, is still a form of communication. With time, all of that internal communication will also improve your verbal communications, by extension.
5. Helps set and achieve goals by 42%
When you write things down, you’re more likely to achieve your goals. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you continuously write them down.
In a journal, you can get into the details of what you want to do, how to get there, and what is potentially hindering you from getting there. You can monitor your progress, and even when you fail, cheerlead yourself back on track. That can be done by taking a look at your previous wins to give you a confidence boost.
The act of daily journaling requires discipline. Once you’re able to follow through, it will spill over into other areas of your life. You’ll have the will to do things that you’ve been putting off for days, months or even years.
Starting with goals and aspirations is a great journaling tip for beginners. So if keeping a journal is new to you, this can be your starting point!
6. Inspires creativity – you can unlock your inner creativity
Like Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way says, everyone is an artist.
Being an artist isn’t restricted to mainstream ideas. Every child is born a creative, and we can see it in their ability to imagine fictional worlds as they play. This same creativity never gets lost, it only lies dormant. By journaling, you can unlock your inner creativity.
Letting your mind wander to the furthest corners will bring about some surprising discoveries. Creativity is not limited to making art; it’s also about how you problem-solve in any given situation.
7. Cultivates mindfulness in a very powerful way
The basic concept of mindfulness is this: people often live in the past and the future. They regret their past and worry about their future. Mindfulness helps you live in the now, only allowing you to delve into the past and future for referencing and planning purposes.
When the mind is in this present state, it is unable to be affected by the stress and anxieties that otherwise plague us. Journaling allows you to lay down your worries; you actively engage in thoughts instead of being a passive participant.
8. Improves emotional intelligence in yourself and others
Also known as EQ, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage emotions, both yours and those of others. Journaling exposes your real feelings and creates a space in which to analyze them. You can note the cause of certain words and actions. This process increases your empathy so that when someone does or says something, you can understand their reasoning behind it.
Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a sign of high emotional intelligence. It makes it easy to build and maintain deeper connections with others.
10 Journaling Tips For Beginners To Get Started and For Those With Writer’s Block!
Writing down your personal thoughts and feelings isn’t something most people do on a regular basis. So sitting and staring down at a blank piece of paper trying to figure out how to start journaling can be somewhat intimidating. After about five minutes of looking at your journal, it’s tempting to just give up altogether and just chalk it up as something that’s not for you.
Getting started with journaling can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what to write. But with so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why so many people want to make it a habit.
However, writer’s block does not have to plague you. With these approaches to journaling, it’ll no longer be overwhelming or laborious.
Here are 10 journaling tips to get you started or unstuck:
1. Use a pen and paper
Though I recommend using a traditional diary or notebook, doing so can sometimes be a challenge. Having an app allows you to write down your thoughts almost anywhere. The downside is that your device can quickly become a distraction when notifications begin to go off.
Writing by hand gives you a break from the screen, allowing your mind to unplug, especially if your work requires you to use a computer or phone all day. Use the process of writing in your journal as a meditative process to unplug from the world, this is your time.
2. Journal first thing in the morning or immediately after meditation
Studies show that it is best to write first thing in the morning. It’s when your mind is most quiet and free from external influences. Do not pick up your phone to check social media. Instead, keep a journaling book and a pen next to your bed. Once you’re awake, reach for it and start writing, or right after you complete your meditation session. It does not matter how groggy you feel, just let the words flow. This is also a great practice for dream journaling as well.
Night owls might not agree with this. If morning is not the time for you, set a time in your day where you’re most productive and least likely to be interrupted. Do this the same time every day to make journaling a lasting habit.
3. Write every day in your journal
Whichever time you pick, morning or evening, make sure you write in your journal daily, even when you don’t feel like it.
If you perceive that you have nothing to write about, write that sentence down. After a few lines of struggling to get your ideas out, the reason why you don’t want to write will soon reveal itself. It’s likely that you’re running away from something you don’t want or aren’t ready to face.
4. Make time for renewal with yourself, you are worth it!
Sometimes days get off to a busy start, and you’re unable to spare time to write. On these days, carry a journal with you so you can write your thoughts down when you have free time.
5-10 minutes of quiet and uninterrupted time is sufficient. You don’t have to write in prose; state main ideas in bullet points. If you need to, you can go and flesh these out later.
5. Try “stream of consciousness” journaling to declutter your mind
Write about everything and nothing. It is a non-judgmental flow of your thoughts; think of it as transcribing what is in your thoughts without any editing to have it make sense.
This session is known as a “stream of consciousness.” Don’t filter or censor your thoughts or feelings. Don’t mind the grammatical errors, just keep writing. After a few minutes, your mind will take on a more defined flow or theme that you can reflect on. This method is the rawest form journaling there is. It declutters your mind and shows you what the source of confusion, stress or pain is.
During this process, be patient. Most of all, don’t force yourself to think and write contrary to the “stream.” Here’s a great video from Lavendaire to show you what the process looks like:
6. Write about the current space you’re in
Journal about what’s happening in your life. In detail, talk about your relationships, work, home, family, health, finances- anything that affects you. Then write down where you want to be and the steps you can take to get there.
This approach to goal setting will push you to do what’s required to transform yourself for the better. It also gives you a realistic picture of where you are. In that way, you’re given the opportunity to course-correct to meet your target.
7. Use journaling prompts
This is easily one of the best journaling tips for beginners.
Can’t get past the blank page? Journaling prompts like these will facilitate the frame of mind required when journaling. A journal prompt is just a question or topic that helps get your mind flowing. Since journaling from scratch is difficult for some people, prompts give you a starting point.
Reflect and answer each question as honestly as possible. This exercise is guaranteed to bring to the forefront of your mind the causes of most of your problems and what to do about them. Most of all, they help you shed off unwanted stress, anxiety and other burdens for a more carefree life.
8. Talk to your inner child, getting to know the real you
Self-help books have popularized the concept of “the inner child.” It’s quite easy to shelf this under pop psychology, but this incorrect assumption may be costing you more than you think. The inner child is not literal, though it does exist. It refers to an unconscious part of your mind. Here is where you find the source of emotional, relational and behavioral difficulties that plague you in your adulthood.
To have a conversation with your inner child, ask your subconscious mind questions in the second person. This concept might seem strange, but remember, our conscious/awake part of the mind is just the tip of the iceberg. You know more than you think you do.
- Look into Your Eyes. Look into the mirror, into your eyes, and talk to yourself.
- Express Yourself Freely.
- Honor Your Inner Child.
If you’re having trouble finding your inner child, try this meditation to help you get there:
GUIDED MEDITATION VIDEO: Heal Your Inner Child – Healing Love
The Honest Guys – Meditations – Relaxation Take this time to embrace and comfort your inner child, banishing the wounds of long ago. Let the beautiful music and gentle voice lead you through this high-quality meditation of healing…
9. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude (This one activity will change your life!)
Every time you journal, list all the things you’re grateful for at that moment. Doing this at the beginning frames the way in which you approach your problems. You’ll note a shift in your outlook on life. Positivity will become the norm, and not the exception.
Finding hard to be thankful every day? This activity highlights the physical, emotional, psychological and behavioral benefits of being grateful. If you have a hard time remembering what to be thankful for, there are plenty of apps with reminders online you can download. Take some time to learn some simple ways to practice gratitude every day of your life.
10. Keep your journal private, it’s personal and sacred part of your life
People new to journaling often wonder if they should keep it private, or share it with others. The short answer is, it’s up to you.
Some people suggest that you could show sections of your journal to trusted people. If you have to, read it out loud or summarize what was written.
Otherwise, don’t show it to anyone. Treat your journal as a sacred object.
Journal Writing for Beginners
When doing anything in life, having a personal and well-defined purpose will encourage you to stick to it. Do you want to journal to relieve stress and anxiety? Do you want to deal with childhood trauma? Whatever your reason, the results will be the same. You’ll be a wiser, enlightened, kinder and all-around better version of yourself. Do not be surprised when others notice the change before you.
Hopefully, these 10 journaling tips for beginners are just the motivation you needed to get started. Don’t procrastinate any longer. Get a journal and start writing!
CLICK HERE To Download Your Meditation Journal Pdf File
Journaling is not a new fad, it’s been around for a very long time
Think of all the documentaries made or books written by famous people and heroes that reference their journal entries to shed light on their thoughts on an issue or event. Journals are not only an excellent way to document your life, but they also bring to the forefront your innermost thoughts and feelings on a given issue.
Some of the most famous visionaries and leaders in history kept journals. From Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo to more modern examples like Oprah Winfrey, Larry David, and George Lucas.
If you’re new to journaling, getting a steady stream of ideas to write about can be difficult.
Prompts are therefore a great way to get your creative juices going. There are many directions prompts could take, but we’ve listed 30 that will increase your self-awareness now and in the future.
30 Journaling Ideas and Prompts
- What are the three things from last year that you don’t want to carry into this New Year?
- If you could talk to your last year’s self, what’s the one advice you’d give yourself?
- What two events will last year you never forget? Pick a good and a bad one. Write them out in great detail.
- What two moments will you never forget in your life? Write one good and one bad. If the theme is similar to the previous question, take a moment to analyze it. You are likely to learn more about what matters to you, or what your weaknesses are.
- List 30 things that take you to your happy place? Don’t just write them down, make an effort to do one every day for a month.
- What are the 12 things you want to do this year? Pick one for every month and check them off. To keep you motivated, set a reward system. It doesn’t have to be grand; whipped cream for dessert is acceptable.
- List the things you can’t live without. For each, write three reasons why. That’ll help you appreciate them more.
- List the people you can’t live without. For each person, write three main reasons why- or more if you wish. Then write what you’d like to do for them. Do you need to call them more? Spent more time with them? Forgive them? Love them better? Now bridge the gap between the current situation and your end goal.
- List how you can be kinder to yourself. Refer to this list when you’re in physical or emotional pain, or when you’ve notably failed at something.
- Write down what your idea of love is. What can you do to love yourself and other people better?
- List the areas of your life that you’re keeping hidden from others. List the payoffs – both good and bad- of keeping these things in the dark. Be bold and dare to be open to someone who cares about you. You’d be surprised to realize just how much weight you’ve been carrying.
- If your body was to write an account of what it means to be it, what would it say? Divide your responses into the body, mind, and soul. Note the areas where you need to better care for yourself.
- What do you like about your job? What don’t you want about it? Consider taking a course or proposing a plan that’ll make you better at your job and improve the lives of others.
- List all the new skills you’d like to learn this year. Outline the approach you’ll use to fulfill them.
- Look at the current affairs of the world. What issues break your heart? In your small way, what contribution can you make in solving the problem? It could be as simple as sensitizing people around you and potentially start a revolution. Go here to get inspired.
- Who are you? Describe yourself in 10 words. It might come up in your next interview.
- List all the questions that have been plaguing your mind. It could be as trivial as why do we have traffic lights. Search for responses. Continually update this list.
- Make a reading list.
- Make a watching list.
- List everything you want to say yes to but haven’t. Begin agreeing more.
- List everything you’d like to say no to but haven’t. Start saying no.
- Do you have a bucket list? If you don’t have one, make one. If you do, amend it. Make an effort to cross out one at least every year.
- Where have you always wanted to travel? Make a list. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. That haunted shack from your childhood counts.
- List all the areas in your life that you’d like to change. Break them down into relationships, self, work, health, and finances. Begin making small changes for those giant leaps you wish to make.
- What are the things in your house or closet that you need to get rid of? Have a yard sale or give them to charity.
- List the habits that negatively affect you and others around you. What’s the payoff-good or bad- for holding on to them?
- Name all the changes you need to make for a healthier financial situation. Now formulate a monthly budget and stick to it.
- What’s your idea of fun? Don’t wait for someone to make it happen for you. Take the initiative
and plan a fun activity. If you were to take a class you’ve always been interested in, what would it be? List what you’re willing to sacrifice for make it happen. Enroll in a course near you.
- If you believe in a Supernatural Being, what steps can you take this year to get closer to them? Studies reveal that spirituality might increase your life expectancy.
Do you find any of these prompts or journaling ideas particularly challenging? Take note and spend more time addressing them. The rule of thumb is that there’s something in your subconscious mind that doesn’t want you exploring that particular area.
Being truly honest with you will be painful at times, but it’s worth it. You’ll become a better and more enlightened version of yourself in the near future.
Here are three methods as well as the process in the Meditation Journal Pdf that you can download HERE that I’ve used to enhance my own personal development journey.
1. Reflection On Your Life
The “Reflection On Your Life” method is simply about writing down the events of the day. You can either do this by writing down 3-5 things that happened that day (a set list of things) or simply writing out a few paragraphs.
The nice thing about writing it down as a list of things is you can choose to fill it in as you go about your day. You may or may not prefer this.
The Reflection method is nice also because it allows you to really let everything out for a few minutes each day. For a few minutes each you, you can do a sort of “brain/heart dump” and just let everything flow out of you unfiltered. This can often lead to some really interesting and helpful insights. Plus, the act of doing so in itself is very refreshing.
2. Changes You’ve Noticed In Your Life Today From Your Meditation Journal
The “Changes You’ve Noticed” method is simply about writing down things you’ve noticed at different times during the day. As your practice expands, feel free to increase your journaling to different areas of your life. However, it’s mostly used at the beginning of your journaling efforts as an aid to bringing mindfulness and awareness to create change into your daily life.
This method is interesting because it can be a nice aid to your mindfulness practice itself, accentuating the moments in which you were mindful. As a result, you’ll think, “Hey, I was a little mindful today!” when you might otherwise have thought you failed, giving you the motivation to keep practicing.
Every little step in awareness, every little bit of progress in your meditation journal, makes a big difference towards developing the practice and that’s the intention of this method.
3. Learning How To Meditate More Effectively Each Day
The “Learning How To Meditate More Effectively” method is all about identifying the inner dialogue that keeps us in a habitual state of mind.
You don’t necessarily write something down the first time you notice it, rather, you write down those thoughts, feelings, and sensations which you notice that continually keep arising.
Try to notice if you are reacting to different life events over and over again in the same way. An example of this would be doubting your ability to complete a project or to do a good enough job on it.
As you go about your day, particularly when you think about the project, approach the time to work on it, are working on it, and afterward, you’re likely to notice certain thoughts and feelings arise. Bringing this level of clarity to some aspect of your negative self-talk and internal dialogue about your life can have a very healing effect.
Start Your Meditation Journal By Being Grateful
Some people report that they just don’t know how to get started writing in their meditation journal. This is understandable if you haven’t written much on an interpersonal level. It’s ok! However, everyone has things, people and events in their lives to be thankful for.
I can’t stress this enough, dig deep and open the well of thankfulness on a regular basis and your life will open up in ways you can’t even imagine. A flow of pure Spiritual joy will emerge and synchronicity will become a normal way of life. You can’t lose on this one!
Journaling As A Mindfulness Meditation Practice
Writing as a meditative practice can be done in addition to, or in place of other forms of meditation. Journaling can be a particularly helpful meditation practice for times when you are struggling to quiet your mind.
Instead of dismissing thoughts that arise in your mind, you write them down. You may find it easier to then let the thoughts go since they will be there waiting for you when you have finished meditating.
Journaling as part of a meditation practice can also help to overcome self-judgment. Many people find when they sit down to write, they are hesitant to commit their thoughts to paper.
Are my thoughts interesting? Is my writing any good? These and other doubts may have kept you from keeping a journal in the past. But when you journal as a meditation practice, mindfulness, and meditation rather than the journal itself becoming the goal.
If you would like to try journaling as a meditation practice, here are a few steps you can follow:
Choose a short phrase or writing prompt. You can use “At this moment,” or “I am feeling.”
Begin with a short period of mindful breathing, just enough to help you settle into the position of your body and your writing utensils.
Write continuously, in a stream of consciousness style, using your chosen prompt for 10-15 minutes. You may want to set a timer to prevent the urge to look at the clock.
If you feel as though you have run out of things to stay, return to the original prompt and begin again.
At the end of the time, close your eyes and take a few mindful breaths.
Read over your journal entry, preferably out loud. Giving voice to your thoughts can help you better understand them.
No matter what type of journal you decide to use and how you decide to write in your journal, keeping a meditation journal can be a very peaceful, revealing, and clarifying practice that goes hand-in-hand with the rest of your meditation practice.
CLICK HERE To Download Your Meditation Journal Pdf File
Other Meditation Journal Resources