Keeping a diary or journal is a great mindful practice. While lots of children, from an early age, write in diaries or journals, most adults don’t have the time and in fact they seem to lose connection to the creative written word as soon as they leave school.    

Mindful journaling is slightly different from your typical journal writing. When writing in a diary people typically record and reflect on the events they experienced that day. E.g. Went to work today and it was ok.  Stopped off for a quick drink with friends and then went to the gym for a quick work out.  Bed by 10am.  

Mindful journaling however, is specifically used as a tool for reflection and growth.  Many people write with a goal in mind such as reducing stress, increasing motivation, or gaining greater self-awareness.  The key therefore is to have a goal to the writing process so that you are ‘pin sharp’ on the subject of your investigation.  

Want to learn more about mindful journaling in order to improve your life? Below are four tips to make mindful journaling easier and for you to want to pick up the pen again:

  1. Consider different writing methods: Writing in journals and diaries is the traditional way of mindful journaling and it also has health benefits in tat writing with pen and paper keeps you from becoming distracted by the Internet.  It also helps keep your mind sharp by improving motor-skills and memory.  Writing is a form that we often loose and it is something that we get out of the habit of.  It can also help you further connect with your words and feelings as word choice is something that is more difficult when you are considering your next stroke of the pen.  Typing and event narrating, can be freer flowing but also subject to rambling.  Still, if you prefer electronic means of journaling consider keeping a journal through a format where you can date things.  It is important to track things by time.  If you prefer sharing your writings with others consider online platforms like Blogger or WordPress. You’ll be joining a community of writers and bloggers who may help inspire and encourage your mindful journaling.
  2. Make it a routine: Writing doesn’t always come easy, especially in this fast-paced world. That’s why it’s important to stick with it no matter how busy you are. Studies show that it takes between 21 to 66 days to form a habit, so it can take a while for writing in your journal to feel like a natural part of your day. That’s why it’s important write consistently. Consider scheduling a daily time for which you will write. Consider setting a time limit as well. And don’t worry about your grammar or punctuation, instead focus on the emotions you are trying to describe.  This is particularly important because you are then simply not describing cold, calculated ‘facts’ you are describing what it feels like to live your day and what emotions come up.  
  3. Set a goal: What are you hoping to gain through your mindful journaling? Are you hoping to reflect on past experiences and grow?  Are you looking for a way to reduce stress? Are you looking for emotional or spiritual clarity?  Or do you want to motivate and encourage yourself?  Once you’ve set a goal for your journal make sure to write it prominently in your journal, in a place that you will see every time you write. It could be the front cover, the front page, or the homepage.  This will serve as a daily reminder of your goals.  Make sure you use this as your corner stone and come back to it time and time again.  Try to address, each time your write, how far away from your main reason to write you are.  Not how far you have to go, but how far you are from the describing clearly your path on the ‘theme’ you have set.  Be in THIS moment as you write.  
  4. Try mindful writing prompts: Not sure what to write about? Consider mindful writing prompts like:
  • The happiest (or saddest) moment today was…
  • My life is blessed because…
  • I aspire to…

Or consider:

  • Writing an encouraging letter to yourself
  • Or describing your latest dream

Whichever approach you take make sure you are being as clear and descriptive as you can be.  Don’t be ashamed to spell words wrong, use slang, swear words etc.  Be YOU and make sure that when you journal you are as honest as possible.  

Happy writing.