'The unexamined life is not worth living' ~ Socrates
In today's world we are so connected digitally that it can lead to a disconnect in our everyday lives. We can restore this connection by journal writing.
Journal writing is the beginning of an inward journey towards getting to knowing ourselves better.
It's a practice that we can build in to our everyday routine. Ideal time is any time that is quiet time. Given the COVID situation, we all have plenty of spare time and hence I suggest its the best time to pick up this habit.
There are no rules to writing a journal, we write anything we feel like . I compare it to a best friend, there need not be any agenda and conversation just flows. In Journal, its our thoughts that take shape of words. It is a great therapy tool, wherein one can offload hard feelings and feel lighter instantly. One can write verse, poem or even draw along side.
Journal can be fluid or can have structure. We can make everyday lists- Gratitude list is something that I write most days and encourage my kids to write too before they sleep. When we acknowledge the goodness in our lives, by writing them down we feel more positive emotions, we relive good experiences and we stop taking blessings for granted.
We can write a joy list- we can use our five senses, touch ,sight, hearing, smell and taste to identify things, people, scenes, experiences, fragrances, food etc that bring us joy. I practiced writing this list for every day for a year and realised that every day similar stuff made it to my list . Doing those everyday brought me joy. Anytime I am feeling low, I am aware of what will bring me joy and doing that helps me get back to my joyful self again.
There are many journals available which come with writing prompts, I like Kikki and Typo, shops that stock them in Singapore.
The school of life has this Journal, “Who am I” with psychological exercises to develop self understanding, its available in most book shops around the world.
I like to follow Elizabeth Gilbert ,celebrated writer of "Eat Pray Love" & "Big Magic", she gives amazing tips on writing journal. She frequently puts out pages from her personal journal on her social media page which are nothing close to what we can imagine should go into a journal. Basically there is nothing that is off limits, your imagination is the only limit.
Few years ago I had picked up The Five Minute Journal (5MJ) from Nithya Shanti, a spiritual teacher.I had attended his lecture series called Joyshop on a friends recommendation.
5MJ was one of my key take away from those talks
5MJ is powerful way to bring the power of writing into your life in just a few minutes. It involves writing the answers to the following questions for five minutes in the morning and then five minute in the evening.
In the morning:
I am grateful for… 1.__________ 2._________ 3._________
What would make today great… 1.__________ 2._________ 3._________
Daily Affirmations. I am…
In the evening:
Wonderful things that happened today… 1.__________ 2._________ 3._________
What can be joyfully improved…
I also recall being gifted, Journal by Shiv Khera the author of bestselling book "You can Win"
I would religiously fill the following 4 rows:
1.Today I have learnt
2.Today I feel
3.Today I commit to improve
4.Today I am proud of
I continue to look for inspiration , I have ordered Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama, it includes thought-provoking prompts designed to help reflect on personal and family history; goals, challenges, and dreams; what moves and brings you hope; and what future you imagine for yourself and your community.
My current journaling style is a mix of all of the above and more.
I have spilled the tea (as millennials say) on my journal writing in the hope that you will find something that works for you, and in this process you get to meet yourself like you have never before, Happy Journaling!