Keeping a journal can be one of the most powerful tools for working through issues, unburdening your problems and connecting with your inner self. It can give you a quiet space to find your voice in a noisy world. It’s easy to feel undermined by social media or your Inner Critic telling you what you ‘should’ be doing, how you’ll never get there and generally that you’re not good enough. Journaling can help quell those loud outsiders and focus on what’s important.
Here are some prompts to help you get started.
1. What do I write about?
The famous ‘tyranny of the blank page’ can be off-putting. But accept that feeling and commit to writing whatever comes into your head for ten or fifteen minutes. Set a time and write whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t matter if it’s not Pulitzer Prize-winning prose, it’s about getting into the writing flow. It’s okay to start by writing “I don’t know what to write about,” or even “I don’t want to write about my job.” By getting that reluctance out of your head and on the page, you’ve already cleared the way to start to resolve the issue.
2. What feels good right now?
Journaling about the good things in your life can help reset your focus on the positives around you. It’s easy to get stuck on the things you don’t like, but how often do you take time to write down what is good? Think of the last thing that made you smile, or the highlight of your last vacation, write down the big stuff and the small. Start a list you can come back to when you’re not feeling so good.
3. List your good qualities
Most people tend to focus on the things they don’t like about themselves. Forgetting that everyone is a mix of talents and flaws. Write down ten things that are great about you. What makes you special? Do you have you a green thumb? Do you make great slide presentations? Do dogs and little kids gravitate towards you? Are you funny, helpful, insightful, compassionate? Make a list that will make you smile when you go back to it.
4. Talk with your older self
Imagine yourself as a wise, experienced older person. Someone who has seen good times and bad, who has weathered the ebbs and flows of life. Project into the future and ask future-you for advice on how to live your best life. What should you concentrate on? What should you avoid?