Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until January to Journal

November is here. I always have felt that is an in-between month that you have just finished autumn, and it is too early to decorate for Christmas (unless you live in Blackpool… I have on good authority that people decorated the day after Halloween!). You have perhaps started to review your list (mental or physical) that you made 11 months ago: The New Years Resolutions. 

Now, both Emma and I are list makers. It is beyond satisfying for me to make my list, tick it off, and inevitably add something to the bottom of it. Therefore my lists are rarely ever finished. But, I am ok with that. The new trends of journaling have come about in the last few years, and many people have found that they love bullet journaling. However, it is not for everyone. There are studies that say that making lists, for some individuals, is more stressful than not making a list.

But, I am here to talk about not just lists, bullet journals, or one with a lock and key. No, what I want is for you to understand what journaling is personal, and should be seen as such. That it is not a cookie-cutter activity that is one-size-fits-all. Instead, here are some different style of journaling that you may not have considered, and that I believe are well worth opening a new page and getting out your pen to start before the 2020 Resolution list arrives in January!

Free-Writing

So, you have a million things buzzing around in your head in the morning, or right before you want to drop off to sleep.

Free-writing has traditionally been seen as a prewriting technique in academic environments, in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without worrying about rhetorical concerns or conventions and mechanics, sometimes working from a specific prompt provided by a teacher


What you want to do is set a timer for three or five minutes and just write anything. Gobbledegook, a stream of consciousness, a nonsensical poem… whatever’s in your head. You can repeat the same word over and over if you want. The idea is to get it all out. It helps clear out all the ‘junk’, sweeping your mind clean to allow for breathing space.

One Line A Day Journaling

If you are new to the idea of journalling, or you just don’t know if you want to commit, try one-line journalling. They only thing you need to do: write one line a day. 

From three words to three sentences, the line length is up to you. One Line a Day journals effortlessly serve as a basic recorder of daily life, and as time passes you can easily look up past entries to see how things have changed year to year, or what you were thinking about on a specific day.

This type of journalling is great if you already have a structured journal like (Q&A a Day), but there is no reason why you cannot just have your journal and your date and write your line!

Gratitude Journaling

Research has found that keeping a gratitude journal— a place to write down what you’re thankful for—can help you feel better about your life and more charitable toward other people.

According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the feeling of gratitude involves two stages (2003):

  1. First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all in all, life is good, and has elements that make worth living, and rich in texture. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.
  2. Second, gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to other people, to animals, and to the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it, ie., who made sacrifices so that we could be happy?

 

To practice gratitude journaling, jot down three to five things you’re thankful for in a notebook; do this every day or every week. The entries are supposed to be brief—just a single sentence—and they range from the mundane (“waking up this morning”) to the sublime (“the generosity of friends”) to the timeless (“the Rolling Stones”).

I hope that one of these 3, slightly different journaling techniques sparks your curiosity and that you have a go! Please let me know what type of journalling you like to do, or if you have never journaled before!

 

Written by Lucy Sara Bidgood-Lund

 

 

 

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