We live in a fast-paced world. We all deal with many things in life that cause us stress. Oftentimes, we have so much going on in our minds we forget what it feels like to have peace of mind. If you have ever felt that you have too many thoughts running through your head, I have a simple practice that might help give you peace of mind.
An article titled The Health Benefits of Journaling claims, ” A pen coupled with paper can serve as a powerful life tool.” I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I have been writing in journals and notebooks for as long as I can remember. Writing in them is more than just keeping a diary. I write down dreams, goals and aspirations. I write down what I am thinking, feeling, and going through at the time. It’s one of the safest, practical, and most helpful ways I have to work through whatever is going on in my life.
I write every day, but it’s not imperative that you do. What is important is that you have a place to turn to help organize and understand what is going on in your mind. In the article Mindful Journaling, the author states, “Practicing regularly can increase mindfulness, self-awareness, deepen one’s sense of mental and emotional clarity, and generally improve one’s sense of self, and self-efficacy.”
If there are times in your life that you crave more peace, try these five simple steps to start practicing the art of journaling.
1. Buy a notebook or journal and grab a pen or pencil. I have used both journals and composition notebooks. (Amazon sells composition books for around $2 a piece and journals ranging from $10-20.) It depends on how much money I want to spend at the time. I also like a good writing pen. I always thought fine point was best, but I have become fond of gel pens with a medium point (I have used these paper mate pens and have enjoyed them. They are less than $1 a pen).
2. Throw out all rules. This writing is for your eyes only. You don’t have to have nice handwriting (you just need to be sure you can read it). You don’t have to use proper grammar or punctuation. You don’t have to organize your thoughts first. You just need to write without thinking too much.
3. Ask yourself the question that needs to be asked. If you are trying to decide something, you might do the old pro/con exercise. Make a line down the middle of the page. Write pro on one side and con on the other. Proceed to make a list for both and see which one wins. If you are feeling stressed, maybe just ask a question: Why do I feel so stressed? or What is bothering me? You might ask the question, What do I need to do to bring more peace in my life?
4. Start writing. Answer the question or questions as honestly as you can without censoring. If you have several things bothering you, write out each point and see how you respond. Keep writing until you have written all you can think about that particular point.
5. Take a short break and then go back and read what you wrote. Chances are you will see things more clearly. You might see that the concerns in your mind aren’t nearly as bad as you thought they were. You might see very clearly what changes you need to make in your life. Or, you might see that nothing is that big of a deal and nothing needs to change at all.
Featured photo credit: Ramiro Ramirez/Flickr via flickr.com