Journaling. I have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s the thing I know I should be doing every day, but don’t. That’s why I’m taking a 30-Day Quarantine Challenge to journal every day of April!
You may wonder why I’m committing to doing something I sometimes hate doing.
Well, if I’m being honest, journaling is what has stopped me from ending some of the relationships in my life in a fiery burst of (my) emotions.
Let me explain. Ever write out a really long, emotionally-draining text that really tells a person off? The kind of masterful text you compose when you’re just up to here with a person in your life and you are ready to explode with words that you know are irrevocable.
And then delete it. Because suddenly your anger has dissipated. In fact, all of your emotions are less intense. You start to think about the fallout from the riot act that you were about to send out. Your rational mind reemerges from the throngs of your impassioned words.
You delete the text because simply writing out the text had been cathartic. And you feel better.
Now imagine that same sort of catharsis, but without the worry of accidentally hitting send.
I journal to get the emotions out. Because we all have emotions. There is, of course, no shame in that. But sometimes after I get those words out on a piece of paper, my mind is able to see the situation from a different, possibly more rational perspective. I might still choose to discuss tough feelings with someone in my life, but it’ll be a much more constructive conversation than it would have been pre-journaling.
I started reading books and listening to podcasts that discussed journaling and all its benefits. Podcasts like Laura Tremaine’s 10 Things to Tell You and books like one by Jen Sincero with a somewhat vulgar title opened up a whole new world for me when it came to journaling.
Here’s what I’ve learned: there is more than one type of journaling. In fact, there are many! If you are interested in seeing what the practice of journaling can do for you, take a look at all the ways you can journal and choose the one that speaks to you. Or, if you’re like me and need to switch it up sometimes, do whatever style speaks to you on any given day.
Journal Style #1: Classic
Yup, this is the style of writing that you might have done once when you were a little girl writing to your diary (as you would have called it back then) about your crush in the sixth grade. This is a story-style way of journaling and can be very cathartic (just like that long, emotional text I talked about earlier). Of course, the subject matter would be totally different than when you were eleven, but the feeling of “getting it all out” is still there.
Journal Style #2: Lists
List out your goals, your frustrations, the things that are making you happy/sad/angry in your life. A list gives you the ability to take all those thoughts floating around your mind and organize them so that you can actually process the situation – good or bad.
Journal Style #3: Mantras
Mantra journaling literally consists of writing the same phrases or thoughts at least once a day. The phrases should be simple and set your day up for positivity and inner strength. When I was actively doing this style of journaling, I chose phrases like, “I am calm,” or “I can only do what I can do.” Mantra journaling is simple, no-nonsense, and surprisingly effective at having a positive impact on my day-to-day mindset.
I’m sure there are more styles out there, but these are the ones that work for me, and I hope they might work for you too. Just remember that there is no “one way” to journal – which is such a relief for this reluctant journaler!
So, here I go. Thirty days of journaling. Thirty days of putting myself emotionally out there (on paper). Thirty days of writing the ups and downs of this quarantine experience. Thirty days of trying to make this love-hate relationship a little bit more loving.
If you’re interested in joining me on this journaling journey, follow me on Instagram @laurcrockerwrites. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this challenge. I hope you join me and share yours too!