This week’s Body Love Tip is based on years of personal experience using this one practice for moving forward in my life, especially when faced with challenges and self-doubt:
(And if you’re already doing this – kudos! Read on to learn some extra tips for getting the most from your practice…)
You may or may not have heard of the benefits of journaling before: they are plenty. In fact, many of the top success coaches and mentors recommend it as a regular practice. I recently listened to an audiobook by personal development expert Jim Rohn, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that he also highly recommends a regular journaling practice as a key to success.
“Be a collector of good ideas, but don’t trust your memory. The best collecting place for all of the ideas and information that comes your way is your journal.”~ Jim Rohn
For me though (and I think for most women who journal), journaling goes far beyond capturing good ideas. I’ve been journaling for almost 20 years now, and it’s had an incredible impact on my ability to move forward in the face of personal challenges and improve so many areas of my life, including my body image. I even credit it as one of my best manifestation tools (I honestly don’t believe I’d have been able to move from a basement apartment into a beachfront home overnight if it weren’t for the help of my regular journaling practice).
Journaling is literally the best way I know of for getting to know WHO I am on a much deeper, more authentic level. And as I’ve said before, the only way to really love our bodies is to first love who we are – which begins with knowing who we are!
Here are some of the main benefits I’ve experienced from journaling on a regular basis – which have also been recognized by many others.
Benefits of Journaling:
- We can give our thoughts a voice – which in the end, turns out to be a more practical one than the voice of our “monkey minds” (our imagination and negative self-talk running wild).
- We can be our own best counsellors: we can talk to ourselves about anything, and once we get our problems on paper, we’ve taken the first step to finding a solution because our subconscious minds gets to work on that right away! We then more easily start to find our own solutions to solve our problems.
- We can track and acknowledge our progress – in any area of our lives – which helps to build confidence and belief in ourselves.
- We can record ideas as they come to us (as the above quote reminds us, if we don’t write them down, ideas can tend to disappear…) and increase possibilities for a better future.
What keeps people from journaling – and why it’s worth overcoming it!
Journaling is a relatively easy and effortless activity for me now because I’ve been doing it for so long, but I’ve found that often when I’m recommending to others, it’s not such an easy task. They get stuck: not knowing what to write about, having a fear of doing it wrong, or even more paralyzing, a fear that someone else might read it and they’d be embarrassed or ashamed.
I get that. I felt that way when I first started out too (probably the reason it took me so long to get started, when I’d wanted to start journaling earlier in my teens). But once I got into the practice, the liberating feeling I would get from dumping ALL of my thoughts on paper without concern for those things, quickly took over any inhibitions I had and kept me motivated to continue writing.
What I’ve experienced is that, even on my worst days, I can come out of a journaling session feeling optimistic and pumped to take on whatever challenges I’m facing. I’ve literally gone from full-blown “how-will-I-ever-get-through-this” hysterical meltdowns, to feeling a sense of peace, calm and hope for the future – after just a few pages.
So I highly encourage everyone to give journaling a chance! It can absolutely be a life-changing practice if you can allow it to be the valuable resource it has the potential to be.
If you’re pumped and ready to give it a try, follow the tips below to get the most benefit from your practice!
5 Simple Ways to Benefit Most from Journaling:
1) Choose your journal wisely.
The cover needs to uplift you, inspire you to write, and make you want to pick it up regularly. The pages also have to be right for you: everything from page colour, size and thickness must feel good to you. Use your intuition when choosing one, and make the shopping experience a fun adventure – I definitely don’t advise shopping at the dollar store for this. Invest the $20-40 in a beautiful book that can help transform your life, because you’re worth it. A good writing pen (for journaling only) is also a worthwhile investment.
2) Write like no one’s reading!
Skip the small talk (unless the weather is really important to you) and get straight to the juicy stuff! Your journal is a private place for you to unload all your thoughts, ideas and feelings, so take advantage of this!
Be honest, and just let your thoughts flow – even the vulgar, embarrassing or crazy-talk ones (trust me, these ones make the best entertainment for you later!). Don’t worry about handwriting or grammar either. Let go of the idea that there are any rules to journaling. There aren’t. There’s no wrong way to express yourself to yourself! Your journal is a tool for you to use in the way that suits YOU best. So feel free to write whatever makes sense for you, in whatever way you want (you can even draw it out if that’s your style!).
Note: people are usually too preoccupied with their own lives to want to read the long, drawn-out details of yours – but if you’re really concerned that trust may be broken by someone who would read it, simply keep it under lock and key.
3) Treat yourself as you would your best girlfriend.
Once you’ve allowed yourself to vent about the shit, you can have compassion for yourself and be your own biggest support. Point out the positive things about yourself – like your strengths (we ALL have them), or your ability to get through any situation (evidenced by your ability to get through other tough times in your past).
You wouldn’t let your best girlfriend stay in victim or martyr-mode for too long, would you? Find ways to pump yourself up, point out your awesomeness, and give yourself much-deserved acknowledgement for being WHO you are.
4) Always end on a positive note.
It’s ok to rant, complain, moan and cry – but once you get it all out, and “clear” the negative thoughts from your mind, you’re in a much better state to turn the situation around. Find the lesson (something learned that you can carry forward), the opportunity (a positive action that you may not have otherwise taken), or the gift (the hidden blessing).
For added benefit, close off your entries by acknowledging something that you’re truly grateful for in your life (there’s always at least one positive thing to acknowledge, even in the darkest of times – so in the spirit of #3, don’t be a bitch to yourself, find the gratitude).
5) Re-read your entries every month.
It’s important to go back on your entries and re-read what you’ve written. This serves many useful purposes, among them: it allows you to see your progress (focus on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have yet to go!), and also make adjustments if you see patterns that aren’t serving you. You might also come across thoughts or ideas that you’d forgotten about and now may want to take action on.
Like any new relationship, it takes a little time to find a rhythm with your journal that’s right for you – how often and what you write about will become your own discovery process as you move forward with the practice. But once you find your journaling flow, the possibilities for your health and your life are truly limitless!
I’d like to hear from you…
Do you currently journal? What have been your results of this practice? Please share your experience in the comments below.
New to journaling & don’t know where to start?
Consider starting with a Self-Talk Detox, a program which includes a BONUS Body Love Journal template that takes no longer than 5 minutes/day to complete.
Did you like this tip?
Please pass it on to the women in your life who want a little more Body Love 🙂
Remember: When you shine your gifts, you define your beauty