I recently posted the news to our Yahoo! Group that I had added journals to our Naturally You! Boutique. One of our members asked if I had any journaling tips, and indeed I do.
Journaling is very important to me, and I think it's something everyone, especially every woman, should do. What I do with my journal is a fairly intense, with a very specific focus on self improvement and mental clarity.
Journaling Tips from the Extreme Journaler (Me)
1) Stream of consciousness writing
Stream of consciousness writing is writing without thinking about what you're going to write. Don't let the blank paper stop you.
If you're thinking, "I don't know what to write," write that. Go on to say "I always try to journal but then I don't know what to say. Why do I have so much trouble writing my thoughts down? The blank page is just staring at me," etc.
Just write whatever, whatever "whatever" is. Trust me, what you need to say will come to light.
2) Acknowledgements & Gratitudes
I got this concept from the book "Fearless Living" by Rhonda Britten.
Essentially, each day you write three gratitudes and three acknowledgements.
The gratitudes are things outside of yourself, like "I am grateful for the coolness in the air today." They can be tiny, simple little things, or big important things. The point is to express the things you are happy about. They can be people oriented, ie "I am grateful that I can always count on my mother."
Acknowledgements make note of positive things about you. "Today, I acknowledge myself for writing in my journal." It can be anything, big or small. One pointer is to always express your acknowledgements and gratitudes from a positive perspective. Ie, stay away from "I acknowledge myself for not perming my hair today." Instead, write "I acknowledge myself for embracing my natural hair today."
Don't fall into the "I can't think of anything" trap. Acknowledge yourself for trying to think of something to acknowledge yourself for!
3) Take it in and let it out
One method of journaling I like to believe I invented, is reading a section of a favorite book then writing. I usually read something like "Start Where You Are" by Pema Chodron. This book is meant to inspire personal reflection, so it's a good place to start. Sometimes I read sequentially, and sometimes I open the book to a random point and read a section. It's like a warm up before exercising.
Hope this helps, and happy introspection!