12 Exercises to help you get started on your Journey in Journaling!
So far, we have discussed the benefits of journaling, ways to keep a journal, and things to keep in mind so that you et the most out of your journaling exercises, now, let me give you some ways that you can actually get started with your writing.
Let's just jump right into the exercises so that you can get started asap!!
1. Dialogues or Stories
This is what I call writing what you know. Take a situation or scenario that has happened to you and write about it. Write the Who, What, Where, When, and Why. This is a way for you to work through stress, anger, frustration, or any other emotions you had during this situation. You can also write out what you did, how you would like to change that if this scenario happens again, or even what the other person's perspective might have been. Writing these out will help with your understanding of situations and your reactions to them.
2. Unsent Letters
This is where you would write a letter to someone who has hurt you and you could not tell them exactly how you felt to their face. If you have an ex that did you wrong and really messed with your head and you want to get out all the things you wish you could have said to them then you can write it out in a letter format. This will help with forgiveness (for your sake so that you can move forward, not for them), it can help with releasing that anger, or it can just be a way to get things off your chest and not worry about any repercussions. One thing I do suggest with this is that you have a way to rip the letter up or destroy it afterward so that the energy of it does not hang around with you and you can truly let go and move forward from it.
I used to write my feelings out in poems all the time growing up. I have since lost touch with that side of me and am very sad that I lost touch with that. Writing poems helped me work through the emotions but also allowed me to turn (even bad situations) into something beautiful. If you don't feel creative enough to write a poem that is okay, you can always find another way to let out your frustrations creatively. Some other creative ideas might be, painting, drawing, or even songs writing.
4. Free Writing OR "Stream of Consciousness"
This is when you just sit down, put on a timer, and do not worry about grammar. You just let whatever needs to come out, flow right out of you and onto the page. Sentences, punctuation, grammar, or staying on topic are of no concern when it comes to free writing. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind and see what comes up. Sometimes you may even be amazed or inspired by what you write.
5. Mind Mapping or Brain Dumping
Brain Dumping can be done in the morning, right before bed, or whenever your feeling overwhelmed with thoughts. This is a practice of sitting down and just writing out all the things that are swirling around in your mind. Doing this in the morning gives you a way to clear your head so you can start your day off without a million thoughts in there. Doing a brain dump before bed can clear your mind so that it doesn't wander and you can hopefully fall asleep quicker. Any other time of day can just help you to get thoughts and inspiration out of your head so you can concentrate on the task at hand. Mind Mapping is slightly different in the fact that it will actually take time and thought. If you have an idea for a project or course or anything, then you can use mind mapping to 'map' out the pertinent parts of the said project and make sure that like pieces stay together.
6. Journaling with Photographs
Choose any personal photo (or even a random photo or drawing you are drawn to), then start writing. Write about how the photo makes you feel, If there are other people in the photos write down things you want to say to those people. If it is just scenery or pictures of objects then write out how these places make you feel or if they bring back any memories. What is it about the photo that drew you to choose it in the first place. This will help you get in touch with your inner self a bit more because it will be a bit of a reflection journal.
7. Timed Journal Entries
There isn't much to this one for an explanation as it is as simple as it sounds. All you need to do it pick a topic of any kind and then set a timer for 10-15 minutes and sit down and write continuously until the timer beeps. Try to make sure that, like with all of these journaling exercises, that you make sure you have the time to do it uninterrupted.
8. Sentence Stems
Probably about the most popular of all the ways to journal, is the Sentence Stem. Basically this is where you are given the start of a sentence and you write to finish it and then anything else that comes up to go along with the topic. Some examples of this could be:
My favorite season is...because...
If I could speak to anyone in the world it would be.....because...
One thing I want to change in my life is...
My idea of a perfect date is...
If you want more of these then it is as easy as a google or Pinterest search. There are tons of them around.
9. List Journaling
These prompts encourage you to create lists. These can truly be lists about anything and you can always keep adding to them at a later date with a 'continued' list later on. Some types of lists you can create are: List of Gratitude List of Successes List of songs List of things that make you happy List of things you would like to try List of books you've read, or want to read. This list could go on for a while, as I am sure a list could be written for just about anything.
10. Current Moment
Just as it is important to reflect on the past so that you can adjust and keep moving forward, it is also important to be in the current moment. Take some time with this journaling exercise and journal about where you are in this current moment in life. Write down where you live, how you feel about all the stuff you have, how you like where you are and all the other stuff you can think of. This will be helpful because the next time you reflect on past things months down the road you actually have something to compare your new current moment to!
11. Inner Child
Ask your inner child some questions and see what pops up for answers. When you answer these questions write in your subdominant hand (if you are right-handed use your left and if you are left-handed use your right) as this will give the illusion that the answers were actually written by a child (unless you can write well with both hands lol). Writing with your opposite hand will allow you to connect more with that inner child more and could lead to more authentic answers.
12. Nature Journaling
This will help you to connect to Mother Earth. Head outside and sit by a brook, sit under a tree, watch the animals, smell some flowers, feel the breeze or the sun, and then write down whatever emotions came up. Did you feel safe, free, calm, peaceful, etc? This will help you gain a connection with nature that can teach you some valuable life lessons (if you let it).
If you have any other ideas about how to journal or things you would like prompts for just shout it out in the comments!