Tips & tricks
What are some of the benefits of journaling, and how come this is such a popular self-care tool? Keep reading to learn more about different ways of journaling and how to use your Mixbook™ for this.

Reconnect with Yourself through Journaling - 3 Simple Ways

What are some of the benefits of journaling, and how come this is such a popular self-care tool? Keep reading to learn more about different ways of journaling and how to use your Mixbook™ for this.

#Bullet Journaling #Mindfulness

I’m an avid fan of journaling from way back. I still have my first diary, given to me by my Mamma in the 80s, complete with lock and key. It makes me realise how I’ve grown as a person, and how these changes are all reflected in my writing. It's all there - from the love heart scribbles and school crushes, to the genuine grief that came from losing my mother.

But hang on, how did I start by keeping a diary and ended up addicted to journaling? Aren't they the same thing, anyway? Well, apparently not! Diaries were originally used to keep public records, gradually shifting to focus on a more private recording of life. From recounting political events and the discovery of “new” lands, to creative expression of emotions and exploration of social confinements, journaling has been kept alive through the ages. Journaling today is used as a tool to explore ideas as well as our inner landscape.

For me, reflection is also a major part of journaling, helping me to clarify my place in life. I started jotting down simple everyday happenings, and moved on to documenting my travels as I got older. I now have over 35 years of emotions and thoughts collected on paper, all adding to my growth and evolution as a human being... it’s pretty impressive, when you think of it!

Journaling today is used as a tool to explore ideas as well as our inner landscape

Now, like many others, I’ve integrated journaling into my life as a kind of therapy, too. When I’m faced with a challenge, instead of booking in with a psychotherapist, I’ll pull out my notebook and ramble over pages and pages. From my frustrations and dilemmas, to the realisations of hopes and dreams, and the pure joy of gratitude. All this helps me to connect back to my centre - and it saves me a lot of cash! It's become my go-to for achieving goals and problem solving.

And if you do go to a psychotherapist, they’ll be the first to tell you that writing about your feelings and recording your thoughts can help you understand yourself better and the issues in your life. It can help you get a better perspective, and help you realise how good or how bad things really are. As you’ll soon find out through a quick web search, the many benefits of journaling are proven in a number of studies.

Writing about our emotions can help us understand ourselves better and gain perspective.

As a person who likes to try new ways to solve problems, I’ve often wondered if I’d benefit from consciously structuring my journaling, as opposed to free-flowing style I usually default to.

When I looked into it, I found three different styles of journaling I hadn’t thought of trying.

1. Morning Pages

You may have heard of Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, in which she introduces the journaling method Morning Pages. My husband suggested this method after it helped him unblock his creative juices as a visual artist.

The basic idea of this method is simple: You wake up each morning and before you do anything else, you write out 3 full pages of what's in your head. It may seem daunting to fill that many pages, but the idea is to empty your mind. Don’t think - just write! Empty out the thoughts swirling around in your brain. Let the words flow onto the pages as a stream of consciousness, and feel how this clears your mind and helps you discover new ideas hidden inside you. And if you're stuck, you can use a few simple questions to get you going like What's making me smile today, What's bothering me?, or What do I need this week to nourish myself?

Clear your mind and discover new ideas hidden inside you

What we've used in the picture:
- A Mixbook™ with lined pages
- Stickers Box Marble
- Uni Signo broad – gold, bronze and red

If 3 full pages sounds tricky to achieve, try setting a timer to 5 minutes and keep writing until it rings.

I want to create a custom Mixbook™ for journaling!

2. Daily Photo/Collage/Sketch

For someone who loves making a good collage, this sounds dreamy. But I would spend way too much time perfecting the artwork and missing the point of the exercise. 

The idea here is to go with the flow each day, choosing one thing to either photograph, sketch, or cut & paste. You can prepare by gathering your materials first, choosing your camera device (your phone works well), buying a blank sketch pad and pencils. And if you’re making a collage, go to any charity store for old magazines, get a good pair of scissors and a glue stick. It's also a good idea to set up a workbench so you can get to it easily.

What we've used in the picture:
- A Personal Planner™
- Uni Pin Brush - black

At the end of the month, print your photos, cut out your sketches and collages and paste them into your Mixbook™.

Click here to see all our wonderful pens and stickers, perfect for decorating your journal!

3. Unsent Letters

This is a great style of journaling for those of us who harbour our emotions or find it hard to forgive. We’ve all had moments where we wish we could have said something to our loved ones (or a stranger) but not been able to, for whatever reason. 

By writing a letter to this person you have the freedom to be honest, without hurting or confronting them.

What we've used in the picture:
- A Personal Planner™ with lined back pages
- Stickers Glow Pop - rose gold
- Uni Pin Fine Line – dark grey and dark grey

Each day, find that someone you’d like to write to and tell them how angry you are, how much they mean to you, or how much you want or don't want to forgive them. It's a liberating and cathartic experience, and really helps you shift your emotions.These letters don't need to be kept or read again - these ones are ripe for the recycling bin!

Need a new notebook? Create your own custom Mixbook™ here!

So when is the best time to journal?
Try to journal just before bed or just after you wake up. These times are when the prefrontal cortex is at its peak. This is the part of the brain that moderates social behaviour, makes decisions and expresses your personality.

For how long should I journal?
Spend 20 minutes a day max, ideally at the same time each day. Psychotherapeutic studies have found that 20 minutes per day is the most effective length of time to journal - any longer and it tends to become brooding and self-indulgent.

What is the best journaling method?
That question is impossible to answer, as different styles resonate with different people. It’s important that you find a style that appeals to you, and make it work for you. You could give it a try for a month, to start with. You could even try a new style of journaling each month - and if you’re enjoying it, go exploring, as there are many more styles to choose from!

Happy journaling!
/Kat at Personal Planner™

Pssst! Need more tips for journaling? Have a look at these fresh ideas!

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