The Beginner’s Guide to Journaling

  • Write about things that you have never shared before.

Research demonstrates that people derive more benefit from journaling about things they have kept hidden from others than from writing about events they already shared with someone else. Reading what you have written aloud, either to yourself or someone else, or letting a trusted friend read it is empowering, as well.

  • Don’t write about the minutiae of your life.

As a rule, it is not helpful to spend your time journaling about mundane events. Keeping track of important conversations, insights, and meaningful encounters that occur throughout your day is an important part of the journaling process, but don’t think of it as a substitute for writing every day. The same research that shows that journaling about traumatic events is healing confirms the opposite—writing about day-to-day trivia offers little in the way of beneficial effects.

  • Ask questions.

According to Anthony Robbins “Quality questions create a quality life.” Questions stimulate your creative right brain, encouraging you to explore possibilities and assess your desire and capacity for change. Asking questions puts your subconscious on notice that you need information and encourages it to go to work.

Write your questions in your journal and wait patiently for a response. The answers may take several days or longer to arrive, and when they do they may come to you in unexpected ways. Watch for sudden insights and synchronicities. They may mean that your subconscious is reaching out.

  • Keep a dream journal

No one really knows why we dream, but many experts believe that dreams can give us clues to what is happening outside of our awareness in our unconscious minds. To tap into this hidden wisdom, develop the habit of keeping a notebook and a pen next to your bed at night and jot down any particularly vivid or disturbing dreams as soon as you wake up. Even if they don’t make sense to you then, their meaning may become clearer to you when you journal about the experience later on.

  • Make Lists

Lists engage your logical, linear left brain. Making a list can help you to sift through difficult emotions or bring order to a chaotic experience you find hard to understand. Lists distill your experience into one or two key terms and help you sort through distractions when you are overwhelmed, tired or afraid.  Make a dream list, a goals list or a list of peak experiences. Or list the most important people or events in your life. Set an intention to open your mind to new insights from your unconscious, and list whatever thoughts or ideas come to mind. Follow your instincts and see where they lead.

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