Did you know you can build a better future by journaling?
Yes, that type of journaling when you chronicle your inner thoughts on paper. Research has found that writing down your thoughts can reduce depression and anxiety, build resilience and boost happiness. What’s more, you can reap these benefits even when you have little time and journal fast.
During a virtual presentation on June 14 at the Sun Prairie Library, Judith Joy will describe how, journaling, can move you closer to achieving what you want in life.
“Journaling is a mirror, a way to express yourself in the moment,” said Joy, author of Dear Future Love –Bring Your Book Boyfriend to Life (yeswithjoy.com) which describes her journey to find love through journaling.
In her new book, she describes how she wrote letters in her journal to her future soulmate as if he already existed. Eventually, she put the journal away, but a year later, when she had met her once imaginary partner, now her husband, she found the journal. “The person I met and married was the same person I had described in my journal,” she said.
Unlocking writer’s block
Everyone experiences writers’ block from time to time, but many writers don’t know how to get beyond it. Joy says try these three techniques:
1. Ask yourself: If you could talk to your writing, what might you ask? The answers will pop in (then write that). What would you like to create today? Who do you choose to be today? What are you grateful for?
2. Stop staring at the paper or screen. What you focus on is what you get. Change your focus to what works for you. This includes changing the stories, perceptions and beliefs that you are holding onto.
Chances are you have absorbed them throughout your lifetime and if given a choice wouldn’t have chosen them.
“Very often they don’t work for us, yet we continue to use those same thoughts and feelings over and over,” Joy said. “Try closing your eyes and flipping the stories in your head.”
3. Go do something fun, then come back and write. “When you are high vibe (peaceful and calm), you can use your intuition to bring in the ideas,” Joy advised. “When you follow your intuition, it may look as if you are procrastinating, when in reality your inner employee (your subconscious) is working out the details so that you can write with ease when the ideas are flowing.”
Tips for easy, fast journaling
You don’t need a lot of time to reap the benefits of journaling. All you need is a few focused minutes.
Journals can be online, audio or a physical journal with pen and paper. Wonder which method is the most effective? Any journal you use is worthwhile, but there is scientific evidence that a physical pen and paper model is the best.
One reason is that doodling or drawings as you jot down your thoughts on paper might be significantly helpful in capturing your thoughts and ideas.
Here are a few more easy journaling tips:
1. Date and record your happy thoughts -- At the end of the day write down the happiest moment of the day. Date it so you have a stream of good vibes to reflect on months and years from now.
2. Start a ‘connections’ list -- Write down the characteristics of the people you would like to meet. Then if a name pops in that matches those characteristics, reach out to that person.
3. Prime yourself for a joyful day -- Before you get out of bed, plan to make it a joyful day by adding in something that makes you feel good. It could be as simple as making blueberry muffins and sharing them with a neighbor. Write down how this made you feel.
4. Write a single sentence and focus it on you -- Write that sentence about a time during the day before or a recent experience when you were at your best. What made you shine during this time?
“You can change the trajectory of what you expect and get in life by creating a map of your thoughts through journaling,” Joy said. “Journaling gives you a place to put your feelings, to examine your choices and see what is possible. It keeps you focused on what you want, which lowers stress – that’s especially important during times of uncertainty.”
To Join the Zoom presentation, register at the Sun Prairie Public Library at https://sunprairie.librarymarket.com/index.php/events/journal-your-way-wow