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January 12, 2015

Journaling Your Way to a Better Self: 7 Tips.

writer writing journal notebook author

When I was 12, I suspected that my mother was spying on my innermost thoughts by leafing through my diary.

Due to the constant lack of healthy boundaries in relation to my mom, I simply stopped keeping a diary.

Journaling, in the form as we know it usually, involves recording our thoughts into a physical book. It is believed that benefits of journaling include: providing an opportunity to reflect and therefore think deeply and more clearly; committing your goals to paper; serving as a record of your progress; and increasing your ability to face problems and challenges head on.

Years later, I attempted several times to maintain a blog but it was never quite the same. I didn’t learn we are more neurologically activated when we put pen to paper until recently.

At the start of 2014, I did a practice of writing anything that came to mind first thing in the morning for one-and-a-half pages for four months (otherwise known as morning pages in The Artist’s Way). It was cathartic.

Over the last one year, it seemed that everywhere I turned, this or that self-help book would recommend starting different types of journals. These are seven:

Gratitude Journal

In the book The Magic, we are recommended to list seven unique yet specific things we are grateful for every day for a minimum of 30 days. The more we are watchful of area to be grateful for, the more conscious and mindful we are of the multitude of things we can be thankful for.

Stress Journal

I was entasked to keep one for seven days as one of the home assignments towards a teacher meditation certification. At the end of seven days, I recognise a definite pattern in not only what triggers stress in me, but also where in my body stress is stored, namely my stomach. That’s when the penny dropped—no wonder I’ve had years of chronic constipation!

Food Journal

In tracking what we eat, we develop heightened awareness as well as ability to map out a pattern for ourselves of what foods work for us, and brings us joy. We are what we eat. Food journals are great tools for people trying to determine the cause of their allergy or sensitivities.

Money Journal

Maintaining such a journal is less about being tenacious, and can be more about being mindful of the flow of money. In heightening our stewardship of our financial wealth and becoming less anxious about money, we can be lighter, happier and present beings.

Workout Journal

We can jot down our warm-up routine, workout variations, as well post-workout stretching, In addition, information around hours of sleep, water intake, mood, and circumstances surrounding the workout can help form a through picture of our fitness regime and whether it is optimal over time.

Dream Journal

To be used every morning as soon as you wake up, we will want to capture as many details of the dream as possible. We may wish to analyse them using a dream dictionary, or just look at the imagery and suggested meanings. It may be noteworthy since our dreams may all be pointing to a certain message, theme or pattern.

Writer’s Journal

This journal is specifically for trainers, coaches or writers to pen down their ideas, jot notes and sources for pieces they are working on. An alternative, I learned, is a Story Idea Journal where the titles of possible stories are written down for future reference.

Did any of the above journal types resonate with you? As for me, I intend to resume writing a bit every morning to crystalize my thoughts and cement a good start to each day. How about you?

 

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Author: Martha Lee 

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Aditya Singh at Pixoto 

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Aimee Jan 16, 2015 10:05am

Art journal

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Martha Tara Lee

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is the founder and clinical sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a doctorate in human sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexuality education workshops, and speaks at public events. She is the host of the weekly radio show, Eros Evolution, on OMTimes Radio, and author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between and Orgasmic Yoga. Catch up with Martha by email or visit her website.