3 Unofficial Rules of Journaling

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Journaling is a super simple and FREE way to manage your emotions. Not all days are created equal when it comes to your level of happiness and satisfaction with your life, career or relationships and journaling can be a quick, cathartic release of pent up baggage that can drag you down and make you feel stuck.

Generally, journaling is just a fancier word for “brain dump.” It can be a mental exorcism of all your nagging thoughts and incessant to-do list reminders or a peaceful reflection of your self and your life experience. Every day is different and generally there are no rules when it comes to the free-spirited expression of journaling. However, there are a few simple things to keep in mind if you do decide to put pen to paper.

  1. No judgement of yourself

    Journaling is a sacred devotion of your time and space where you’re free to be 100% you. That includes all anger, negativity, imperfections and yes––even hateful or unapproved-by-society thoughts you wouldn’t put out into the world otherwise. Journaling is a cathartic release of pent up emotions that are healthier out of your body than clogging up your thoughts or overtaking your emotions.

  2. Keep it private

    This one is pretty obvious, but so many times when I assign journaling as homework to clients they tell me they’re afraid their journal will be read by others, so they don’t do it and continue dealing with the same issues over a longer period of time because they don’t give themselves the space to authentically express themselves.

    If this is the case for you, and writing your thoughts down is too risky, try penzu.com or monkkee.com. Both are free online platforms to keep a private online journal where nobody has access to your personal thoughts, feelings or ideas except you!

  3. Don’t re-read your journal entries

    The point of journaling isn’t to polish your writing skills (although that can be an added benefit). The point of journaling is unabashed, no holds barred, honest, genuine self expression. Rereading your entry may cause you to critique yourself, your spelling, your feelings or even improper grammar usage. Save yourself the time and energy and just close the book or app and move on with your day, knowing you did your part in blowing off some steam or connecting with yourself.

    One excuse to read old entries is if you stumble upon old journals. I love looking back at journals from years back and reading about what I was up to around the same date or month I’m currently experiencing. It can feel gratifying to see how far I’ve come from one year or even 10 years ago.

At the end of the day, your journaling experience is what you make it and it’s impossible to screw up. As long as you’re letting out some of the brain chatter on the paper (or document), you’re in the right spot.