I think it's safe to say we are all experiencing some aspect of fatigue from the pace of life these days. As we live in this digital world, with its endless scrolling and searching for our latest wants, and more content than our brains can ever retain, our minds are saying enough. Demands of work and the hustle and bustle of daily life are plenty, its time to listen to our inner self that is asking us to slow down, to reflect more, to see one page, not an endless scroll of information.
We need more stillness. Just seeing the word makes one feel more at ease, more peaceful, doesn't it? Its such a lovely word in this time in history. Maybe 100 years ago it would not have been such a powerful word. But today it is, and today we need it. Its become essential.
An effective way to help us reconnect with our inner selves and cultivate stillness in our lives is through journaling. Journaling is more than just the action of putting pen to paper, although there is much benefit in that for our screen-fatigued brains. It is a powerful practice that can help us connect with our many swirling thoughts and emotions. It's a way to tap into our inner wisdom and creativity. It is the gateway to creating more stillness in our lives.
Here are some things to think about when you begin journaling:
Choose your Space
Creating a still and peaceful environment for journaling is essential. Find a comfortable, quiet space where you can think and won't be interrupted. This could be a little window seat in your home, a cozy chair, the coffee shop on the corner, or your backyard patio. As James Clear says, " Prime your environment for success". Choose or design the environment for you that will be the most conducive to introspection.
Set Aside the Time
This is where the habit of journaling is made. Choose when and where you will write. Its best to do it at a time when you have the most clarity. For some, this is in the morning hours. Julia Cameron swears by morning pages. A daily morning ritual of writing, longhand, whatever comes to mind. This is her primary tool in achieving creativity and stillness. For others, it might be at the end of the day, when darkness helps quiet the mind. Just remember that its the consistency that is key. Make your writing non-negotiable. Aim to make journaling a daily habit, even if it is just for a few minutes a day.
Begin with Mindfulness and let go of Judgment
Before diving in, take a few moments to practice mindfulness. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and bring your attention to the present moment. This will help you become more grounded and receptive to your inner thoughts. Free yourself from any judgements and remember that this is for your eyes only. Don't get caught up in achieving perfect prose.
Prompts & Questions
Sometimes, it's challenging to know where to start when journaling. Paul- Michel Foucault, a French philosopher called journaling " Notes to Oneself". Think about it as a place to dream about the days ahead, to reflect on the day you just had, insights you have heard, or difficulties you are experiencing.
Here are some examples:
What blessings can I count today?
What anxieties am I experiencing? How can I combat these anxieties?
What brings me joy?
Do I rule my fears or do they rule me?
What's a small step I can take to achieve a big goal I have?
What insights have I gained about myself lately?
Practice Reflective Writing
This is a powerful aspect of achieving stillness through writing. After exploring your thoughts and emotions, take a moment to reflect on what you've written. You may ssk yourself such questions as:
What patterns or themes do I notice?
How do these thoughts and feelings align with my values?
What actions can I take to create more stillness in my life?
Gratitude and Creativity
Express gratitude daily. When we acknowledge all that we have and are grateful for in the present moment, we give ourselves the gift of contentment and peace. Writing these things down reaffirms in us all that what we have is enough, and it helps our mind make a shift toward stillness.
Journaling is never limited to words alone. Sketches, photos, and collages can add even more depth to your practice. Adding these elements can also feed your creative spirit as well as help you achieve this desired stillness.
Despite the noise, we can all find a clearer, more still path on our life's journey. By dedicating some time for self-reflection and exploring our own thoughts, instead of aimlessly scrolling, we can achieve peace and feel less stressed by our ever-busy lives. This life is beautiful and we can create a deep connection with it, but first, we need to pause, pick up a journal, and begin.