Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself. ~Katherine Sharp
If I could have only one tool at my disposal to help me on my journey of personal growth, self-awareness, and life transformation, it would be a journal. (And I guess a pen too, but let's say that's included.)
If you've ever kept a journal then you know what I mean. It is an extremely powerful activity — one that is beneficial as a daily pursuit. Through journaling, you can tap into your subconscious and your own inner wisdom. And frankly it's our own wisdom that should serve as our highest guide. Who knows who you really are, what you want, and how to get there, any better than you do?
Through the process of journaling, you can peel back the layers of yourself by allowing the words from your soul to pour forth. It is truly transformative.
My friend Jodi Chapman who blogs at the beautiful blog Soul Speak wrote the bestselling Soulful Journals Series with her husband, Dan Teck. They are avid journalers themselves, and through their work, both in journaling and writing themed journals, they have learned the amazing benefits of journal writing.
I sat down with Jodi to talk more about the benefits of journaling.
What exactly is journaling?
Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your inner self through writing. It’s a way to touch base and reconnect with your core – who you are beneath all of the “to dos” in your life. Journaling is a private space reserved only for you – your writing, your thoughts, your voice. When you write in your journal, you get to write down your raw emotions, uncensored thoughts, and figure out just how you feel about your life.
How did you get started journaling?
I have always been a writer, and I have journaled throughout my life.
In my younger years, my journal was my diary. I wrote about normal things that any teenager would go through – heartaches and dramas that were playing out at school. Fights with my parents. My journal was my confidante. I would pour my heart onto the page. It was my place to discover my feelings – until I wrote them down and sorted them out, I wasn’t always sure what they were.
I was watching Oprah many years ago and learned about a gratitude journal. This was such a new concept for me. I had been writing about what was wrong in my life – and this focused on what was right. What a wonderful idea! So rather than using my journal to vent, I wrote about what I was grateful for.
I felt an intuitive hit inside of me. Looking at life through this lens and then writing about it was life changing. I believe that what you put out into the world comes right back to you. And so focusing on what is working in my life and writing from my soul has definitely brought so many great things into my life – more than I could have ever imagined!
In the beginning, my intention was to create beautiful journals and share them with others. I focused on the outside of the journal – the pretty paper and original designs. But as so often happens as we grow, my interest shifted from outward appearances to what was on the inside – I wanted our journals to inspire people to live their best lives by offering tools to help them go within.
This process was reinforced by our many customers who said that they thought the journals were beautiful but that when they opened them up and saw the blank page, it freaked them out. They didn’t know what to say or where to start. Their comments inspired us to create our Soulful Journals Series. The writing prompts make it easy and fun for people to get to know themselves better, and I’m thrilled that they quickly became our bestselling products!
What are some of the benefits that a person can get from journaling?
- Journaling helps you slow down and become more grounded. Journaling allows you the space to slow down and get in touch with your inner voice. We always have the answers – it’s just that we get so busy that the answers get buried underneath all of our multi-tasking.
- It’s a form of meditation. You have to be present when you are journaling. You can’t be doing anything else – in that exact moment, you are writing. You are going within – you are getting in touch with that part of you who is so wise. You are allowing yourself to let go of everything else and just be right here. Your breathing slows down. Your shoulders loosen. Your head begins to clear. And you remember how wonderful a feeling this is – you remember how much you love being with yourself.
- Writing prompt journals help guide you gently in a positive direction. For instance, they can help you remember what you’re grateful for; get clear about what you want, or set and keep your goals. They are also great tools when you’re going through a major life transition and need some guidance.
How should you go about it? Is there a good way to get into the habit of it?
- Create a sacred space. I would definitely suggest creating a sacred space before you begin journaling – a place where you can write in private without distractions. It could be an entire room that you convert into your inner sanctum, or a comfy chair in your living room, the car while you are waiting to pick up your kids from school, on a park bench, or at a coffee shop. Anywhere that you feel you can be alone with your thoughts and be free to express them.
- Start slowly. If you are just now starting a journaling practice, I would recommend starting slowly to set yourself up for success right from the start. You would be amazed at how much your life will improve simply by spending five minutes each day writing down what you are grateful for. It’s literally life changing!
- Eliminate distractions. Be sure to let your loved ones know that you’ll be inaccessible for a little while. If there is a door to close, close it. Turn off your phone. Close your computer. This is your time, and you are worth giving your full attention to.
- Breathe into it. If you sit down and center yourself before writing, your inner voice will step up and your pen will begin to move. It’s okay to close your eyes and write – this is a great technique to help your higher self step into the driver’s seat.
- Get out of your own way. Be sure to let the words flow onto the page without judging them or censoring them. Journaling is a time to let it all out. Remember that this is just for you – only your eyes will see it. So feel safe putting the real you out there.
Can anyone journal, even those who don't feel they write well?
Definitely! That’s one of the things that I love most about journaling – no one else will ever see it except for you. This means that you get to write however you want about whatever you want. The point is to get it out – not to write well. Your inner voice doesn’t care how it sounds, it just cares that you are growing and learning, which will happen naturally through journaling.
What are the benefits of hand-written journaling over computer journaling?
I honestly think that journaling is beneficial whether it’s handwritten or on the computer. Just getting out what’s inside of you and understanding how you work and what you are feeling is essential and so important. However, I will say that I love writing in a paper journal. It feels special – I feel special. I love lighting a candle, sitting in a comfy chair, and pulling out my journal and just seeing what comes out.
How are your Soulful Journals helpful tools for getting to know ourselves better?
I am a writer and am usually not at a loss for words. However, sometimes I sit down to journal and draw a blank. Our prompts are a great starting point. I like to flip through the journal and randomly start writing on whichever page opens.
The prompts are really good for expanding our writing, as well. It’s easy to get into a journaling rut where we find that we’re writing about the same things day after day – year after year. Writing prompts ensure that doesn’t happen – they encourage you to go in a different direction and in doing so, you inevitably learn more about yourself.
For me, The Commitment Book helped me reach my goal of setting up my blog, Soul Speak, and posting consistently. I wanted to commit to something that I was passionate about, and my entire world has changed because of it. I am reaching my dreams and helping others in the process.
As a special offer just for Live Bold and Bloom readers, Jodi is offering her Manifestation Journal Set at a special price for my readers.
This normally sells for $22.50, and it's just $19.95 for you!
These three interactive books are a guide to help you through three steps to creating your ideal life and keep you on track with intentions and resolutions.
Step 1: Gratitude – The Gratitude Book: 50 Prompts to Keep the Grateful Feelings Flowing inspires you to focus on the positive and appreciate all the wonderful things already in your life.
Step 2: Visualization – As If: 50 Prompts to Help Manifest Your Ideal Life helps you to clarify your vision and feel the same gratitude for things to come as you do for the positives already in your life.
Step 3: Commitment – The Commitment Book: Helping You Keep Your Word to Yourself helps you take consistent action, which will set the universal wheels in motion to help you reach your ideals.
You already have the dreams. Here are the tools to help them come true!