Mindful Journal

Writing journal is for those people who find no interest in living a life of victimhood and limited personal freedom. Deepak Burfiwala


There is power in writing, especially with pen and paper in hand. Writing by hand energizes a different part of the brain and takes more time and thought. It is more intentional and allows doodle moments, which cultivates creativity. Writing on paper allows the immediate flow (and sometimes gush) of words that come from the heart. The process facilitates a sense of calm and often brings clarity. It is a natural and immediate way to be in the moment.

There are many ways to journal. There is no right or wrong way. One guru that I recommend is Julia Cameron who talks about creating morning pages as a way to journal that is for you only. Having a time and space set aside as a routine is helpful for those of us who want or need discipline. I do have a morning routine and starting each day this way allows me to have more focus. But I am also an opportunist. I have a small moleskin notebook that I keep with me and when I have even five minutes (in a waiting room, or taking a break before or after meetings), I pull it out and take advantage of a mindful moment. I focus on what is and just write. At times, it is about acknowledging my emotions, writing about how my body feels, the weather, a note to myself, a grateful moment—anything that puts me in the moment.

Mindful writing is a dialogue within yourself about what you are experiencing – inside or out. It is an immediate and concrete way to extend your mindfulness practice.

So then, how do you do it?

Start with a goal you know you can accomplish. Although almost all of us have devices we can use, they are also a temptation. Ding – you have a text, and email or phone message. Ding – weather alert. Ding – a YouTube video popped up. Don’t Ding yourself. If you must use your device, try to turn off all of the distractions that will tempt you to wander from the moment.

I prefer pen and paper because I get inspiration and focus in unusual spots. I have a morning practice, but I also find that when inspiration hits in the moment, I can jot things down quickly. You will find when you start being mindful, creative ideas will pop in throughout your day. Your memory becomes sharper.

There are no instructions about how or what to write. It is a personal and intimate experience.

Freewriting is a creative technique that keeps you in the moment. If you are like me, a type A who likes structure, this may not work your first time. So, here are some other frames you can use to start your practice.

Start by writing your daily intention. This writing is positive and uses your intention of success, focusing on how you imagine you will show up today.

Then at the end of the day, write a reflection of your day. I prefer focusing on a positive things, looking at what you did well or what went well. If something less than positive happened, use the time to focus on what was actually good – even if it is just the fact you made it through the day or the weather was enjoyable. I have even written about something simple like my cat greeted me when I came home and she snuggled with me.

But if your emotion has grabbed your attention, give yourself permission to vomit the words onto the page to get it out and then move on to writing your intentions for tomorrow. Let it go so you can let your purpose come forth. As you practice gratitude and mindfulness, the urge to spew out emotions will become less and less.