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Mindfulness Journaling for the Full Mind

Journaling reaps all kinds of benefits for the soul, but it can be hard to put pen to paper at first. Here are our favorite mindful prompts for any writer’s block scenario. 

As January comes to a close, your final wellness step is journaling. As we spend the day working, scrolling through social media feeds or attending to others, we can stray far away from ourselves. After a year like 2020, you might feel as though you’ve had far too much time to yourself. But with so many forms of media, it is easy to occupy the mind with multiple forms of external stimuli so that you do not have to confront your own thoughts. The mind-body-soul alignment expands and contracts like energy levels do throughout the day. As a result, I find that I need to check in with myself most nights before I sleep. Otherwise, my mind will remain active long after I’ve shut off the lights.

The best way to journal is by meeting yourself where you are. I don’t necessarily believe in writer’s block as much as I believe in finding the right source of inspiration. As such, a prompt that works for you one day might not spark any thought the next. No matter your scenario, here are some journaling prompts to meet you whenever and wherever that may be. And if you grow tired of these, BWB always has more to go around.

For when you are staring at your first blank page…

Like many new year’s resolutions and wellness journeys, one of the hardest hurdles is starting. If journaling is new for you, empty lines can certainly create some anxiety. Like meditation, people often hesitate to journal because they feel they are doing it incorrectly. While there is no correct way to keep a journal, there are several different ways to get the most out of your journal.

In reality, journaling can be about anything.

When you’re first starting out, begin with a mind dump instead of a prompt. In other words, don’t worry yourself over answering a specific question. Write about whatever comes to mind. For example, what are you thinking about for dinner? What TV show have you been watching? What are you wearing? These introductory mind dumps function well as morning pages to declutter your thoughts before the day begins. In addition, this practice takes the pressure off what a journal should be. In reality, journaling can be about anything.

For when you feel overwhelmed…

Think of all the concerns in your mind like items in a grocery cart. When you break down, you’re pushing your emotional budget beyond its limits. So, you have to remove one or two things from the cart to make space and feel more comfortable. What is one thing in particular that you can let go right now? Empty the space it occupies in your mind and write as much as you need on the page. Consider it a send-off. If it is a goal or task, break it down until it becomes the most minute, digestible step.

For when you feel restless…

Write down some of the recurring questions to which you find yourself wanting certain answers. Think of anything you wish you had the words to understand, whether it pertains to your own life, the world at large, or even life beyond your current dimension of reality. Choose one question to explore. Try to find peace and comfort in the uncertainty of possibility. Why do you need a single answer? Locate the blockage in this question. Why might this question resist resolution?

For when you are lacking confidence…

If you were a stranger seeing yourself for the first time, how would you describe yourself? What might you notice first? Write with the care of someone falling in love. Or, write a letter of apology to yourself for all the times you have indulged feelings of self-scrutiny. Then, express gratitude for only the positive attributes you are grateful to have.

For when you feel stuck…

List five things you would like to do in the future and write about them as if they were happening in the present. Actualize and manifest with present statements. Think “I am” instead of “I will.” Alternatively, reflect on some of the goals you had five years ago and trace their progression through success, failure, and redirection to the present. Think of one thing you did for yourself today.

For when you feel a sense of loss or grief…

Loss ripples. When we’ve lost one thing, it can often feel as though we’ve lost it all. Keep a boundless list of things that you know to be true about yourself in spite of whatever or whomever you have lost. Whether it be pillars of self, memories, tokens, lessons — anything you had before your loss that you still have now.

For when you feel discontent…

Sadness often teaches us to forget. When we sink deeply into a heavy heart, it feels as though unsavory feelings have bled into everything. Without gratitude and memory, sadness can easily become comfortable and overbearingly familiar. In response, recall a specific moment in your life when you experienced joy. Where were you? How old were you? Why this moment? Spend as much time here as you need.

For when you feel lost…

Normalcy is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves. From a young age, you may have felt that you were not normal for some reason. As a result, we then go through life worrying about standards of right and wrong. What is wrong with me? What is the right path for me? Ignoring these arbitrary value markers, what are some of the intrinsic qualities of your heart, soul and character? Abandoning normalcy as a standard, list all the things you are proud to know about yourself. Express gratitude.

P. S. If you are a Notes app writer or prefer to use your phone, try the 5 Minute Journal app. At the very least, you receive push notifications morning and night prompting you to name things you are grateful for, looking forward to or reflecting on. You can also get the physical journal here.

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a graduate from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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