And How it Changed My Life!
We've all heard the hype. Every man and his dog in our modern world of self-development and personal growth, talks about their journaling practices and how beneficial they are in processing our thoughts, practicing gratitude, becoming more self-aware, la la la… have you tuned out yet? Because up until only a few weeks ago I would have too.
It wasn’t until my mum asked me if I'd tried journaling that I actually considered it. I thought I was too busy hustling (but mostly complaining about how unfair 2020 has been so far), but Mum knew I had started writing a blog and, being my ultimate voice of 'real talk', she wanted me to think about how I was actually going to succeed.
My mum knew I needed to practice writing if I wanted to be a successful writer, in any shape or form. And yes, I knew this too but, sometimes you just need to hear it from your mum. So, I set myself a challenge. 30 days of journaling.
I started by creating a list of things I wanted to achieve through journaling; a private place to practice writing, a means of processing my thoughts without spiralling into over-thinking, greater self-awareness and some extra self-love wouldn’t go astray.
The first few days I had no idea what I was doing, I googled journaling prompts and listened to various podcasts snippets about journaling, blundering from writing about my day, to the things that made me smile and the people I am most grateful for in my life, but it felt inauthentic and forced. Then one evening, it just clicked.
By putting my thoughts on paper, I started to see topics I wanted to unpack. As I unpacked them, I started identifying my limiting beliefs and as I identified these thoughts that were holding me back, I basically began writing them out of my system.
What is a limiting belief I hear you ask? Basically, it's a un-true story or a one-liner you've told yourself so many times it feels like a truth. For example, somewhere during my time in high-school I decided that I was not creative. I must have told myself this thousands of times because at some point during my teenage years I began to believe it.
In reality, I am actually quite creative (if I may say so myself). After years of traveling the world, I'm pretty good at creative problem solving, creative photography, creative relationship building, my list goes on. But it wasn't until I sat and really thought about this, putting words on paper that I realised my "I'm not creative" story was in fact a myth and therefore limiting my self beliefs. Mind blown. Next level potential unlocked.
In unpacking my favourite topics I also started writing about my favourite memories, which in turn inspired me to think about what I want to see in the future. Meet visualisation.
Visualisation is again sitting with or processing your thoughts, but this time channelling them into what you want the future to look (and feel and sound and smell and taste) like.
For example, I visited Mexico, briefly in January 2020 and have spent every day since dreaming about my return. Through visualisation I have a crystal clear, not only-picture, but full all-senses-included 5D film reel, of what it will feel/look/smell like to land in Puerto Vallarta, to get on a bus and travel an hour north, pick up the keys to my new studio-apartment (above a cute local café) and lay in my sun-drenched hammock on my terrace soaking up my long-anticipated new reality! Can you feel the magic?
In case you need further convincing, by visualising our future-self living their best life, we are putting energy out into the Universe. And by combining that energy with the associated emotions, we not only feel more inspired to chase our dreams and take real actionable steps, but we are preparing ourselves to receive all the magic in return.
This also feels like a good time to introduce gratitude. While visualisation is AMAZING for aligning yourself with your goals and future-self, gratitude brings you back to the now, and boy oh boy does it give you all the feels.
Over the past 30 days I've learnt that gratitude is so much more than just jotting down the fact that the sun is shining, I have a warm bed or my 16-year old pet dog is still alive. It is making these points to myself then filling myself, to the brim, with all the emotions attached. The sun is shining, wow that makes me feel so motivated and energised to jump out of bed and crack into my super-productive day. I have a deliciously warm bed, I slept so well last night I feel rested and relaxed, ready to take on whatever comes my way today. My 16-year old dog has defied the odds and is still happy and healthy, I love walking with her through nature and playing fetch, she is a wonderful, loving friend.
Gratitude has also reminded me again and again how far I have come. It reminds me that there was a time (not that long ago) when all I wanted is what I have now. It reminds me to be present in my day and not to waste a minute of precious time.
By ditching my limiting beliefs and pouring my energy into visualisation and gratitude I have further delved into the world of manifestation. And, this in turn has started attracting people, experiences and opportunities with higher vibrations into my life. While this is a whole topic in itself (stay tuned for a future blog post), by opening my mind up to the basics of these concepts (and putting them on paper), I have completely changed my whole outlook on life. Thank you journal (and Mum)!
I now feel insanely inspired to write more and more. I genuinely feel happier and I have more mental clarity. I feel grounded, yet as though my head is in the clouds of infinite possibility, and I love it!
So, if you've read this far, I would 100% recommend you pick up a pen and paper. Find a few minutes for yourself and start unpacking what is going through your mind. Write about topics that scare you, excite you, topics that make you want to run (either away from or towards them). It's here you will start opening your mind to new concepts and invite personal growth, clarity, creativity and happiness into your every day.