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Steps to Effective Journaling

February 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 107

You will already have an impression or thought of what journaling means to you personally. I challenge you to broaden that definition just a little bit because journaling can be as structured or unique as you are.

Here are some helpful steps that you can modify to suit your own style.

Step 1: Set the Stage

Find a quiet, uninterrupted space and set the stage to maximize your journaling time. You may want to light a candle, have a water fountain close by, maybe play some soft music, or have a plant or other item that brings you peace, a positive feeling, or a sense of nature.

Have some pens, pencils, and colouring items such as pencil crayons, felt markers, crayons, or watercolours. Alternatively you can cut out pictures from magazines and calendars to help with imagery. Make sure you are comfortable with the temperature or have a sweater that you can put on or take off. Take a few deep breaths and still your body and mind.

Step 2: Meditate

Take a few minutes of quiet and focus on your breathing. Quickly write seven to fourteen words that surface for you at this time. Write quickly without stopping so that you don't over analyze this step. Often, words might relate to feelings, relationships, a concern, or a hope. Now circle 3 to 5 words that you feel are the most important and use these words to start your journaling session. Now you are ready to look at the list of words you wrote down beside Meditation Step 1 and you are going to identify with one or, maximum, two words. Ask yourself, "What is surfacing for me right now? Are any words or feelings and issues repeated?" Is there a stir in your heart to focus on one particular word? Choose a word and trust in the process. Be excited at the prospect that this is a word only for a starting point. You will be amazed at where it will bring you as you journey through Steps 2 through 5.

Optional Choice: Journaling is flexible and adaptable. What works for you during one session might not fit at another time, or you might feel really stuck. An excellent alternative is during one session, take the time to write twenty-five to fifty words. Once you have completed your list (the more the better), you will prioritize the top seven words. What stands out for you the most? Which word causes the most stir in your heart, emotion, or conflict? Try to scan quickly through the words and write one to seven without overanalyzing. One is your highest priority at this time. Begin to trust your intuition.

Once you have prioritized the seven top words you will look at the whole list again and try to group them in three to five categories (e.g., feelings, relationships, job, blessings, problems). Rewrite your list under the appropriate categories. Do you see patterns unfolding? Are there some categories that are much larger than other categories? Do some areas bring you joy and other categories bring you discomfort? Are your words seemingly more positive or negative? These questions are just to stimulate some observations. You can use these words as a starting point for meditation on the days you feel stuck. Pick one of the seven priorities, or one of the headings/categories as a starting point.

Step 3: Activate

Start you journaling session by drawing images of your 3-5 words. See if you can expand the image by using your imagination and drawing a scene around the original words. You can always use magazines or newspapers to help with this process. Once you have engaged your right brain and creative side as much as possible, then you can move to writing a journaling exercise. The journaling exercise can look very different depending on your journaling experience. If you are new to journaling then often this step might be filled with your thoughts or feelings. If you have more experience in journaling tools then you might be trying to shift your perspective or come to a decision about some choices you are making. Writing these thoughts out on paper will help you to clarify the direction you need to take.

Step 4: Liberate

Step 4 is when you move from reflection to action. Journaling needs to make a concrete difference in your life so that you experience the benefits and have a sense of movement in your life. The challenge for you in this step is to think of one concrete action that you can do in the next 30 minutes and to implement the action. Many people are paralyzed by decision making and feel stuck in their circumstances. Journaling is a tool to help you feel empowered and motivated to take action on a decision. By doing this important step you will feel liberated.

Step 5: Celebrate

Do something nice for yourself. The first 4 steps can be challenging if it brings up emotions or difficult decisions. Although step 4 can be liberating it might require courage, perseverance, and honesty. You might feel physically tired or emotionally drained. Step 5 gives you a chance to renew yourself mentally and physically by choosing something that is stress free and life-giving.

Take the time right now to do something nice for yourself. Good luck journaling and please modify the 5 steps to suit your individual needs.

Diane C. Doyle, a creator and author of the SketchaJournal Dove Series, brings years of personal experience, knowledge and educational background to provide workshops and retreats for your hope and happiness. Living her passion, Diane introduces journaling as a tool for all areas of your personal and business endeavours. For more information on effective Journaling, Please visit: http://www.sketchajournal.com.

Source: EzineArticles
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