Someone once asked me who I write to when I journal. My reply: “I’m writing to my soul.”
To people who know me, it’s not a secret that one of my favorite self-care practices is the soul-nourishing habit of journaling. I talk about it a lot in my books and yoga classes, as well as on my blog, monthly newsletter and social media channels — just about anywhere I have a voice to share the power of this life-changing self-care practice.
My experience with journaling over the last several years has taken me through some of my most stressful periods, as well as moments of absolute joy. I’ve even made some significant decisions and changes in my life thanks to journaling. For example, journaling helped manifest my dream of writing my first book, which was published in 2019, as a full-time working mom.
Journaling is as natural to me as inhaling and exhaling. I don’t have to think about it. I just become it.
I like this style of writing so much that about four years ago, I kept four journals at once. As I type this, I keep two journals — a daily journal and a weekly one. The more I write, the more it pours out from within, like an overflowing river.
All of this journaling has a purpose. When I journal, I tap into my highest self — similar to meditation. These are some of the only times I can get quiet enough to hear my spirit speak. And, it wants to be heard. Yours does, too.
Journaling brings harmony to the chaos of life (even if it’s organized chaos) as a busy working mom. Here’s why I never go to bed without it.
- A cathartic practice that helps me unwind from my day and a signal to my mind that the day is done.
- A powerful, peaceful tool for perspective, balance, reflection and growth.
- A collection of fears, doubts, hopes and dreams.
- A celebration of being human.
- A space for creativity and possibilities.
Harmony Through Writing
Journaling can be customized to meet you where you are, and a little bit of it every day goes a long way.
There are several types of journaling: writing based on prompts, gratitude writing, free form and more. Each blank page symbolizes potential. And if you’re on devices a lot, it’s refreshing to use pen and paper. In fact, I remember things better when I write them.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Pick a spot that inspires you to jot things down, such as a writing nook, a cozy corner surrounded by plants, your bed or an outdoor patio.
- Write about the things in your life that inspire you and bring you closer to your purpose.
- Practice authenticity. Write your truth in words so that it’s easier to say them when you speak them.
- Notice patterns in your writing, which can lead to self-discoveries. For example, you might notice that most of what you write about is related.
Journaling Prompts for Inner Peace
- What do you want to devote more energy to?
- When do you feel most connected to yourself?
- In what areas of your life do you seek more harmony?
- What activities move you away from inner balance?
- What is the best part about your life right now?
Although I have been practicing self-care for decades, I have not yet found a better way to harmonize mind, body and spirit off the mat than with journaling. You, too, can be in absolute awe of where your writing leads you. Ready to write to your soul?
Lead photo by Emma Dau; second photo by Life Lens and Love Photography LLC.
Originally published in the Winter + Spring 2021-22 issue.
Julie M. Gentile helps busy people create better self-care habits as a yoga teacher (RYT 500), author of two award-winning books: 108 Yoga and Self-Care Practices for Busy Mamas and How to Stay Calm in Chaos: An Everyday Self-Care Guide, and creator of the Stand Up for Your Self-Care blog and YouTube Channel. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook @JulieGtheYogi, and sign up for her monthly self-care newsletter Nourish Note at JulieGtheYogi.com.