Journaling is great, but it’s not everything
You are 1 of 3 people when it comes to journaling. Tell me, which sounds the most like you?
You have never journaled but are interested in learning more about it or trying it. You somehow know it is beneficial because there is something within you calling you to this practice. But you are a bit scared or unsure how to get started.
You have dabbled in journaling on & off, but you do not have a consistent practice. You have experienced the benefits that come with journaling, but for some reason you couldn’t make the practice stick.
You are an expert at journaling with a regular practice; however, you are still looking for a little more depth or diversity within your practice.
Wherever you fall, this blog will help you to connect the dots to what it is you are desiring. Before we dive into what else you need besides journaling, let’s review a bit about a few types of my favorite journaling practices available to you.
Types of Journaling
Stream of consciousness journaling is a practice that involves you simply writing anything and everything without rules or guides. You don’t have a particular thing in mind to write about but rather you allow the words to flow from whatever pops in your consciousness. You ignore punctuation, style, grammar, format… or anything that stops you from writing. This practice allows you to experience an extremely powerful source of release. You will become present in the moment and get thoughts off of your mind, specifically the ‘stuff’ that’s weighing you down. Afterwards you will feel a high sense of compassion on your emotions and clarity on your needs.
Guided journaling is great for those embarking on a particular subject and especially great for those new to journaling. This method allows you to take the material deeper than if you had simply written on your own. And there is less resistance to this method because you just show up. All you need is some time and space for guided journaling.
Expressive journaling is a method of writing where you write about one specific thing and write about your feelings as it relates to that topic; however, this is generally not a one time practice and would involve you writing about that one specific topic at least 3 times (1 time 3 days in a row). This practice helps to stop ruminating and is the go to method if you find yourself thinking about something over and over again. Expressing yourself will allow you to process and organize your thoughts so that you can move away from being overly attached to what you once were.
Bullet journaling is a unique mindfulness tool. Historically, it can be a calendar, a to-do list, a goal-tracker, and a diary all in one, but it doesn’t have to be any those things. Nevertheless, it’s intention is to keep you organized, strengthen your organizational skills, and most of all will keep you out of overwhelm.
WHY DO YOU NEED OTHER TOOLS ASIDE FROM JOURNALING
As you can see, journaling is a very powerful tool; but to awaken love and joy with food, yourself, and life, you will need more than journaling!
If you are like most people, when starting to use a journal that incorporates something about food, you are probably thinking instantly about food specifically because “that is what you always think about”, right? Since the beginning of time, you have created stories about how food causes ‘xyz’ feeling or ‘xyz’ outcomes. While this can be true, those story lines may have been impacted by many other facets of life. And this is exactly why it is important to utilize the combined power of several tools… so that you can look past food solely being responsible for any undesired outcome you have experienced.
To get started with this practice of expanding your awareness, it is helpful to start with a modified version of the bullet journal. Each month, you will brainstorm tasks and other items that will fill your day. From there, you will place those tasks into a daily task page, ideally not listing more than 3-5 tasks per day. If you happen to have more task items than that and you are tracking your nourishment intake alongside that, you may notice that your satisfaction with your meals was lower and then begin to explore the correlation further through some reflective journaling space.
COMBINE DAILY TASKS ALONGSIDE INTENTIONS, SELF-CARE, HABITS, AND REFLECTIONS
In addition to having daily task lists, you will also want space to set a daily intention, commit to self-care tasks, reflect about your day, and track other impactful habits that may contribute to you living your best life.
By taking a few minutes to set a daily intention, you are positively influencing your subconscious mind, which is where 95% of our decisions come from. This intention will help steer those decisions to be aligned with the future you're hoping to create.
We all know that self-care is important, but how often do you schedule it? And do you even know what that looks like for you on a daily basis? Chances are… self-care will not be a priority unless you plan for it. Self-care can go beyond the typical bubble bath & massage. While those are great, self-care can also be setting boundaries, taking deep breaths, or doing something that you are passionate about. Whatever it is, you need to write it down in order to commit to it.
Habits are the small decisions we make every day, most times subconsciously, and they account for most of our behaviors on any given day. Utilizing a habit tracker can help cultivate awareness around your habits and allows you to see how your habits may impact other factors in your life.
Self-reflection space is also needed daily. It is not possible to practice self-reflection without also the practice of self-awareness through use of the habit tracker and tracking nourishments. Self- awareness allows you to harness your ability to observe your mental and emotional processes, whereas self-reflection couples this introspection with the willingness to learn about yourself. It is a means to both observe and intentionally integrate your past self into the person you are becoming. When you take time to adopt reflective practices, you will be provided with an opportunity to actively go through an excavation process.
KEEP A NOURISHMENT LOG WITH HUNGER, FULLNESS, SATISFACTION, MOOD, AND ENVIRONMENT
Some find it extremely helpful to log their foods as they start to learn about their eating experiences; however, some do not feel ready for this practice and that is ok. If you find yourself curious and ready to log your foods, it is recommended to log nourishments without assigning them a specific time or meal name. Hence the name “nourishment”. When looking at nourishments, it is also recommended to look at your hunger, fullness, satisfaction, mood, and environment.
We were all born with a sense of intuition that led us to show when we’re hungry and when to pull away when we’re full. The connection to this intuition can get disrupted for many reasons. To find our way back, it is helpful to use this scale to assess how you feel before, after, and during eating which can guide you in knowing when to start and stop. It will also help you identify the normal fluctuations of hunger you feel throughout the day and you will also notice connections between your ratings, and how or what you eat.
Do your best to utilize curiosity with your hunger, fullness, and satisfaction versus utilizing this scale as a new set of "must follow" rules. Without awareness of this, it can be very easy to turn this into the "eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full diet". The reality is there is no such thing as perfection here. It is all about utilizing self-awareness and leaning into learning through self-compassion in order to return to your attunement. It is also important to note that in addition to using the hunger scale, we can also think about what type of hunger we are feeling: physical, heart, or mouth hunger.
Tracking moods and environment alongside the other aspects of your nourishments is quite important because it can reveal a variety of nuances that may arise within your eating experiences. For example: when your mood is on the lower side of the mood scale, is there a pattern that you generally feel less satisfied with with your meal and become overfull frequently? If so, this could be a sign that you could benefit from having more resources for awareness and management of emotions. Or on another note, do you feel full, but not satisfied when eating alone? But then notice that after this is a time when you continue to snack. If this is you, what conclusion could you now draw with looking at these other aspects?
WHERE TO FIND A TOOL WITH ALL OF THESE RESOURCES
I know this may seem overwhelming to track all of this and it could be if you were attempting to do this with several resources. However, this is exactly why I created Your Intuitive Life Journal. To have all these resources at your fingertips to make it easy for YOU to track your patterns and look at the big picture objectively through a lens of love! One of the most prominent pieces of Your Intuitive Life Journal is the “Today is” page alongside the “Nourishment Log” page. These pages were put side by side intentionally so that those using this tool can easily get a snapshot of their entire day and all aspects about it.
I offer this transformational, life-healing opportunity using the relationship you have with food because food is something we put our attention to everyday. When we shift how we hold that attention, we shift every other aspect of our life with very little effort, which is pretty amazing, right? How we do food is a reflection of how we do life, and in order for you to completely transform your relationship with food & yourself, you need to look at every aspect of your life, objectively & subjectively. Once you have this clarity, you can then intentionally release what it is you need to release through the method of journaling that is most appealing to you.