How to Start an Intentional Journal

As an artist and writer, I’ve always kept a journal. It was a space for me as a young angsty teen to vent about my frustrations. I wrote down all my secret thoughts I didn’t want the world to know. I’d often complain about the unfairness of life page by page. My relationship with my journal wasn’t a very healthy one.

I grew up in the era of the Burn Book, so what I saw in TV shows and movies told me that the relationship you’re supposed to have with a journal was meant to be that way. Then I discovered intentional journaling.

What is Intentional Journaling?

The first time I realized a journal didn’t have to be a place for woe and despair was when I read through my grandmother’s happiness journals after she passed away. My mother and I had been neglecting to clean out a storage unit full of dust-covered tokens of my grandma’s life.

Inside an old produce box, I found hundreds of happiness journals she had kept over the years. Each page was filled with a few moments that had made her happy each day. Some things she wrote were as simple as ‘Dennis brought me the paper today.’

Reading through her happiness journals made me realize how selfish I had been when reflecting on my own journal entries.

You see, prior to intentional journaling, I had turned to my journals anytime I felt upset as a place to write my feelings out, but instead what I had been unintentionally doing was write myself further into my negative feelings.

What are the Benefits of Keeping an Intentional Journal?

There are a lot of benefits of intentional journaling, including:

  • Healing from past traumas
  • Creating a positive outlook on life
  • Learning about yourself through self-discovery
  • Setting attainable and realistic goals
  • Processing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a healthy way
  • Setting the tone for the rest of your day
  • Looking back and seeing your progress

Starting an Intentional Journal

Here are a few tips to starting an intentional journal. Whether it’s a happiness journal, or writing one sentence a day about your child so they can go back and look through the memories later on; set your intention for your journal and have a clear and simple theme. When journaling, remember to:

  • Set a clear intention for your journal
  • Dedicate 5 minutes a day to writing
  • Set up a routine with when you write in your journal each day
  • Use journal prompts to guide your writing
  • Remember that it’s a self-improvement exercise
  • It’s okay if you miss a day or two, don’t give up!

I hope you will commit to starting this practice in your own life!

xoxo, @michaelavelarde

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