Mindfulness Journaling: A Practice For Clarity

Nadia Colburn // January 31, 2022 // 2 Comments

Mindfulness Journaling and Meditating: Letting the Page Hold Your Thoughts

When we meditate, we try to stay focused on the present moment. It’s completely natural for our thoughts to run away from our object of attention, especially when we begin to meditate. So our job is to call them back. We keep calling them back again and again to our focus of attention.

But sometimes, we find ourselves really focused on a thought or emotion that seems important and we can’t or don’t want to ignore it.

Rather than push it out of your mind, listen to yourself in those situations. I recommend keeping a piece of paper or journal by your side when you meditate, especially at first, so that you can jot down the intrusive thoughts that come to your mind. That way, the page—not your mind and body—can hold the thoughts. Important: do not turn to the page to follow your thoughts, just write down a few words so that you can remember your general idea. And then come back to your breath and to the present for the rest of the meditation period.

When you’re done meditating, you can look at the page.

One of my first meditation teachers taught me this technique and I’ve found it very helpful and pass it on to my students.

When you go back to the page, ask yourself: Was your thought that you jotted down important?

Very often, you’ll discover that what is on the pages is not so important. It might be something you’ve thought a thousand times before. You might find yourself writing the same thing down on the page day after day. And you can chuckle at how the things that seem so important to you during meditation are really not so important and not things that you’re likely to forget. You come to realize that it’s okay to take a break. Your thoughts will be there waiting for us after the end of our meditation period.

But sometimes, you’ll find that you’ve written down something important that you’ve had some new insight that you want to pay attention to. I’ve had students tell me that they realized that they were able to fully forgive a partner or that they were ready to quit their job and follow their heart in business instead. Big life changes come from listening to ourselves in meditation. If you find that you have thoughts on the paper that want your attention, give them your attention. Keep writing about them. Trust the process. Your meditation and your writing will bring you to new insights.

Pair this post with a gently guided 10-minute meditation recording and mindful writing prompts.

Mindfulness Journaling: Bringing Meditation and Writing Together as a Practice

Because meditation helps us understand ourselves so well, I always recommend starting writing sessions with short meditations–whether you are practicing mindfulness journaling, writing a poem or a novel or writing for your work–a grant proposal, a legal brief, a grant, a newsletter, ad copy, whatever it is, centering and meditating can help you gather your thoughts and write more easily and more effectively.

I invite you to try any of my meditation recordings in my free resource library.

Mindfulness Journaling: Benefits

When we journal mindfully about our insights, we’re able to have breakthroughs in our understanding of ourselves and in our life.

You will have more practice staying present, staying connected to yourself, paying attention to the things that matter, and not paying too much attention to the things that don’t matter.

Scientific studies also show that journaling helps reduce anxiety, boosts the immune system, aids memory, helps us be more present and more!

See my post about meditation and to listen to a free recording of a 10 minute gently guided meditation.

Mindfulness Journaling: Methods

While some people like to have a daily mindfulness journaling practice, a daily practice is not necessary. But some regularity can be helpful. Perhaps you want to write every day or perhaps you want to write three times a week or once a week. But try to be somewhat consistent.

Mindfulness journaling is different from other forms of writing and journaling because you want to stay really present with yourself as you’re writing.

Try these tips:

*Write from your heart
*Ask yourself is it true? before you write it down.
*Ask yourself is it important, do I want to focus on this? before you write it down
*Trust that you have the wisdom and insights within you that you need
*Don’t be afraid to pose yourself questions in your writing and mindfulness journaling. Sometimes just formulating an accurate question can be illuminating
*Respond to your questions
*Get out of your own way–ask that inner critic and inner skeptic to step aside
*Listen to yourself
*After you’ve written, re-read what you’ve written. Do you notice anything new? Perhaps put your writing aside for a week or two and then come back to it. Sometimes we have insights we weren’t even aware of having

Our writing has the capacity to put us in touch with our deeper knowing and intuition. This is especially true when we take up a mindfulness journaling practice and follow the tips above.

Pair this post with a gently guided 10-minute meditation recording and mindful writing prompts.

And leave your thoughts, comments, and questions below. I love to hear from you!

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  1. Thank you. A post from you brought a smile to my face. I needed to focus for 10 and then I felt so into peace, another almost ten. At first my mind was all over with bits and pieces, but easily redirected to the breath and into the colors of the throne of God. Blessings

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