If you’ve been hesitant to start a journaling practice, just grab a notebook and trust the BrainBraid™ process.
You must remember that your story matters. What you write has the power to save a life, sometimes that life is your own.Stalina Goodwin
Writing in my journal each morning is my most treasured daily ritual.
Without it, I feel unmoored, lost, fuzzy-headed, and anxious. No matter how frazzled, distracted, and beleaguered I may feel when I sit down with my journal, I know I can count on writing my way to a new state of being within minutes.
I bring my most challenging, gnarly thoughts to the page. I whine, shout, and whisper in ribbons of ink what I can barely bring to my own consciousness, let alone tell others. I ponder ideas, strategies, and new directions. I think things through, tap into my imagination, and surrender to my intuition.
Journaling transports me out of a funk and into freedom.
What Journaling Can Give Us
I wrote about the power of journaling via Morning Pages in my book, BUOYANT:
The brainchild of author Julia Cameron, Morning Pages are three pages written in longhand each day. As their name suggests, you do them in the morning. They are your private depository of all your crazy-making thoughts, a daily brain dump onto the page. This simple practice holds immense magic and is powerfully effective. Getting all of the mumbo jumbo out of your brain—all the whining, rants, fears, frustrations, and celebrations—truly helps free your mind for creating. Morning Pages incinerate any thought hangovers that hold me trapped. They help me keep only the thoughts that are uplifting and fuel me forward.
I recommend that not only my entrepreneur clients but everyone start a journaling practice. It is the lead “M” of my 5Ms™ (Morning Pages, Movement, Meditation, Moments of Inspired Learning, and Making Something). It is a wonderful place to begin when we crave inspiration and a new sense of possibility.
Why, then, do so many people resist doing this delicious morning ritual?
Facing a blank page is hard. We have been programmed to believe that anytime we write, it must be an exemplary piece of prose with exquisite punctuation, grammar, and spelling. That our words must have excellence and profound meaning.
It’s no wonder we resist writing. Who wants all that added pressure?
No matter how much I cajole clients into giving Morning Pages a try, many still feel it is too overwhelming. They will hang back, preferring to stay stuck rather than risk their tender hearts.
In response, I created a template to make it easier to start a journaling practice, one that feels much less intimidating, yet it still surfaces tremendous benefits. The BrainBraid™ was born.
How to Jumpstart a Journaling Practice by Doing a BrainBraid™:
1) Take out a notebook or a piece of paper.
2) Create 4 quadrants on the page.
3) In the upper right-hand quadrant, write Calm.
4) Turn the page a quarter turn to the left and write Clear at the top of the next quadrant.
5) Turn the page another quarter turn to the left and write Confident.
6) Turn the page again and write Compassion.
Notice how by drawing this simple framework, the page is no longer daunting. First, there is the comfort of having ink on it. No more blank page! Plus, there’s now a defined path that guides us on how to get started.
In the corresponding quadrants, ask yourself the following questions and write your responses:
- Where do I need more Calm?
- Where do I need to be more Clear?
- Where do I need to feel more Confident?
- Where do I need to show more Compassion?
The space limitations in each quadrant force us to write with brevity. This signals to the brain to surface the more salient points we want to bring to our consciousness. In a matter of a few minutes, our BrainBraid™ is completed, and we feel both accomplished and centered.
We have key insights that we can lean into during the course of our day. We feel fresh and more open. In sync and in alignment with our true selves.
From here, you may opt to close your journal and go about your day. Or, you might choose to leverage the momentum and go on to write Morning Pages (if it suits you, watch how making the choice to start a journaling practice with a simple step can lead to a robust ritual). Either way, congratulate yourself. You have banked a win!
Why You Should Start A Journaling Practice
Journaling brings us home to the core of who we truly are. Other people’s expectations, our own self-inflicted sense of duty and obligation, and our brain’s crazy-making thoughts fall away as we write.
Line after line, we fill in the tiny pieces stolen from our authentic selves and return to being in rhythm, knowing precisely what articulates our vision and values.