How many times have you gone to the store to purchase a gorgeous new notebook with the intention of starting a daily journaling practice, only to find it collecting dust on your shelf after only three days of use?
Look, we don’t mean to call you out! When we were first starting out, we were guilty of that too.
The thing is, journaling is an incredibly beneficial tool for personal and professional development. But like any new practice, it can be really difficult at first, especially if you don’t have any guidance in your writing.
Once you get started however, there are so many benefits you may find it hard to stop! There are endless ways you can use journaling: For creativity, personal and professional growth, working through emotions, letting go of past experience, and much, much more.
Before we dive into the how, let’s look more deeply at the why. Writing in your journal is a really great way to learn more about yourself, which is great for all areas of your life.
At DotConnect, we don’t separate the personal from the professional. We honor the fact that we’re all whole humans. So when you take care of your emotional and mental well-being, it will impact your career in positive ways. The more confident, self-aware, and empowered you are, the more effective you are in your career.
Making journaling a daily practice ensures that you check in with yourself emotionally each and every day, allowing you to see patterns in your behavior or your feelings over time. Journaling can help you manage your stress levels and unpack the anxieties and worries that come up in your life. It can help you connect to and realize your dearest values. It can help you be more creative, and much, much more..
Journaling can take as little as ten minutes of your day, but the effects of those ten minutes will impact to every your day, your week, your month, and even your year.
Not convinced yet? Try one of these prompts for a week, and see how you feel.
Daily Gratitude Practice
Our fearless leader, CEO of Dot Connect Dom Farnan, swears by this practice. Once you try it, we’re confident you’ll swear by it too.
Writing down and connecting to the things in her life that she is grateful for has been transformational. Through a gratitude practice, she has been able to shift her focus away from the things that she doesn’t have and toward all the wonderful things that she does have. And in doing so, she changed her overall mindset from one of scarcity to abundance.
Gratitude practice isn’t all fluff either — it’s backed by science. In a 2016 study, researchers found that gratitude can liberate you from toxic emotions and it even changes the structure of your brain. By being mindful of what’s going well in your life, you may be training your brain to be more sensitive to what’s going well in the future.
To make things even better, this practice couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is write down three things you’re grateful for every day. Seriously, that’s it.
This life-changing habit will take all of five minutes, and it will leave your heart feeling full for the rest of the day. You’ll also start to notice patterns in what you’re grateful for. This will give you insights into what brings you joy, so you can engage more with that aspect of your life.
Do you often write about the city you live in? Do certain people’s names show up often? Take note, and bring more of your focus towards those areas of your life. For example, turn your attention towards the people that bring you the most joy, and spend less time with people who don’t.
When writing in your gratitude journal, try to be as specific as possible. Go for details. Of course, you’re happy that you have a roof over your head or a family or both, but those are obvious.
What are the little things? What are the simple joys of your life? Maybe you heard from one of your oldest friends or finally fixed the AC unit. Celebrate little wins so that every day becomes more magical.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to feel boxed in by a prompt or forced to write about the same thing over and over again, allow us to introduce you to the perfect journaling practice for you.
This daily ritual is called “Morning Page,” and it comes from a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It involves engaging in stream-of-consciousness style writing, which means you get to write whatever comes into your mind, without a filter, and without even trying to have it make sense.
You’ll want to keep unpacking your mind until you fill three pages. Write about anything and everything: Your worries, what your day looks like, a part of your past you’re struggling to let go of, or even what you had for dinner last night. The possibilities are endless. You don’t even need to write complete sentences.
Morning Pages is an incredible tool for artists because it’s common for them to experience creative blocks. This style of writing gives the subconscious mind more freedom, which can stimulate new ideas.
But don’t think you need to be an artist to try it out, everyone can benefit from it. Those thoughts and images crowding your mind could be taking up precious mental space and influencing you without you realizing it.
Plus, you may notice patterns and themes that you want to run with! If the same person keeps coming up, maybe it’s time to reflect on that relationship. Or if you keep thinking about a specific place, maybe it’s time for a visit.
Write a Letter to Get Something Off Your Chest
Everyone carries around emotional baggage from their past to varying degrees. Even if we’re not consciously aware of it, we’re prone to bringing our past into the present, wearing it like a backpack full of heavy rocks that we don’t even realize we’ve got on. Oftentimes, we don’t even know it’s there until we set it down and immediately sigh in relief.
Or maybe we’re very aware of something in our past that’s caused us pain. It could be very much on our minds so that every time we start a new relationship or go for a promotion, we’re not able to feel confident or hopeful or calm. And we always expect things to go the same way when it’s time to try something new.
One of the best ways to clear this type of energy is through letter writing, but don’t worry — you’re writing a letter you’ll never send. The goal isn’t to communicate with the person (although if you want to, that’s totally up to you). The purpose of writing the letter is to become more self-aware, honor your emotions, and relieve yourself from the grip past experiences have on you.
This means you can really let loose in your letter and get out everything you always wanted to say or never knew you wanted to say. Give yourself closure. There may be conversations you never had, apologies you never made, and gratitude you never expressed. Include all of that in the letter without fearing what anyone will think.
Writing a letter in your journal gives you permission to really explore and express how you feel. This alone is very healing because if you’ve been repressing emotions, you’re now much more aware of what they are and how they might be influencing you.
Plus, many people find that the act of writing the letter — and even visualizing the person and imagining giving it to a person — is transformational. You can’t change the past, and contacting this person isn’t always the best idea, but you can process things within yourself, releasing that built-up emotion for good.
There are no rules when writing a journal letter so forget about sounding good or even making sense. Let everything out. Purge yourself. You may find yourself getting emotional, and if so, that’s completely normal. If that happens, nurture yourself with soothing breathwork, a gentle yoga practice, or a nice massage afterward.
You can also (safely) burn the letter as a symbol of completely letting go of that experience or imagine hot air balloons are taking all the weight of those experiences away from you.
Write a Love Letter To Yourself
Another fun way to write letters is to write yourself a love letter — hang in there if it sounds silly. It’s actually a really beautiful practice.
Writing a love letter to yourself is a fun, enjoyable way to engage in self-care and self-nurturance. We all can use a little more of that, no matter how well things are going or what we’ve accomplished. Life is challenging, and we’ve all had a few hard knocks. So there is nothing wrong with giving yourself tenderness and praise as you deserve.
To make this process special, try turning it into a little ceremony. Do something nice for yourself to get in a good mood. You can throw on your favorite movie, take a bath, put on your favorite music, or cook your favorite meal. Indicate to yourself that you are special and deserving of good things without needing to “earn” them — you can celebrate yourself for no reason at all.
Next, think about all of your favorite qualities about yourself, all of your accomplishments, what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown, and how you’ve changed. Celebrate big and small wins. Resist the temptation to minimize yourself or your accomplishments. That’s all too common, and it doesn’t do anyone good.
This act of self-recognition will set you up to become more aware of your positive traits more regularly. Plus, it’s fun. So write as much as you want, and stop when it starts feeling like work. Keep it around for your difficult days, so you can remind yourself of all you are.
This practice is perfect for those who need structure in their journaling practice but easily get bored if they write the same prompts over and over. This method leaves your daily prompt entirely to chance!
You’ll first want to gather a number of prompts that are interesting to you and assign each of them a number. You can find prompts everywhere online, such as at Psychology Today, Psych Central, and Thought Catalog. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- What is something I never get tired of doing?
- What did I want to be when I was a kid?
- What do I constantly think and worry about? How can I stop?
- What does my ideal day look like?
- When have I done something I thought I couldn’t do?
- Describe a beautiful, recent sensory experience: a taste, a smell, a touch, and so on
- The nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me was…
On little pieces of paper, write the numbers for each prompt. Fold them up and toss them in a jar. Every day, you’ll pick one prompt to write about.
This is a great way to explore a wider range of journaling topics and gain a deeper understanding of multiple aspects of your emotional life. Not only that, you’re less likely to get bored of your daily journaling practice — the element of surprise keeps it fun and fresh!
It’s time to dust off that old, unused notebook on your shelf and get to discover more about yourself! You’ll be surprised how much you learn and how good you feel when you start a journaling practice consistently.
Taking Care of Yourself with DotConnect
Self-care is something we take seriously at Dot. A thriving career is built on well-being, so taking care of yourself is non-negotiable. When you engage in contemplative practices like journaling, you’re strengthening your self-awareness, signaling to yourself that you matter, and ultimately, setting yourself up for more success in all areas of your life.
We want to see the end of days when people burn out, can’t handle the balance of their personal and professional lives, or make themselves mentally or physically unwell. We want to see a revolution in the workplace, where consciousness is valued, as well as the well-being of everyone on the team.
We’re proud of our unique vision for conscious leadership, and we’re equally proud to connect amazing, gifted recruits with companies who need them. Connecting the dots is what we do. So whether you’re seeking talent or your next opportunity, we’re ready to support you.