Journaling - Find What Works For You

Journaling - Find What Works For You

My story that led to journaling.

For a long time I didn’t understand why I had the emotions and feelings that I did. I sought to understand the root cause of my behaviors. I started digging.

I had a long hard look into the mirror and realized I didn’t know who I was as a person. I started reading Eckhart Tolle and watching videos, then I journeyed down the road of self help gurus to find what I was missing. Over the years I created a large self help tool box to assist with my spiritual journey.

When reality set in I noticed how large my tool box of self help was however I didn’t use any of the techniques.

One day something clicked. I saw a video of a soldier talking about his kundalini awakening. I wondered what Kundalini was so I started looking for the it. I read about meditation in depth and how it can lead to a Kundalini awakening. I put that into my tool box for later. I had attempted meditation in the past and it did nothing for me so I thought it was bunk. I saw where my life was going.

After hemming and hawing and a come to Jesus moment, I gave meditation a real commitment. I started daily meditation, sometimes two a day. After about a week Things started to get weird.

Through meditation I discovered I was living as an unconscious man. I was a reactionary person, not using my own thoughts. I was only regurgitating what I read or learned. I did this automatically. I was not using my ability of critical thought. I needed to document this. I wanted to observe my emotions, feelings and actions and track them so I could find my personal baseline. I started writing down my emotions and how I was feeling, my paper was a chaotic mess, just like my mind. I could hardly follow what I was writing. I had to get this under control. I needed better organization. I committed to journaling and organization started to flow.

Through meditation and journaling, I started to uncover my true self, distinct from the programming I received during my upbringing.

How I'm Doing

Each day I plan out what my tasks are. When each task is completed I write about what was done and how I would feel about doing the work. I observe my emotions during the process of doing the work. This is looking glass into my soul. When not in observance of my emotions I continuously make meaning out of what I am doing, then my ego passes judgment. Unless I check myself I create feelings like frustration, anger, sadness, disgust or joy. This all happens automatically. This becomes an emotional roller coaster that is hard to get off of. My desire is to not get on that roller coaster. 

Journaling helps me manage the daily subtle emotions that start the autopilot of my ego. This is why I journal and why I had to find a method that works for me. I trudged through this journaling process and it is constantly evolving. 

My List Of Methods

Here is a list of journaling methods I have tried that work for me. I have blended them into an all in one method that I like. I will go into a little detail in each one and how I use it. Give them a try and see what works for you.

Mind dump or brain dump Journal

A mind or brain dump journal is just that. Get a pen and a notebook and just start writing what is on your mind. Don’t think just write. Don’t stop writing until you are done. Don’t edit anything. This your mind transmuted to words on paper. In the book “Writing down the bones” the author states it like this:

Keep your hand moving, don’t cross anything out, don’t worry about spelling, lose control, go for the jugular.

I use this method daily. I give myself ten minutes to write about whatever comes to mind or if I am stuck on something I will write about that one thing. I feel at peace and sometimes I get really motivated to do work after doing my brain dump.

Bullet Journal

The Bullet Journal Method is a popular organization system created by Ryder Carroll. It's designed to help people track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future using a simple, customizable format.”

My journaling method is bullet journaling with my own twist. I Make a bullet list then check off each item after I finish them. I don’t use the symbols that the author suggests. I check off that it is complete then explain how I was mentally while doing the work.

Food journal

If you have any health issues or are looking to get fit then a food journal can really help with the process. Tracking everything you eat will give you a path to uncover what works for you by discovering, where you are going off the rails, foods that make you feel sick and where you need to make adjustments to your specific goals. I follow a keto diet and I write down what I eat each day. I don’t count calories. I just want to know what I have eaten and if it tasted good.

Exercise Journal

When you track your workouts and give an assessment on how your energy was then you can better determine how to proceed. An exercise journal or workout log book is essential to progress in the gym, running or any physical endeavor. I track all my workouts. I list the exercise, write if it is a timed workout. List weight and reps. I will write how I was feeling during the workout such as, I was really tired or was not able to get focused on my workout. Sometimes when I am not performing well during my workout I can look back on my food log and determine that my food could have been the reason for low energy or poor focus.

After Action Report Journal

The after action report or AAR is one of the most essential parts of my personal journaling methods. The AAR is used by the military to determine if the unit met the goals of the mission. An honest AAR is about what went wrong, what went right and how to improve. This is an assessment without ego or blame. Get the facts out and make improvements. I use this to analyze my day to determine if I met my goals.

Task list Journal

Creating a task list or to do list, is a great way on how to be productive. Being organic is great for creativity. Getting into flow with your personal creativity is not a step by step process. It is chaotic. Creating order by making a task list is a great way to complete this organic creative practice. I use a task list just like a bullet journal. List what needs to be done and check them off when complete.

Prompt Journal

Prompt journaling is a great way to drill down into a particular subject to get deeper understanding or awareness. A prompt such as “Describe my perfect day” can help with defining what a perfect day for you would be like. Prompt journaling can help you get “unstuck”. It works well for me. If you are out of creative ideas you can use a prompt to help with finding details on your next creative project. A prompt like “How am I feeling?” would be a great place to start. Drill down on your emotions and feelings to see what is really going on inside. There are a  lot of real great resources on prompt journaling on the web with a lot of great ideas. I use prompt journaling with my morning mind bump. I will write out a prompt such as, “Why do you hold onto your feelings?” Then I  write whatever comes to mind. I just let it flow. 

Idea Journal

Carry something that you can write on. Bee and I walk everyday and we come up with great ideas while walking. However, we would forget what phrase or idea we had during our walk. Now we take a notepad everywhere and jot down whatever we think is a clever or great idea. I would suggest you do the same. Ideas come up when you are away from your computer or home. Carry your journal with you, a small notepad or smartphone. Being out of a walk can inspire great ideas and possibilities. 

I am a beginner at writing however I really like it. If you had asked me if I like writing three months ago I would have said NO. Since I have started my meditations my writing has increased 100%. I spend more time writing than I do in meditation. I love to write now. After a short period of time I find that I want to write more and more each day. The more I write the more I want to write. 

Try and see what works for you.

J. Jacob

Back to blog