Q&A: How do I journal?

Q:

"Not to ask a too-personal question, but was it hard for you to get journaling? I always find it difficult and I tend to focus on recalling negatives that happened during the day because it "feels" like I need to document my problems. I also find it hard to be motivated, whether I've had a good day, or just to pick up the pen, sometimes I just don't know what to talk about. Do you have any tips?" 

A:

For me it was never hard to start, but I’ve kept a “diary” since it was the coolest thing to have one… in elementary school! I’ve evolved this process a lot, especially these past two years as I started my career.

For a long time, my journal was a place I’d go to write out in full detail my frustrations, lacks, woes, complaints, poor choices, etc. And there is NOTHING wrong with a journal being there for that reason! Or even allowing those moments to take majority of the pages. However, it was definitely an “ah-ha” moment for me once I realized I could do more with this practice.

In contrast to how I used to write in my journal…now I sit accepting the open page and allowing it to be a tool to bring myself from a negative mental space into a positive one.

 

I’ve developed and have used different ways to do this. One of my favourite and quick ways to do this is my “Transformation Table” (definitely name it anything that suites your journaling style).

 

I draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left hand side I write in point form what is bothering me, the negative dialogue that I’m tell myself… and then for every point I make on the left side I write on the right side the opposite statement.

Ex.
I’m so terrible at finances. -----> I am decent at finances.
I am so overwhelmed and there is no one to help. -----> I am not overwhelmed  and there are always people to help.

At first, it may feel SO silly, fake and annoying to write out that right hand column. BUT, the magic starts to happen when you just keep writing and transforming those negative phrases into the annoyingly positive phrases until you start feeling lighter and better.

I usually continue transforming these sentences for a few pages or until I start to feel better and have even just the slightest shift into a more positive head space. That shift is worth every minute of doing this exercise. 

I'd love to hear how this exercise works for you!