Journaling as a Practice in Mindfulness

Journaling and MeditationJournaling is often compared to the habit of meditation. Many journal-writers report receiving the same benefits as those who practice meditation on a regular basis: Stress relief, an increased ability to focus, self-understanding, awareness of inner dialogue, and clarity of thought, to name a few. Here’s a simple exercise you can try as a journaling meditation:

  1. Start by opening to a fresh clean page in your journal. While taking a deep breath to begin, take a moment to notice and appreciate the empty page.
  2. Rest the tip of your pen onto the page, and select a simple first word or phrase to become a focus during your meditation. Write the word(s) slowly.
  3. Allow your pen to move gently; watch the ink get absorbed onto the page. While you continue selecting thoughts or phrases, don’t worry if they are not full sentences. Simply allow yourself to drop your thoughts, one phrase at a time, as if they are being caught in a net.
  4. If there is a pause, or a moment between words, take the opportunity to reconnect with your breath. Notice your inhale and exhale. Let your attention rest on the tip of your pen, allowing it to pull out the next word for you. Allow your pen to move, as if holding the cursor of a Ouija board, channeling wisdom from you inner spirit.

There are times when journaling can be soothing and relaxing. Just as journaling can raise new ideas and creativity, it can also be used to quiet the mind. Instead of only focusing our journal-writing on all the chatter in our heads, an exercise like this one can help to move into a calm state. Sometimes poetry will leak onto the page using this technique.

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