If you’re one of my followers on Instagram, you know that I love to journal! This has many reasons, one being that I find it to be an incredibly relaxing and grounding practice and two, also experience it to be a very helpful tool to explore my inner world without creating more chaos in it. That’s why, nowadays, I journal nearly every day – depending on the current life circumstances I’m in. Sometimes I skip a couple of days, but when I do, I always kind of miss it from my routine.
How have I started my (intuitive) journaling practice?
I started my journaling practice back in September 2019 as part of a gratitude exercise I was doing at that time. This gratitude exercise was supposed to help me see more positivity in my life and create an overall more positive outlook on life itself. This mainly included writing down lists of things that I was grateful each day for a time span of four weeks into a journal or diary.
After the second week of writing down my gratitude lists, I felt like it wasn’t doing much for me. I felt the strong need to write down more than that, which made me eventually expand the exercise. So, I also started to write down what made me feel a certain way each day after finishing the daily gratitude lists to challenge myself into seeing more positivity in my mundane daily life.
I quickly realized that writing down what was bothering me and challenging myself into seeing more positive in it, helped me so much more than counting down lists of things that I was supposed to be grateful for. Taking it into this direction also made me so much more aware of my own emotions (and my behavior) and allowed me to see them from an objective perspective. A new perspective that taught me that nothing was “only bad” or “only good” and freed me from seeing everything in either black or white.
Since then, my way of journaling has much evolved. I tried many different things and eventually decided on using mostly my intuition whenever I felt the need to journal about anything – and this didn’t change to this day, even though I sometimes feel inspired to try out new techniques every once in a while.
How can you start your own intuitive journaling practice?
I refer to my journaling practice as an “intuitive journaling practice”, because whenever I choose to journal I’m always guided by my own intuition. That’s why I also don’t follow a particular set of rules. Still, there are specific steps I intuitively take that makes it easier for me to write down on paper what’s going in my head or my heart at that moment. These steps aren’t rules and often vary from situation to situation. The most essential part of my practice aren’t rules or guidelines, it’s being able to let yourself be guided by your intuition.
But don’t worry if that is something you struggle with right now! As an introvert, you’re naturally more in tune with your intuition, and with regular journaling practice, you become more intuitive with each time. It might take a little patience, but I’m sure you will get to it at some point in your journaling practice.
My intuitive journaling guidelines
As I said, I don’t really have a of set rules I follow when I journal.
- There are no set number of pages I write each day.
- I don’t even have to journal each day.
- And I most certainly don’t set a timer for when I journal.
What makes a huge part of my practice – as already stated – is it being 99% intuitive.
What does that mean? It means that I listen to my body and my heart – very closely and carefully.
Normally, whenever I feel this tickle in my fingers that makes me aware of something inside of me that is causing any kind of trouble or pain in that moment, I don’t hesitate. I will instantly pull out my journal and intuitively ask myself:
“How are you feeling right now?”
And that’s where I begin to just start writing. I will pour out my heart into my journal until I feel a barrier. A barrier that shows me that I either said everything I wanted to say or that there is something else bugging me, that I haven’t noticed or acknowledged yet.
Often, you will experience a lack of relief when you start to face a barrier. Whenever this happens, I tend to dive a little deeper by asking myself the following question:
“Why is this making you feel this way?”
After asking this question, I usually write at least one more page until I feel as if all the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes this step is the most important, especially if there has been something I have been really struggling with but tried my best to just ignore it. (Huge mistake, by the way!)
To end my journaling entry on a positive note, I often finish off with this last question:
“Can I see something positive in all this?”
This helps me not to dive too deep into the negative aspects of a situation and also trains my brain to actively break through negative thought patterns. This has been incredibly helpful for my mental health in general and encouraged me to establish a more positive outlook on my life as well.
And that’s basically it. This sounds like a very simple concept if you ask me, but for a beginner, this can be quite overwhelming. At least it was for me when I first started!
The most challenging thing for me was writing down my raw thoughts and feelings as they come out of me without a filter or sugarcoating them.
What helped me a lot to prevent that from happening was to forget all about grammar and punctuation rules the minute I open the first page of my journal. Letting go of these rules helps you to let go of anything else that has the potential to hold you back from opening up during your journaling practice and is very effective!
I completely understand if that doesn’t feel right to you right now! But keep in mind, your journal is your private space. Nobody will ever see what you write into it. So, don’t restrict your intuition by trying to follow rules that aren’t necessary for you to articulate your thoughts and bring your emotions onto paper.
Summary: My journaling guideline…
- Always start with listening to your heart. Ask yourself: “How am I really feeling right now?”
- Facing a barrier? Dive deeper by asking yourself: “Why is this making you feel this way?”
- If you want, you can end your journal entries on a positive note by asking: “Can you see something positive in this situation?”
- Beginner tip: Forget grammar and punctuation rules when journaling!
Interview with Whitney Barkman – Creator of “Pages, A Journal Guide”:
I’m not the only introvert who loves journaling! That’s why I invited Whitney Barkman – introvert, inspiring soul and journaling expert – to answer some questions for you guys! The insights you get from this interview are extremly valuable – especially if you’re still contemplating if journaling would be in any way helpful to you.
Whitney also just recently launched her own Journal Guide! A 30-day guide that is perfect to get started with journaling and contains daily prompts to work with for more self-awareness, healing and growth as an introvert! Click here to take a look & get yourself a copy!
1.What made you start your own journaling practice?
I’ve kept a diary of sorts all my life, but I started a more consistent and transformative journaling practice when I was struggling through a period of rock bottom in 2015. I needed a safe place to vent, explore my feelings, figure out what I wanted for my life, and a journal ended up being the most supportive place to do it. I was able to open up and discover myself in ways that I would never have been able to do any other way.
As an introvert, I’ve always had a busy mind, and often an anxious one as well. I am no stranger to overthinking and constant rumination and worry. At the lowest point in my life, I was overwhelmed with emotion and confusion, and I knew I needed an outlet for release and to find clarity. Journaling seemed an obvious choice as I preferred writing over speaking to other people.
While I did go through counseling for a few months during this period, I found more safety, more healing, and more transformation come through my journal. It became my therapy and it’s a practice I’ll always continue using to support my well-being and growth.
2. Do you think every introvert should implement journaling into their daily routine? If so, why?
100%. Journaling for introverts is probably one of the most impactful ways to support growth, self-awareness, and healing. Introverts are quiet and our minds are busy and sometimes overwhelming, and a journal is a place to sort through the noise and untangle the constant stream of thoughts.
Whether every day ends up being transformative or not, the simple act of setting time aside to connect with yourself is hugely powerful and life-changing. It supports the creation of a strong relationship with yourself.
I’m quite certain that many introverts grew up similar to myself; feeling different and then somehow wrong that we were different. I developed many patterns and habits and inner wounds from my time growing up, simply because I didn’t fit in with the extroverted mold that society idealizes. A daily journal practice has helped me uncover these issues, transform and heal countless inner wounds, and step into the authentic, confident introvert I am today. And I am also confident in its ability to do the same for others if they need that support and healing.
For an introvert, who maybe doesn’t love talking to people, and especially isn’t comfortable opening up vulnerably to another, a journal can be a trusted and safe space.
3. How has journaling helped you in your day-to-day life?
I cannot even begin to express the impact journaling has made on me, both on and off the pages. What began as a simple place to vent what I couldn’t say out loud, led to an incredible journey of self-discovery and self-connection.
I know myself better than I ever have before, and I owe that to journaling. I am connected to my inner guidance and wisdom more than I ever have been before, and I owe that to journaling. I am confident in who I am, what I offer, and what I’m creating in this world, and I owe so much of that again, to journaling.
Because this has been a consistent practice of mine for years now, I find the self-soothing and self-questioning I do on the page overflows into daily life. When I feel triggered, upset, or unsettled during my day, I can pause and ask myself questions as I would in my journal. I can nurture and calm myself as I would in my journal. Except it happens automatically within my mind now, and this has led me to feel generally calmer, settled, and more confident consistently.
The practice has also increased my self-awareness by leaps and bounds. I am aware when I’m acting out a pattern that’s stemmed from an old wound or incident, I’m aware when I act in a way that I’d like to let go of. And awareness is one of the first steps to changing things within yourself.
4. What inspired you to create your journal guide?
I created the Pages Journal Guide from my overflowing love for this practice. I truly cannot say enough about journaling and the potential it has to facilitate one’s growth. I only have to reflect on who I was when I started journaling to be reminded of the depth of healing I’ve experienced throughout the hundreds of pages I’ve written.
I understand the struggles introverts often go through; the difficulty we have in accepting who we are, the stress we experience by trying to fit the mold of how we’re ‘supposed’ to show up, the overwhelming feelings of us somehow being in the wrong. I created this journal guide in hopes that it can provide a framework, a light to guide introverts home to themselves and heal long-held wounds. Too often, we look outside of ourselves for guidance, for direction – this guide is meant to start the habit of trusting our own path.
I believe the more we trust our worthiness, our authenticity, our uniqueness – the more we thrive and live lives we’re truly happy and content with. Introverts have so much to offer, and I think we need more who are confident in who they are and show up unapologetically.
THANK YOU very much for answering these questions and for giving us this very personal insight into your own experience with journaling!
I hope you found this blog post interesting and helpful. If you have any further questions or want to share your experiences with journaling with us, feel free to write a comment under this post. 🙂
You wan to know more about pursuing a mindful lifestyle? >> Check out my blog post to learn “how to start your own meditation practice”.
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