Written by Alyssa Kuzins
Journaling is one of the most underused, underrated secret sauces of the self development community.
In a sea of self care, self help tools and practices, it flies under the radar.
Well, that’s my humble opinion, but I also happen to be the creator of The Journal Deck - a 52 card deck that blends the concept of oracle cards with journal prompts: Tune in. Pull a prompt card. Write in your journal. It's that simple. But these aren’t simple, surface layer questions, these are deeper. They are questions like, “What does living in alignment look like to you?” Questions that we aren’t necessarily asking ourselves on the daily, let alone asking others.
Yet, these soulful, introspective prompts are the kinds of questions that help us live more fulfilling lives where we understand ourselves on a deeper level. And from that place of understanding, we’re better, happier people who go out and do good in the world.
To be frank, journaling is not as “shiny” as going to a yoga class or trying out that cool Kundalini meditation class. Now, I’m a vinyasa yoga instructor and I’ve even gone to a Kundalini immersion weekend training, so this is NOT me hating on the benefits and value of yoga or meditation. They’ve shifted my life dramatically, and I am beyond grateful for them on a daily basis. But, I believe that due to the basic premise of journaling, it’s not seen as exciting and definitely not as Instagram worthy.
Think about it. Journaling isn’t generally done with others in a class. It’s introspective work with just you and your journal, asking at times tough questions and spewing out all your inner thoughts. Similarly, this is also why meditation is hard for so many, because it’s you, your monkey mind, and that inner critic that likes to put its two sense in. Except with journaling we get to put those internal thoughts onto a piece of paper. In some ways, that makes them even more real and perhaps more beneficial for some. This act of writing airs them out; like a wound that needs to breath.
Whereas in yoga, while the teacher might inspire you to release and let go of whatever is on your mind by moving it out, you aren’t necessarily sitting there mulling it over (hopefully) because you’re literally moving through asana. Same with meditation, the idea is to breath through the thoughts. Yet with journaling, I’m literally asking you to sit there and analyze and dissect deep questions. So while yoga, meditation and journaling are all forms of introspection, it seems that journaling is the most upfront and for some people, abrasive forms with its direct nature.
Perhaps because of all of this, as a yoga and meditation teacher, and the creator of The Journal Deck, I can tell you that a larger portion of folks are more likely to engage in say, yoga, than they are journaling. I always hear the same things, “I don’t know what to write,” “I don’t know how long to write,” “I can’t seem to make the habit stick,” “It’s hard to be alone with your thoughts,” “I feel silly.”
Here’s the good news, there is no wrong or right way to journal. It’s a private conversation between you and your journal. Less pressure, yeah? And bonus, The Journal Deck provides prompts to inspire your self-discovery and healing journey.
Do any quick google search and you’ll find tons of research and articles on the benefits of yoga and meditation, such as boosting immunity, self-awareness and aiding in stress, anxiety and depression to name a few.
And while the studies and articles on journaling are more seldom, there are leaders out there such as Pennebaker, Pucrell, and Lieberman who have found similar, if not nearly the same benefits, as yoga and meditation!
So yes, journaling isn’t as “shiny” as putting on a pair of new yoga pants or taking a cute pic of you and your bright pink health smoothie, but as cliche as it sounds, I promise journaling will make you shine from the inside out!
Interested in going deeper on the health benefits of journaling? I’m leading a free talk as part of the Sunday School Series at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 14. This is followed by a workshop on the relationship between embodying feminine energy and journaling using the Goddess Edition Journal Deck at 2:00 p.m.