There are many reasons to journal in the morning, but I think the best one is to start your day off emotionally right. I didn’t love this strategy and tried it a bunch of times but it never stuck with me. My friend told me she tried it and it made her calmer, so I decided if it works for her it may work for me if I give it some effort.
It’s been a few weeks now, and I already notice a difference. My main reason for not loving this idea is the time in the morning. I’m very rushed. The alternative? Wake up 15 minutes earlier. The benefits of taking the time to journal are worth the 15 minutes of lost sleep. It’ll be hard at first, and you can skip some days, but once it’s a routine you’ll be used to it.
There are two ways to do a morning journal: no structure or some structure.
No structure: This is probably the best way to do your morning journal. Just write down whatever comes to mind. This works for most people, but for me I like organization.
Structure: Because you should just be dumping your thoughts on paper, I try not to structure the journal too much. But I need some structure because some mornings I don’t know what to write and need some prompts. I use prompts such as goals for the day, what I’m grateful for, and thoughts/worries.
This is an example of what my journal looks like:
Goals for the day: to relax and watch a movie. (Your goal can be as simple as watching a movie, or as big as preparing an entire thanksgiving dinner. Early in my recovery, I would have goals as small as get out of bed.)
What I’m thankful for: I try to write at least 3 things, and some days I’m grateful for more. They can be as small as a warm cup of tea on a cold day, or as big as getting a promotion at work.
Thoughts/Worries: This is where I let my brain dump onto paper. I write down whatever on my mind and whatever I’m worried about. At the end of the dump, I’ll cross out worries that are unproductive to get worked up about, such as what people think of me. I find listing your thoughts in bullet points helpful.
I’ve learnt from this experience that starting your day write, whether you journal, do yoga, meditate, can really make a difference on your mindset for the day. Thinking about the positive and having a goal for the day become your focus, instead of your worries.
What does your morning routine include to start a good day?