The magic of free flow journaling
When you allow yourself permission to fully relax your mind, do you find that you can for a brief period of time but then the gremlin of doubt creeps in and shouts even louder than before?
My personal experience of this is that all of a sudden all the "what ifs" start flowing in, I worry about what I might have overlooked in the week, or worry about the week ahead and not being prepared. It's like a bit knot in my head with no obvious thread to pull on to start unravelling it. It's just a lot of noise and chaos with no clear solution.
When I feel like this, my go-to solution is free flow journaling. This is about picking up your journal, just starting to write and seeing where it takes you. It requires you to be present and still in your body because you need to listen and intuitively work out where you need to go next.
Write whatever comes up for you, even if it doesn't make sense, even if the topics you are writing about seem unrelated, just go with it. Sometimes what we think should happen, or what we think should come up as a result of journaling is not what we need to explore at all, so let your unconscious mind and your intuition lead the way.
Free flow journaling isn't about having a plan, a structure, or a set of pre-defined journaling questions. It's about trusting that what needs to come up will come up. Your unconscious mind is very wise and knows exactly what you need to write about and explore. Know that you are safe. Your unconscious mind will never bring up more than you are able to handle. If something emerges that's uncomfortable or upsetting, it has come up for a reason. It might help to reach out to a friend or your coach if you have one and ask for a friendly ear.
What's going to emerge at some point in this free flow writing experience is the gold - the thing that you just know is what you needed to bring your awareness to, but it might not have been obvious at the beginning. You will know when you have found it. For me, I know I have found it when that knot in my head begins to loosen and unravel.
Here are my four top tips on making the most of your free flow journaling experience:
Top Tip 1: Let the words come out without judgement
Even if the words that come out initially don't feel like the truest representation of what it is you're trying to express, write them anyway. They are taking you somewhere.
Top Tip 2: Let this be your safe space
The journaling space isn't somewhere you need to bring the idea of perfection or self-judgement. It's a place to authentically express yourself in the way that you need to, in the way that is right for you.
Top Tip 3: Reflect on your journey
Once you've finished your free flow journaling session, look back on what you have written. Notice the journey you just went on, the twists and turns, the "aha" moments and moments of clarity. This is the magic of this style of journaling.
Top Tip 4: Let it breathe...
You don't have to leave your free flow journaling session with a plan of action. Many of us are "doers" but you don't need to DO much to integrate the clarity and insight you've gained. Over the coming days, let this insight and clarity evolve and expand in the way it needs to. A lot of personal change work happens on an unconscious level. Even if you think nothing has happened, I can tell you it most definitely has!