The magic of free flow journaling

Updated: Jun 8

Something interesting happened this weekend. I gave myself permission to relax and reset my brain ready for the new week ahead, but after just one day of pure relaxation my doubt gremlin began speaking a little louder than usual - does this sound familiar to you? I was drawn to pick up my journal and write about what was coming up because it wasn't clear. I just felt like there was a knot in my head, but I couldn't see the loose thread to pull on to unravel it. 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. Even if you are expressing thoughts about a particular topic but you intuitively move on to something that seems completely unrelated - 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. It's likely that some people will feel resistance to doing this. Some people like to have a plan; some sense of certainty about what they're going to write about and where it might go. If this happens for you, know that it is just your mind attempting to keep you safe from the unknown. 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 knew I'd hit the spot when the knot in my mind that I'd started the free flow journaling session with had unravelled.

Here are my four top tips on making the most of your free flow journaling experience:

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.

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.

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.

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!

Rachael Paul

Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

Simply Veterinary Coaching

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