It is scientifically proven that regular meditation practice improves your overall mental health and wellbeing.
Hence more and more individuals decide to give meditation a go in hope of enjoying all its benefits.
Yet meditation is not easy. It is hard to start and especially commit to.
That's why using a meditation journal can be very helpful (not to say essential!) to anchor the practice in your daily routine and be more mindful of every aspects of your experience (…we are also talking from personal experience here, if you want to discover our full story and personal journey click here!).
Hereafter are 8 reasons why you should incorporate journaling into your meditation practice and keep a meditation journal, and how it will transform your life for the better…and the mindful!
....If you don’t have time to read this article right now, head to the very end of this page to find a little sum up with the main points we develop in this blog post (of course we still advise you to read our article in full to get a deeper understanding!).
1. Visualise your meditation practice
Meditation is an abstract practice where you only "feel" the benefits not see them.
Unlike other practices like sport or cooking, where you see rewarding changes on your body or appetising dishes on the table, meditation does not allow one to see or comprehend the results...since they only appear in your mind and via your emotions and thoughts. Benefits remain abstract.
Thus due to this lack of concrete evidence it can be harder to stick to this practice and stay motivated to meditate the next day…
That’s why keeping a meditation journal is a great help to meditate daily and keep track of your achievements and progress.
It will bring some solid and practical elements to your meditation practice, allowing you to visualise your evolution and look at your effort and realisation via each page you fill in.
Hence writing down your experiences and thoughts before and after meditating in a dedicated diary will be the "tangible" proof which will keep you motivated and proud of your consistency and progress.
2. Combine the “power of handwriting” to meditation
Keeping a meditation journal, via a simple notebook or dedicated meditation journal (you can click here to see an example) also means going back to the good old “pen & paper”, which benefits are great…!
Did you know (or notice) that using a pen is already a way to connect to the present moment and slow down?
Writing also helps to fully engage with your thoughts and makes it easier to empty your mind.
Not to mention using a physical journal is also a way to avoid unwanted distractions which can emanate from technology and online journaling app…
For all these reasons (hand)writing in a meditation journal is a great habit and an excellent way to start your meditation practice, as it helps you to connect faster and easier.
3. Experience “instant gratification” with each completed page
As we said above, meditation remains an abstract practice and you can’t easily visualise the results.
Yet when you use a meditation diary, you manage to see the outcome as you fill in one page or answer meditation prompts for each meditation you do.
Thus each page filled in or guided meditation questions answered will give you extra satisfaction, because hey, who has never felt that sense of fulfilment with a completed page in a journal...?!
It is an additional little “trick” for your mind. On top of feeling the benefits after your session you’ll be able to appreciate your observations. This will bring you pride and will encourage you to meditate again.
4. Use your meditation journal as a “real life” reminder
As the famous expression says, "out of sight out of mind"…and that’s a reoccurring theme when it comes to meditation, because there is nothing to “keep in sight” (due to its abstract nature)!
Therefore how can you place it within your vision, so it helps to keep it in mind and thus encourage you to practice regularly?
Well that’s exactly where a meditation notebook can be so useful. Placed in the right location your journal will become a physical reminder which will kindly recall you to meditate, day after day.
You can also associate your journal to what is called “an anchor habit”. An anchor habit is something that is already part of your routine, (for instance pouring a cup of tea in the morning, brushing your teeth before going to bed etc.).
Pick a strong habit that you already do daily and decide to meditate just before or after performing this routine, so your brain incorporates that new habit more easily and reduce the risk of forgetting about it.
Then make sure you place your meditation journal close by this anchor habit (by your cup of tea, next to your toothbrush…) so it’s really effortless and easy to meditate afterwards.
Finally, to make it even more eye catching, try to pick a nice meditation journal, with a design that you like or which cover stands out. You can check out The Meditation Diary as an example, its silver linen cover gently reflects light so you can never forget about it.
5. Turn your autopilot off with pre-meditation prompts
Using a notebook before you start your meditation practice is a great help to slow down, to take the time to pause and question yourself about how you feel.
It is an excellent way to “check-in with yourself”, and identify your emotions in the present moment.
Hence journaling before meditation helps you to be mindful and aware of your state of mind, it pushes you to turn off your "autopilot setting". It’s a mindful moment with yourself before you start meditating.
You can just let yourself freely write about what is in your mind at that moment or answer easy prompts to guide you and prepare you to meditate. For instance the journal The Meditation Diary gives you 3 pre-meditation prompts to write about to help you slow down and be mindful of how you feel before practicing.
Writing down how you feel before meditating is also very useful to find over time any correlation or pattern between the way you feel and your meditation experience.
It can give you clues on when is the best time for you to practice meditation in order to get the most of your session.
6. Put down your intentions on paper before you meditate
Before you start your meditation session it is important to be aware of your "intentions", to know and understand the reasons that push you to meditate.
If you dedicate personal time in your busy day for meditation, you most likely know the reason (or reasons) to do so; is it the need to be fully present in your daily life? Or would you like to manage and reduce your anxiety? Or maybe you feel the need to (re)connect to your inner voice, get back to your true self? There could be many reasons, they are of course personal and could also vary from time to time!
When you are not fully aware of why you want to create a meditation habit and what is the “personal need” you want to fulfil, your chances of skipping a meditation session or even giving up will increase dramatically.
That’s why knowing and reaffirming on paper the purpose and reasons behind why you started meditation will keep you motivated and be a booster for those days when you don’t feel like it.
(…Because yes there will be days where you would rather watch that new episode on Netflix than dedicate 10 or 20 minutes to your self-care routine!).
Also defining these internal "needs" and goals prior meditation will then help you engage with them more easily.
7. Be fully aware of the benefits to reinforce your meditation habit
After completing a meditation session make sure you write down your experience straight away, like a “thought download”.
Indeed journaling after meditation is a great way to gently close your session and transition back to the “real world”, so you don’t return too abruptly to your daily occupations, which could affect the benefits you got from your session.
Putting on paper your thoughts is also an excellent opportunity to reflect on your session and gain mind clarity from it. It will help you to be fully aware of how you feel after your mindful practice as well as what you get from it.
By writing down the benefits it brings you, you appreciate the benefits of your mindful practice even more.
This "journaling follow-up" will thus bring you extra motivation. Being fully aware and grateful of the positives it provides will keep you meditating consistently. That will be a way to reinforce the "why" you meditate too...it's a virtuous circle!
8. Follow your progress thanks to a structured meditation journal
Last but not least, having a meditation notebook which contains all your meditation notes in a chronological manner is an excellent way to follow and realise your progress.
You can thus use it to see how you were feeling when you first started meditating, what benefits and insights you were getting in a certain moments in time, what type of reflections were coming to your mind while meditating…and also analyse what your "ideal meditation situation" is based on the logs (what time, place, tools or practice used bring you the best results and insights).
Hence keeping a meditation journal allows you to get some very insightful information that you may not have been able to identify nor capture without taking the time to reflect on it on paper.
To sum up…
For all the reasons above, it is highly recommended to pair your meditation practice to journaling and keep a meditation journal, that you would use before but also after your session.
Of course you could also use any blank page but it remains better to consign all your thoughts in a same and unique notebook to facilitate the follow-up of your meditation progress.
Try also to pick a journal which you enjoy writing in; the format, the cover and paper quality are important details to keep in mind, these will encourage you to use your diary and meditate more.
Last piece of advice; if your new to meditation, if starting a blank journal sounds a little bit overwhelming or if you simply feel that bringing structure to your meditation session and thoughts could be very beneficial, then why not following meditation prompts.
You can check out The Meditation Diary as an example, our journal is fully dedicated to the practice of meditation and contains daily structured templates with easy prompts to answer. A great help to make meditation part of your routine!
Key points to remember:
Keeping a meditation diary and writing your thoughts before but also after your session will help you stay consistent in your practice and create a routine.
This is due to the combination of four powerful mechanisms, which are:
- the visualisation of your practice (and so of your achievements),
- the powerful impact of handwriting (instead of the use of an app or technology to record your thoughts)
- the instant gratification procured by the sight of all your thoughts on paper,
- the “real life” reminder that your mindful journal will give you when placed in the right location
Furthermore, not only keeping a meditation journal allows you to stay consistent in your practice, but it will also help you to question yourself so you get more mind clarity, insights and benefits from your practice:
- it is a way to turn your autopilot off and understand “how you feel”,
- it allows you to set your intentions and know “why you meditate”, bringing you closer to your goals,
- identifying the benefits gained from your meditation routine will also reinforce your motivation and keep your consistent,
- and of course via all your notes and insights on paper it allows to follow your progress.
Click here to see The Meditation Diary, a meditation journal which will help you incorporate journaling into your meditation practice.