Journaling is not a spiritual practice in itself, but it is used by people who are on a spiritual journey. Journaling is used by many all over the world, regardless of their spirituality, religion, age, or gender.
I have met many spiritual people who use journaling as a tool for clarity and for understanding themselves along their path.
The path people are on is not always straight forward or easy. People lose sight of their path and lose clarity about where their path is leading to. They discover many difficulties and struggles along the way.
They use journaling as a tool to correct themselves when needed, to understand if their ways were true to who they are or not. They use journaling to understand themselves and who they are better, and to keep learning about themselves as they go down their path and evolve.
What do you feel you need to write down? For me, I always feel that it's not necessarily about what I should write down as much as it is what I should not write down, or not focus on.
There are basic things I like to keep in mind about journaling, such as, it's not a diary. It is not something that I must do every day. It is also not a place for me to write down everything that has happened that day.
Journaling for me is the place I go to understand myself better. To make the things that are foggy and unclear in my mind, clear. For the most part, it works.
Of course, it's not a magical solution to my problems or what ever I am facing or feeling. But it is one of the best outlets. It's a place where I can just write down what ever I am feeling, with no judgment, and no worries about how it may sound.
Another important thing to not focus on is your spelling, grammar, and how what you are writing down sounds. Those things are not important. What is important is what you are writing, not how.
As for what to actually write, it depends on what you are feeling, and what brings out the most from you. For me, I like to ask myself the question, "Where am I now?". This question makes me take a step back and realize if I am stuck in the same place, or if I moved forward or backwards. From there, I ask more follow-up questions to further explore my mind, such as "Why are you still here?", "Why did you go backwards?".
These questions can get my mind, thoughts, and emotions flowing. But that is just me, everyone my have different prompts that work better for them, so it's just important to explore the different prompts, or make up ones yourself, and find what works best for you.
If it is of any interest, here is an article on this site's blog that I wrote about morning journaling. It has a list of 100 prompts to use and to get inspired from for your journaling practice: 100 Morning Journaling Prompts: The Morning Habit That Can Set You Up For A Better Day
The point of mindfulness is to bring your awareness to the present moment, and to stop focusing on the past and future.
Mindfulness practices include certain exercises that help achieve this goal, such as meditation, yoga, and being mindful during certain actions such as walking, brushing your teeth, reading, and basically any other action you perform.
To be mindful means to really pay close attention to even the small details of what is currently happening and going on. You can even be mindful while walking by focusing on how your heels feel when they hit the floor, and how your foot moves as you transition from heel to toe in each step.
You can be mindful in the gym, when lifting weights, by focusing on each muscle being activated by the exercise you are doing.
Mindfulness can be implemented in most actions you do on a daily basis, and their goal is to keep your mind in the present moment, focusing on the here and now, and preventing it from wandering off to unwanted thoughts such as the past and future.
Meditation can help with stopping bad habits because it trains you to have better control over your mind, thoughts, and desires, which means that you will be better able to break bad habits by controlling your behavior, addictions, cravings, or what ever else is causing these bad habits.
Meditation helps train you to control your mind better by increasing your ability to focus on a single thing, be it an object, thought, sound, or anything else. This is in contrast to how peoples minds usually work, which is to just wander off into thoughts, and many times, harmful thoughts. This can cause stress, anxiety, depression, and can encourage bad habits.
Being more in control of your mind will allow you to have more control over your chain of thoughts, it will allow you to prevent your mind from wandering off and thinking about things you do not want it to, which can also help keep your mind off of the bad habits, and focus on creating new, better habits.
Meditation helps teach you how to focus on a single point, for example, on your breath. By focusing on your breath, you are better able to calm your mind, which can mean less stress and anxiety.
This is because you will be focusing less on the things that cause you the stress and anxiety, and more on the things that you want, for example, the positive things in life.
For most people, this is a difficult task, since their brains are usually on autopilot, which means that their mind can focus on what ever it wants, and they have no say in it. They can try to redirect their focus, but in the end, their mind decides what to actually focus on. This is an example of how most peoples brains work, and how their mind is untrained.
Meditation teaches you to focus on certain things, such as your breath, a sensation, a sound, or other things such as objects. By creating a habit out of this and really sticking to a meditation practice, you will be taking the power from your brain, and will be better able to choose what you want to focus on, and to actually focus on it in a much easier way, without your mind going off on its own.
That is a significant way in which meditation helps with stress. People tend to feel stress about things that may happen in the future, and by overthinking these things and focusing on them, people feel even more stress. If we are able to stop this and even prevent it, much of our stress can be reduced.
Meditating first thing in the morning is a great way to ensure that you keep a consistent meditation practice, especially if you find it difficult to fit a meditation session in your schedule later on in the day.
Though, if you try meditating first thing in the morning while still feeling very tired, you may feel that you actually can't meditate because you are just too tired, and may even find yourself slightly falling asleep during the session. For some, this doesn't happen or is very minor and may even start to feel more awake during the session, for others, it may be best to walk around a little bit or to do something that will wake you up enough so that you can actually meditate.
Meditating first thing in the morning is also a great way to start your day, as you will start it with a much calmer mindset, and this can be the starting point for the rest of your day, leading to a calmer, more relaxed and mindful attitude, which can help reduce much of the stresses of the following day.
The place that helps you calm down, be centered, and focused. For some, this is a quiet and dark room or space, for others, this can be a spot in a forest. There is no specific rule or location that is best for meditation. It is up to you and what makes you feel the most comfortable, peaceful, mindful, and focused.
You can experiment with different locations, as well as meditation types. Maybe a walk in a forest or in nature will help you calm down, relax, and get into a meditative state. Or maybe finding a spot in that forest or in nature. Many people like meditating near rivers or streams, as the sound of the flowing water calms them down and eases their minds.
Try different things, different locations, see what works best for you.