How to Use Stream Of Consciousness Writing to Clear Your Mind
Does this sound familiar:
You wake up and have thoughts, worries, questions, and to do lists swirling through your head all at once?
That's often how I feel in the mornings. On some days it isn't a big deal but, on other days, it can be overwhelming.
I've tried a variety of things to help with this, but over time I've found one thing that feels easy to do, doesn't take a lot of time, and doesn't require a specific book or app or anything:
Stream of consciousness writing.
How to Use Stream Of Consciousness Writing to Clear Your Mind
Today I want to share with you how I use stream of consciousness journaling to get all of the questions, and thoughts, and worries, and feelings out of my head onto paper, so I can move on with the rest of my day. Now one of the best things about this is that you don't need an app, or a specific journal, or anything really to do this except a pen and paper. And that means you can just do it today right after watching this video.
What is stream of consciousness journaling, and how do I actually use it to help clear my mind?
Basically, I just sit down with a piece of paper. I use the same Moleskine Journal everyday.
It's kind of nice for me to have a dedicated space for all of my stream of consciousness journaling.
But you could just use a random piece of paper, or a journal you already have. But I just sit down with this journal, and basically write out whatever is in my head.
The key is to not second guess anything you're writing, and really not force the process. I typically sit there with a five minute timer, and just start writing. And it's kind of funny, sometimes the first things I start writing, especially when I first started doing this, was "I don't know what to say," or, "This was a great morning," or, "Wow, I slept in today." Or you know, whatever is top of mind, but it very quickly opens up as you start journaling. You'll be pretty surprised, I usually am with what comes out. And the key again is just let it happen, let it flow. Don't question anything before you write it. Just literally write it all down stream of consciousness style on this piece of paper, or in your journal.
It's funny, once I started doing stream of consciousness journaling, I find that every day is a little different. Sometimes, I end up answering a question, and feeling relief. Sometimes, I just pour out emotions that I was holding inside, and not even recognizing, or acknowledging, or addressing, and really bringing those to the forefront so I can be aware of them. If I can't even talk myself through that feeling, at least I can be aware of it for the rest of the day. Or maybe I even sometimes jot some notes about some things I need to do today. Especially, those days when you wake up and you feel like you have 100 things to do. I find that sometimes just using this time to just list it all out really helps me clear my mind 'cause that's ultimately the goal here. Whatever you need on that individual day, there is no wrong way to do this. Just set that timer, and write for the full length of time, and let it come out, and just see what happens.
And no matter what I ended up writing about that day, or how long I ended up writing for, or even where I was writing, I always feel a sense of relief and clarity at the end of the journaling session. And that is I think why this habit has been so easy for me to do every day, even on the weekends because I do feel physically, and mentally different after I take the time to do it.
What are 3 things I’m grateful for?
Now after I'm done stream of consciousness journaling, I do kind of wrap this up in a nice little bow. Because like I said you never know what you're going to uncover, and I do like to end things on a bit more of a positive and encouraging note for myself. No matter how much, or how long I've written, I will list out three things that I'm grateful for. And sometimes some of them are the same. Like, I might say my husband, or my best friend, or a teammate a few different times. But I will also try to pick out something that I haven't maybe recognized my gratefulness for.
I work from home, and a lot of times it's the internet, which sounds silly. But I couldn't do what I do without the internet. And if you've ever had a day where your internet is slow, or goes down, you can be grateful for it. So, sometimes it's the internet, sometimes it's today. Sometimes it's the sun. Sometimes it's my apartment. It can be anything, but I like to list out three things I'm grateful for. And I literally number one, two, three, "I'm grateful for blank."
Sometimes when you're journaling you might be frustrated, or you might be stressed out. Hopefully, you feel that same sense of clarity at the end. But I do feel like kind of acknowledging at the end things you're grateful for really helps kind of shift the perspective for you before you start your day, especially if you do this in the morning like I do, or even before bed.
What affirmations do I need to hear today?
And then at the end I like to do affirmations. And I know that might sound a little woo-woo to some of you if you've never started doing affirmations. I find that my affirmations are different every day, and they're usually very reflective of what I have been writing. For example, if I was journaling about something that was happening. Maybe an important meeting later in the day that I was feeling a little insecure or nervous about, I will often write an affirmation directly contradictory to that fear I had. If I was feeling a lack of confidence, I would say, "I'm confident. I'm great at leading meetings. I'm a natural decision maker. I have authority. I'm a great COO." Anything like that. And so there are are a few that probably repeat themselves a lot. I have a lot of fear when it comes to what people think about me, and so I'll often say, "I'm enough. I am confident. I am worthy." Those are ones that I tend to say quite a bit, but really whatever comes to mind
And it's kind of just this like internal pep talk. And I again feel so different when I do it. If you've never written down affirmations to yourself, I highly encourage you to do it. I typically just say, "I'm ..." Or, "I am," if you want. "I am blank." And I just list them out in a row, as like a big old paragraph. And some days, it's two or three sentences. And other days, or two or three lines. Other days, it's half the page. And you really just get into a flow, and once you start to feel the impact of those words on your own mental state, then it really becomes this powerful thing that can really transform your attitude, and your confidence in yourself, in your abilities, and make you feel really good about the day.
I often find myself feeling a lot more secure in all of the feelings that I had in that morning of insecurity, or fear, or nervousness, or worry, or anxiety. Through the process of journaling, being grateful, and affirming myself, it all goes away, and I can sit down and start my day, and just feel so clear and confident. That has been so helpful for me.
When do I journal?
And this is usually something I do first thing in the morning. I'll get up, I'll rinse my face, and I will sit down in my dining room, and fill this out. And I actually always leave this out in the dining room, and it's kind of also a visual cue for me to do it, even on days where I'm busy. This is always sitting out there with a pen. And I will just sit down, and set a little timer, and whip it out.
I like to do it in the morning. I have talked to some friends that do this now, and they have been doing it in the evenings before bed as well. Really make this your own. I definitely think that it's a great thing to have in your routine in the morning to start the day. But definitely feel like it's something you can use throughout the day, or before bed. If you find yourself a little crazy midday, or your mind is just racing before bed, definitely think you should feel free to use this at anytime. You can kind of look at this as a little lifeboat when your brain just feels a little overwhelmed. That's what I do, but I definitely do it every single morning, if not at other times of the day.
Ready to try stream of consciousness writing?
If you're interested in doing some stream of conscious journaling, and following kind of this three part format that I use in the morning. You can download a free printable that I've made for you, that will just kind of get you started, and give you this framework, so that you can just sit down, and whip this out really quickly.
Do you currently do any kind of journaling?
Do you do stream of consciousness journaling? Some people call it morning pages. And if you use my free printable, I'd also love to hear from you how it felt, and what you learned from it. Let me know in the comments below!
✅Moleskin Journal: https://amzn.to/2Nc94U9 (affiliate link)
✅My Favorite Pens: https://amzn.to/2x7merk (affiliate link)
✅Free Journaling Printable: bit.ly/journalingworksheet
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