Whatever your background, mindfulness meditation is accessible to everyone.
But have you ever kept a guided meditation journal — or any kind of meditation journal?
What does writing have to do with meditation, anyway?
Doesn’t writing have to do with thinking?
And aren’t you supposed to have a quiet mind to reap the benefits of meditation?
As you’ll see further on with our meditation journaling examples, writing and meditation are more alike than you might think.
- What is meditative journaling?
- What do you write in a meditation journal?
- How do you meditate through journaling?
- Should I meditate or journal first?
- 15 Ideas For Mindful Writing And Meditation Journaling
- 1. Schedule Your Meditation Commitment.
- 2. Get Into the Present Moment.
- 3. Make Mindful Observations of Your Surroundings.
- 4. Take a Moment to Breathe First
- 5. Let Go of Your Need to Do Things Perfectly.
- 6. Visualize Yourself Writing without Any Blocks.
- 7. Accept Your Passing Thoughts without Judgment.
- 8. Write Down the Persistent Ones.
- 9. Let Them Go.
- 10. Return to Your Primary Focus (in this case, writing).
- 11. Alternative: Take Time before Meditation to List Out Your Thoughts.
- 12. Use Writing Prompts.
- 13. Write Down Your Thoughts As They Come.
- 14. Read What You’ve Written.
- 15. Finish with Some Mindful Breathing.
What is meditative journaling?
What do you write in a meditation journal?
Mindfulness meditation increases your awareness of the present moment. Since writing down your observations helps you make sense of them—that’s what you’ll be doing with your meditation journal.
How do you meditate through journaling?
When you take deep breaths, you first inhale to take in the air. Then you slowly exhale to release the air your body has processed. With writing, think of your mindful observations as inhalations and your writing as the natural product of your mind’s processing of them.
Should I meditate or journal first?
It’s best to get into a meditative or mindful state before you start writing. It’s easier to practice awareness of the present moment when you make a conscious decision to do so. As your awareness grows, you can write down whatever you’re noticing right then.
15 Ideas For Mindful Writing And Meditation Journaling
Now that you have a better idea of what meditative journaling is, look through the following ideas for making the most of it. Some may already be familiar to you.
1. Schedule Your Meditation Commitment.
Once you add meditation to your schedule for the day, it’s harder to justify skipping it. And planning your meditation for a specific time makes it easier to remember. Set a reminder for yourself to prepare. Find a comfortable spot and gather your notebook and pen.
You don’t have to spend a fixed amount of time in meditation unless you want to. For now, focus on building the meditation habit—one day at a time.
2. Get Into the Present Moment.
Make a conscious decision to focus on what’s going on in and around you right now. Thoughts on the past and future will no doubt try to creep into your thought processes. Don’t worry about them.
Let them float on by unless they’re somehow connected to the present moment, and you’d like to include them. Those thoughts are more likely to persist, anyway.
3. Make Mindful Observations of Your Surroundings.
Look at your surroundings with fresh eyes, as if you were experiencing it for the first time. Run through your senses and see how many things you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Try to get the fullest picture of your immediate environment.
Allow your inner world to interact with your outer one, making connections and adding depth to your awareness. What details stand out for you the most?
4. Take a Moment to Breathe First
Before you pick up your pen (or pencil), take a few minutes just to breathe slowly and deeply. Allow your body to relax and release any tension you’re feeling. If you prefer, play some music to help you set the mood.
This is you taking a moment to remind yourself to breathe. Don’t worry about counting to match a specific breathing pattern unless you know one that helps you relax.
5. Let Go of Your Need to Do Things Perfectly.
If anything can teach you that you don’t have to do it perfectly to benefit from sticking with it, meditation can. If you can breathe and pay attention, even briefly, to your surroundings and jot down your thoughts, you can do this.
Some days, a few minutes might be all you can do. If nothing else, take a minute for some slow, deep breaths while you take a brief but mindful inventory of your surroundings.
6. Visualize Yourself Writing without Any Blocks.
Once you create a mental image of writing without any difficulty, it’s easier to see that it’s possible to achieve that state. Even better if you can recall a time when you wrote easily and with a steady flow of inspiration.
If you don’t remember a time when writing was free of any blocks, you can still tell yourself it’s possible (because it is) and picture yourself as a smooth conduit for your thoughts and ideas.
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7. Accept Your Passing Thoughts without Judgment.
Random thoughts will come, some more annoying than others. If you’ve spent a good share of the day entertaining thoughts about your past and future, those thoughts are likely to creep in when you’re trying to focus on something else.
Some of those thoughts might bring shame, embarrassment, anger, or tension. Don’t punish yourself even more by judging those thoughts. Acknowledge each thought without assigning any value to it.
8. Write Down the Persistent Ones.
Some thoughts will stick around longer than others, demanding your attention even as you try to focus on your immediate environment and on how you’re feeling. Some of them relate to what you’re feeling right now, and pushing them away only makes them louder.
Give yourself permission to deal with those thoughts in greater depth later on. Write them down to save for another time.
9. Let Them Go.
After you acknowledge your thoughts and jot down the most persistent ones, let them go. Don’t waste any thought on judging yourself for your wandering mind or telling yourself, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this meditation thing.”
Your meditation doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s more important that you stick with it and keep trying. Let those thoughts float in and then out of your conscious mind.
10. Return to Your Primary Focus (in this case, writing).
As you release those thoughts, turn your focus back to breathing or your journal. Continue jotting down your observations of your inner and outer world and how they interact.
This isn’t a one-and-done thing. You may have to reclaim your focus several times during a single 10-15 minute meditation. You’re not alone in that, and you’re not ruining anything.
Just keep trying.
11. Alternative: Take Time before Meditation to List Out Your Thoughts.
You may find it more helpful to jot down a list of your noisiest thoughts before you start meditating. Try it both ways to see which approach makes it easier for you to keep your focus during the meditation.
Allow yourself a minute or so to list out whatever is on your mind before you stop to initiate your meditation with some deep breaths.
12. Use Writing Prompts.
Spend a minute or two thinking about your chosen prompt before you begin your meditation. You can even jot down a few connected thoughts.
13. Write Down Your Thoughts As They Come.
Allow yourself to write without editing. Don’t worry about sentence structure or how many times you use filler words. Just write down what you’re thinking and feeling in that moment.
Transcribe your thoughts just as they are. The more accurately you record them, the more you’re likely to learn from the next step.
14. Read What You’ve Written.
Now, it’s time for some mindful reading. As with your thoughts before, be careful not to judge what you’ve written. Use this as an opportunity to practice self-awareness and self-acceptance. This is (probably) not something you’ll be sharing, so don’t worry if it doesn’t sound like the persona you want others to see. This is for your eyes only.
The more faithfully you render your thoughts on paper, the easier it is to notice any cognitive distortions or thought processes that warrant further exploration.
15. Finish with Some Mindful Breathing.
Lie down if you can, and close your eyes. Or sit comfortably while you take a minute or so to finish your meditation session with some deep breaths.
As you’re breathing, focus on drawing in the energy you need for the rest of your day–and exhaling any tension you feel in that moment. Thank yourself for committing to this meditative writing session, and commit to doing it again tomorrow.
To quote G.K. Chesterton, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
Now that you’re more familiar with meditative journaling and mindful writing, which points stood out for you? And what will you do differently this week?