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Are you mindful of your everyday life? It’s so easy to go through life on cruise control, not paying attention to the little details. It’s also so easy to get distracted by life’s everyday happenings.

Being more mindful is a learning curve for so many, and you might need a little time to catch on. Being mindful is great for not only your emotional and mental health but your physical health as well.

But while the benefits of being mindful every day are amazing, what is mindfulness? And how do you actually become more mindful, especially when life is busy?

Mindfulness is like yoga but without the physical activity. Being mindful is how you clear your mind, it’s the way you learn to focus on yourself, and it’s how you learn who you are. Being mindful means being present in your own life. It’s taking deliberate time to focus on how you feel, what’s around you, and what is happening.

Mindfulness is deliberate, and it’s helpful in so many ways.

Being mindful helps you learn how to appreciate the little things in life. It helps you learn how to better react to situations, and it helps you clear your mind of so much stress and discontent. It’s an unstructured, free writing way to do a brain dump.

One way to be more mindful is to use a mindfulness journal, daily journal, or even a bullet journal.

Here’s what you need to know about mindfulness journaling.

Things to Know Before Starting a Journal

1. Be deliberate

Journaling won’t come easily to you at first. You might not sit down and find yourself able to write mindful thoughts right away. You might struggle for a few days or weeks until you grow accustomed to this type of writing. You might be confused or unsure what to write.

Take time learning how to be more mindful by writing in your journal daily.

Years ago, I read The Artist’s Way, which introduces the concept of Morning Pages. It’s an excellent book that teaches you how to create a daily writing habit to clear your mind. The idea is that after 30 minutes of free writing every morning, even if you’re not a “writer,” you’ll be more creative, focused, and productive throughout the rest of your day.

While my Morning Pages habit doesn’t always happen in the morning and it usually doesn’t last for 30 minutes, I’ve still found that journaling is a great way to clear my head.

I also found that practicing gratitude, even if it’s just listing one thing that made me happy during the day, helps me be more mindful. At the end of every day, I include one thing on my daily layout of the Organized Motherhood Planner. I also use the notes pages to journal regularly.

2. Make a mess

The idea of a mindfulness journal seems so put together and clean, but it’s anything but.

A mindfulness journal is messy because your mind is messy. You might not be able to write down how and what you feel in a nice and tidy manner.

Your mind is a jumbled mess of thoughts, feelings, and things. Your journal is going to reflect that jumbled mess of thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry how disorganized it is. Don’t focus on clean thoughts and writing. Focus on what you feel.

When I first started using the Cultivate Journals, I had an aha moment. Up until that point, I had always been afraid to make a mess in my journals. I always tried to write in my best handwriting, and I often censored myself. However, one of the first pages of the Cultivate Journal advises you to be messy. It was liberating to think that my journal didn’t need to be perfect.

Give yourself permission to make a mess. Write big, sprawling words, make doodles, and scribble over your journal to your heart’s content.

Remember, this is your journal, your thoughts, and your feelings. Make it as pretty or messy as you feel.

3. Be honest with yourself (and your journal)

The one thing you should know about mindfulness journaling is that it’s all about honesty. This kind of journal will not work if you are not honest.

You cannot sugarcoat how you feel, what you’re thinking, or what you’re going through. Since nobody should read the journal but you, you don’t have to hide your real emotions or feelings in an attempt to appear a certain way. Feel free to be open and free in the journal.

The purpose of a mindfulness journal is to help you clear your mind. If you’re spending so much time organizing your thoughts and sugarcoating your day, you’re not being honest about how you feel and why you feel that way.

Now is the time to focus on doing things that work for you in terms of being honest. It won’t be easy to be this raw with yourself right away, but you will get better with it over time.

4. Look on the bright side

Your mind might not be filled with happy thoughts every day, but it is helpful to include some happy thoughts each day.

It is not uncommon to have some days where you really have to try to find the good in your day, but it’s there if you know where to look. Even if 90% of your journal on one particular day is negative, find one good thing to be hopeful and optimistic about.

Whether you’re just happy about having hot water and a shower when you get home from work or you’re happy you have a family, write it down.

As you practice gratitude and being mindful of the good things in your day, you’ll start to notice more positive things in your life. You will also become a more optimistic, happier person.

Being mindful is difficult, but it’s not impossible. You can do it, and you can make it easier on yourself if you are honest.

5. Use your journal to relieve stress

Being mindful is good for your mind and your soul.

It’s good for your body, too. You can release your stress when you use your mindfulness journal each day. Your body tenses when you go through difficult times or feel stressed. When you write those things down and get them out of your mind, you’re able to clear the stress and tension from your body.

By deliberately creating a habit to be more mindful, you’ll notice many changes in your life. You’ll be happier, calmer, and even more organized.

Even if you only spend a few minutes every day, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of journaling.

Being mindful and creating a journaling habit takes time to learn. You won’t be perfect the first day, but it’s all right to mess up and learn as you go. Everyone starts as a novice when it comes to journaling and being mindful, but you can make it a habit and learn to apply this to your life each day.

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Learn how to start journaling with these tips. Writing in a daily journal will help you relieve stress, be more mindful, and increase your productivity and focus. If you're struggling with time management, focus, or anxiety, read these 5 tips to get started.