By: Maralize Carreon
What is Meditation Journaling?
Meditation journaling is at its core, mindfulness meditation. According to Barrie Davenport, mindfulness meditation is about centering in and focusing on what is going on both around you and within you. It emphasizes strengthening your awareness and your surroundings to aid in reducing what is burdening or stressing you. Meditation journaling has been proven to be an effective method of letting go or expressing the thoughts that run through our brains. In particular, it aims to calm the storm that harbors in our minds and can help to overcome self-judgment (Mind Fuel Daily). Expressed by Alexandra V., it can also help reprogram your brain to see things from a new perspective.
How to Express Yourself Through Meditation Journaling
There are numerous ways you can begin your journey with meditation journaling. Dennis Relojo-Howell provides a few tips on how to integrate meditation journaling into your daily routine. He mentions that doing breath work before every journaling session to focus your breathing can help relax your mind and body and help you gain clarity. Doing this can prevent writer’s block as well. Relojo-Howell also recommends committing a certain amount of time to journaling every day, as creating a routine encourages putting aside time every day to take care of yourself.
Of course, there is no linear path when deciding how to engage in meditation journaling. However, the end goal when participating in this type of journaling is to alleviate stress in a healthy way while also practicing being aware in the present moment, which can lead you to make more conscious decisions (Davenport). Davenport expresses that you can meditate through journaling by following these steps:
- Take deep breaths by first slowly inhaling.
- Slowly exhale to release.
- Then pick up your writing tool to begin writing while thinking “of your mindful observations as inhalations and your writing as the natural product of your mind’s processing of them.”
Moreover, letting yourself document what each of your senses experience adds depth to your awareness. Davenport also notes to “accept your passing thoughts without judgment” as acknowledging the things that you may push away can bring you relief. Once finished, it is important to engage in mindful reading to practice self-awareness and acceptance. Accepting your thoughts and what you’ve written is an important part of healing and strengthening your relationship with your inner self.
Finally, as your journaling session comes to an end, lie down and close your eyes while taking deep breaths to draw your energy to the surface and to release any remaining tension. As discovered in a study by Norman A.S. Farb and his partners, practicing mindfulness meditation allowed participants in the study to be overall more present in their daily lives in an enjoyable way.
The Benefits of Meditation Journaling
There are numerous benefits that come with meditation journaling. In a study conducted by Joely Tara Goodman on nursing students who struggled with anxiety during their clinical studies, Goodman found that taking part in reflective journaling resulted in a decrease in stress and anxiety levels. On a more molecular level, Manoj K. Bhasin and his fellow researchers found that meditation can reduce blood pressure and strains on the heart by relaxing nerve signals that coordinate heart function and blood vessel tension.
Not only does meditation journaling help with reducing anxiety and blood pressure, it also allows us to be more mindful of our presence in the world. It helps us make more conscious decisions about things that affect our mood and our overall mental health. Meditation journaling prompts self-reflection, which in turn can teach you how to be kinder to yourself (Alexandra V.). It helps us practice patience and clears our mind when emotions can be overwhelming and loud. Practicing meditation before every journaling session will lead to a better grasp on your mental health and provide you with emotional release.
Bhasin, Manoj K., et al. “Specific Transcriptome Changes Associated With Blood Pressure Reduction in Hypertensive Patients After Relaxation Response Training.”The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 24, no. 5, Mary Ann Liebert Inc, May 2018, pp. 486–504.
Daily, Mind Fuel. “Journaling as Meditation.” Mind Fuel Daily, 20 May 2018, www.mindfueldaily.com/livewell/journaling-as-mediation.
Davenport, Barrie. “15 Must-Try Ideas for Mindful Writing and Meditation Journaling.” Mindful Zen, 23 Nov. 2022, mindfulzen.co/meditation-journaling.
Farb, Norman A. S., et al. “Attending to the Present: Mindfulness Meditation Reveals Distinct Neural Modes of Self-reference.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 2, no. 4, Oxford UP (OUP), Aug. 2007, pp. 313–22.
Goodman, Joely Tara. “Reflective Journaling to Decrease Anxiety Among Undergraduate Nursing Students in the Clinical Setting.” Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, vol. 9, no. 5, Sciedu Press, Jan. 2019, p. 75.
Relojo-Howell, Dennis. “Journaling as a Form of Meditation: Here’s How to Do It Right.” Psychreg, 5 July 2022, www.psychreg.org/journaling-meditation. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.
V., Alexandra. “The 6 Surprising Benefits of Keeping a Meditation Journal.” CareClinic, 24 Sept. 2019, careclinic.io/meditation-journal.