Picture this:

It’s Saturday morning.You wake up with a beam of sunlight pouring into your room and birds singing outside your window. It seems like the perfect morning. But something’s not quite right. Despite the sun, the birds, and the weekend vibes, something’s just…off.

You don’t feel relaxed. You feel overwhelmed. There are a gazillion things rushing through your mind – I have to buy groceries. When’s that assignment due? I really should clean the bathroom. The job application deadline is tomorrow. I need to get started on that. Will I have time practice guitar? I haven’t practiced in ages. Maybe I’m no good at guitar. Maybe I should quit. I can’t quit! When do I get paid? The more you think, the more anxious you get. No wonder you’re not feeling the Saturday morning vibes – your mind is going crazy!

When your thoughts are running a hundred miles an hour, it’s easy to feel confused. And when you feel confused, you lose sight of what really matters, and how you really feel. That’s where stream of consciousness journaling comes in.

What is “Stream of Consciousness Journaling”?

Stream of consciousness journaling is a method of journaling that involves writing down your thoughts as they come to you. No proofreading. No overthinking. Just transcribing every thought that pops into your head down on paper.

In stream of consciousness journaling, the magic happens in the messiness. When you stop censoring your thoughts and instead let them come to the page organically, what you’re really doing is allowing yourself to communicate with your inner voice, your intuition, your soul. The part of you that has all the answers. The part of you that’s unclouded by stress, anxiety, and ego.

It will Help You Understand Your Mind

Stream of consciousness journaling has a tendency to bring to the surface problematic thinking patterns, to uncover fears you didn’t know you had, and insights you didn’t know you needed. Thoughts that come from the depths tend to be the most profound, and the most necessary.

So if you’re ready to push past the distractions and delve deep to discover what’s really important to you, here are my 7 most helpful tips on stream of consciousness journaling:

1. Journal in the morning – Our thoughts tend to be the most chaotic and muddled when we first wake up. By writing in the morning, you’re sifting through all that chaos straight away, leaving you with a clear, focused mind for the rest of the day.

2. Don’t force anything – Be true to your thoughts. Stream of consciousness journaling should never feel contrived. It may not be enlightening, it may not be earth-shattering, it very well may be “I’m so tired, I don’t know what to write”. If that’s what you’re thinking, write it down.

3. Be patient – Don’t give up if you don’t get an ‘aha’ moment straight away. If you continue with it every day, your intuition will take you where you need to go. You know just as well as I know that all good things take time.

4. Forget the rules – Throw any concerns you have about spelling and grammar out the window. The point isn’t to create publish-worthy prose, the point is to let your soul take control (your soul doesn’t care about ‘you’re’ vs ‘your’).

5. Be specific – Your journal is no place for cautious generalities. Pin-point as much as you can – specific names, feelings, emotions, events. This is for your eyes only, so don’t shy away from writing precisely and explicitly.

6. Write by hand – Writing by hand in a physical journal rather than on your computer slows you down and keeps the intuitive part of your brain engaged. Your keyboard is far too linear for this type of writing.

7. Allow for jumps – Our thoughts can sometimes be quite sporadic, and that’s okay. If at one point you’re writing about your dog, which then reminds you about that movie you saw last night, which then reminds you about a dream you had one time – let yourself go there. No need for tidy transitions.

You have the tips, you have your journal, and you have your pencil. All that’s left for you to do?

Let it flow!

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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