What is a meditation journal?
What are the benefits of keeping one?
And how can a meditation journal help you live a happier, more mindful life?
Here’s our ultimate guide to keeping a meditation journal…
What Is A Meditation Journal?
Being in a relaxed mental state, like during meditation, we’re bound to experience insights, great ideas, new understandings, or epiphanies.
However, the longer we go without capturing and/or acting upon these thoughts, the more they may slip away from our memory.
After all, when we’re hit with a sudden insight or thought, it doesn’t last very long in our recollection.
According to research, even though our thoughts are still present, our difficulty retrieving those stored thoughts may make it seem otherwise.
To top it off, they say if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Never think about something again, and it may eventually fade from your memory.
So, it’s no surprise that the insights you gain during meditation can be very much an “easy come, easy go” type of scenario.
A meditation journal helps solve the latter problem.
This type of journal provides a place for us to write down the ideas, memories, and a-ha moments that surface during meditation.
That way, when we’re long out of our meditative state and reimmerse ourselves into our busy lives, we have a record of those thoughts.
It’s all about keeping those insights and, ultimately, ensuring those short-term thoughts become long-term memories.
The Benefits Of Keeping A Meditation Journal?
- The thoughts and insights you receive from meditation won’t flee from your memory.
- You’ll be more motivated to continue meditating.
- Keeping a meditation journal acts as an extra way to practice mindfulness.
- You’ll have a better understanding of how you meditate.
- It can open your eyes to the types of meditation that work best for you.
- Journaling your meditation experience can help you spot your bad meditation habits and mistakes.
- You can clearly see where your meditation needs to improve and how it’s improved over each session.
Easy Ways To Keep A Meditation Journal?
Fortunately, keeping a meditation journal doesn’t have to be a grueling, difficult task.
It’s all about what you make of it.
Consider the following tips:
- Log your insights on a digital document on your laptop or desktop computer.
- Use the notes app on your phone to journal your thoughts.
- Write on a simple notepad or in a spiral-bound notebook.
- Record brief thoughts and ideas on a calendar or in a planner each day you meditate.
- Write down your insights on sticky notes. Display your sticky notes on a bulletin board or on the wall afterward.
- Download an audio app or program, so you can aurally record what you gained from each session of meditation.
- Film yourself talking about the ideas that surfaced after meditation.
- Create a mood board or collage representing your meditation insights in a visual manner.
How To Start A Meditation Journal
Starting a meditation journal is a very versatile and personal experience.
No two meditation journals have to be exactly alike! That’s the beauty of it.
In general, you have a lot of say in how you want to start and keep your meditation journal.
However, there’s still some planning that goes into starting a meditation journal.
Think about the type of journal medium you want.
Chances are, you’re going to want a journal that’s physical: something you can actually feel.
This can be a notebook, diary, journal, notepad, sticky notes, the list goes on.
A physical journal is a good idea because it’s proven that when you physically write things down, you’re more likely to remember it.
However, you can also take your journal digitally.
You might record your entries on a digital device in a written, visual, or even aural manner.
The type of medium you choose depends on the amount of privacy you want, how you prefer to organize things, and what options you have.
Decide what you’ll record.
What do you plan on recording in your journal? Little tidbits of your meditation session? What did you think about during meditation?
You may recall a quote or past event, come up with an idea for a project, or learn something about yourself or your meditation style while meditating.
It’s up to you to decide what you’ll actually record in your journal.
It can be deep and highly-detailed, or it can be simple and straight-to-the-point.
Nevertheless, the information you plan on recording in your meditation journal should be personal to you and make sense to you in particular.
Contemplate exactly how your entries will be presented.
So, you already know what medium (e.g., notebook, audio, video, etc.) your journal will be. You also know what you’ll record in your journal.
However, it’s important to consider exactly how your entries will be presented and organized.
For instance, you may write down full sentences, long paragraphs, or simple bullet points or phrases.
You have the option to write in pencil, pen, or colorful markers in the font(s) of your choice.
For extra pizzazz, might also include doodles, cut-outs from magazines, stickers, or quotes in your physical meditation journal.
Additionally, you can write multiple entries per page, one entry per page, or even write on every other page to leave you room for note-taking.
If you record information aurally or via video, however, you may later edit out certain parts of the recordings and place them together in one big clip.
Generally, the presentation and organization are all up to you. There’s no right or wrong.
Figure out how you’ll store your journal.
The more personal and special you find your meditation journal, the more likely you’ll want to keep it safe during storage.
It’s not just about keeping your journal safe; it’s also important to keep it safe from the eyes of others if you want to keep your journal private.
This is especially true if you plan on keeping a digital meditation journal.
Whether digital or physical, find an appropriate place to keep your journal, whether it be underneath your bed, on a flash drive, or on your nightstand.
The place you prefer to store it should be somewhere you can easily find it when you need it.
It should also be a place where you’ll be confident your dog won’t chew it up, or if your computer crashes, it won’t get lost forever.
Example Of What To Write In Your Journal:
Although you may write anything you wish in your meditation journal, sometimes it’s the little things that can be quite useful.
Even if you don’t gain anything exciting like recalling an important life event or a creative idea, you can still gain insight pertaining to meditation.
As an example, you might record something like:
Progressive relaxation meditation for 30 minutes.
Was more concentrated and had better luck than last time because I took my time instead of rushing through it. Didn’t use an alarm clock this time.
While entries like the latter might seem mundane, they can help enhance your meditation practice as you go back over to review them later.
In the case of the latter example, an entry like this can help you see where you’ve gone wrong during meditation and what you’ve done that helped.
Reviewing Your Meditation Journal
To write in a meditation journal is one thing. However, writing it down and never looking back on it isn’t very productive.
The purpose of writing your insights and experiences after meditation is to reflect and make sense of your meditative practice as you progress.
When you just write things down in your meditation journal and never look at them again, you won’t receive the long-term benefits of journaling.
That said, reviewing your meditation journal is always a good idea, that is, if you want to gain the most benefits from keeping your journal.
But how does one review their meditation journal?
Take notes as you flip back through your journal.
You might think that after every journal entry, the initial note-taking you engage in will be enough.
However, another good strategy to enhance your meditation journaling is to go back later and take more notes on each of your entries.
You can take additional notes on the same page or on a separate page. You may even want to do them digitally. It’s up to you!
These additional notes should include comparisons and references to past journal entries. The goal should be to connect your entries to each other.
You might decide not to take additional notes, particularly if your entries are already long and beefy.
In the latter scenario, you can still feel free to go back and underline or highlight the parts of your entries that you find the most notable.
Keep track of similarities and differences you notice across your entries.
In the latter section, we discussed that it’s a good idea to compare and contrast your entries with one another, to provide a connection.
By noticing the similarities and differences in what you jot down after meditation, you can figure out where your meditation is leading you.
However, it’s important to really keep track of these similarities and differences.
After every week of meditation, it’s a good idea to read your entries for that week and pull out resemblances and variances in what you write.
Write these similarities and differences in two separate columns on a separate piece of paper or sticky note.
For example, if you have two different entries where you complained of lack of concentration, write this down in the similarity column.
Then, place two tallies next to it.
Next, look for unique insights you’ve found through your weekly entries.
Perhaps one time during the week, you’ve mentioned in an entry that shorter, more frequent meditation sessions work best for you.
Record this insight in the differences column.
After you’re done logging the similarities and differences between your entries over the week, circle the negative similarities and differences.
The more tallies you have next to a negative insight, the more important it will be to fix as it’s been repeated more often.
However, even the insights in the differences column without tallies will need to be eventually addressed as they too can become bad habits.
Come up with a game plan to improve your meditation based on what you review.
Now that you’ve circled the negative similarities and differences you’ve discovered from your weekly entries, it’s time for self-improvement.
It’s not enough to just notice these negatives but to actually fix them. By fixing them, you can help make your meditation practice run smoother.
For instance, if you said in your an entry that deep breathing exercises are too hard for you, you might try a different type of meditation instead.
Or, if you complained about having trouble concentrating, maybe you’ll try meditating again with music next time to see if it helps.
It’s all about trial and error.
While it’s also a good idea to celebrate the progress and triumphs of your meditation journey, the negatives will always be important to address.
To admit when you’re wrong and to recognize when you need help is ultimately what helps your practice of meditation truly thrive.
Tips For Keeping A Meditation Journal
- Record entries in your meditation journal in chronological order, including dates for organizational purposes.
- Consider recording your thoughts before and after meditation as a comparison.
- Plan on writing a lot? Use different-colored markers, or highlight key components of each entry.
- Take note of your mood and body sensations (e.g., relaxed muscles) after you’re done meditating.
- For each entry, mention the type of meditation you engaged in and how long you engaged in it.
- Aim to write something down after each time you meditate. Try not to skip a journal session to see how you progress.
- Try to refrain from journaling during meditation. However, if you have to, take just a few very quick, brief bullet notes.
- Want an aesthetic journal? Quickly write down your insights on scratch paper first. Then take your time adding it to your journal later.
- When reviewing your meditation journal entries, don’t rehearse or memorize; look for patterns, problems, and progress.
- If you feel like it, be open to sharing your insights with others, particularly those who also engage in meditation.
The Short Answers – Meditation Journal FAQs:
What is a meditation journal?
A meditation journal is simply a journal, notepad, diary, or another medium that people use to record insights or ideas they gain from meditation.
How to keep a meditation journal?
Decide whether or not your meditation journal will be physical or digital and what the medium will be.
You can put a digital or physical lock on your meditation journal to keep it private. Or, you can even share it with loved ones.
Place your journal in a safe place you can find it for the next time you meditate.
How to use a meditation journal?
After a session of meditation, simply write down what you learned or gained in your meditation journal.
Periodically, review what you’ve recorded in your journal.
As you review the content in your meditation journal, consider taking notes or highlighting certain parts of your journal as a reflection.
What do you write in your journal after meditation?
Anything you’ve found insightful can be written in your journal after meditation, positive or negative.
What you log can pertain directly to the practice of meditation itself, or it may be something completely unrelated.
Anything you personally find important can and should be logged in your journal.