Everyone seems to be suffering from a cluttered and unorganized mind these days. Whether you’re stressed about work or have financial struggles weighing you down, it can seem like a challenge to sort through your thoughts on any given day.
But you don’t need to let your mind rule you anymore.
There are many ways to find a healthy outlet for your thoughts, whether you choose to let them out in conversation, in therapy or in a journal.
Journaling is one of the most effective ways to express your innermost thoughts and feelings and find a sense of mental clarity. Because some people balk at the idea of maintaining a daily writing habit, many opt for an enjoyable alternative known as stream of consciousness journaling.
What is Stream of Consciousness Journaling?
Stream of consciousness journaling is a simple exercise that requires nothing more than a pen and blank sheet of paper or journal. No prompts or guides needed. As you write, pay no attention to structure, tone or grammar. Simply let your thoughts flow freely onto the page.
You can write about your day, thoughts you’ve had, things you’re struggling with, dreams for your future – you can write about literally anything that’s on your mind.
But we would encourage just that – writing about what’s on your mind. There’s no need to conjure up anything that’s not already there. Don’t pressure yourself to write on x or to sound like y. Just write. Just journal.
If you don’t have a good blank journal to get started, feel free to use a sheet of paper, or check out some of these great lined journals:
- Lemome Corked Eco Friendly Journal (I’m using this one currently – it’s a great deal at $13)
- Jumping Fox Design Journal ($15)
- Poluma Journal ($8)
Or check out our list of best blank, lined journals.
Before we dive in, let’s look at some benefits of stream of consciousness journaling.
Benefits of Stream of Consciousness Journaling
Stream of consciousness journaling has a number of key benefits for your mental health and overall well-being. Here are some of the most meaningful advantages that you can discover when you take up this pastime.
A Clearer Mind
In today’s fast-paced society, it can be challenging to find a moment to slow down and calm your mind. Stream of consciousness journaling gives you the opportunity to take some time to yourself and sort through your thoughts.
Whether you decide to journal first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed, forming this habit is one of the simplest ways to get your worries out of your head and directly onto paper. The result is a clearer mind that lets you feel more centered.
If you keep up with health and wellness trends, you’ve likely heard of this popular buzzword. Mindfulness refers to the act of focusing your awareness on the present and accepting it the way it is. This includes all of the thoughts, feelings and sensations that you might be experiencing in that moment.
For many people, mindfulness serves as a therapeutic technique that allows them to achieve a sense of inner peace.
Stream of consciousness journaling gives you the unique opportunity to become more in tune with the thoughts and feelings inside of you. By unleashing these sensations onto paper, you’ll achieve a greater sense of appreciation for the various emotions you’re experiencing here and now.
When your mind is cluttered with deadlines and worries, it’s hard to sort through the mess and isolate the good ideas you know you have. By writing freely in your journal, you can clear out all the noise in your mind and focus solely on the information you need.
Not only does journaling help you single out the creative ideas that you already have, but it also paves the way for new, original thoughts that you never knew were inside of you.
Better Decision Making
When you try to make an important decision just by thinking it through, you might find it hard to focus clearly on the information you need. That’s why writing out your thought process as you go along is one of the best ways to arrive at the decision that’s right for you.
When you see the pros and cons of each option clearly spelled out in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of what the best course of action is.
How Do You Write a Stream of Consciousness?
- Set the scene
- Take some deep breaths
- Allow your thoughts to come and go
- Hang onto the ideas that stick
- Be patient
- Allow for changes of thought
Developing a stream of consciousness journaling habit is easier than you think. Writing a stream of consciousness can be done by following these six steps.
Set the Scene
Find a quiet place that allows you to focus solely on the task at hand. Ideally, this should be a spot without any distractions or interruptions.
Take Some Deep Breaths
To get the most out of stream of consciousness journaling, it’s important to put yourself in the right frame of mind. Take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down before you begin to write.
Allow Your Thoughts Come and Go
You should never pressure yourself to come up with good ideas for your journal. Remember, the goal of stream of consciousness journaling is to let your thoughts flow freely. Accept your thoughts as they come and don’t be afraid to write them down in their pure, unfiltered state.
Hang Onto the Ideas That Stick
Every now and then, you’ll come to a conclusion in your writing that helps you see things more clearly. When this happens, be sure to hold onto that journal entry. You never know when you’ll need to refer to it again at some point in the future.
Stream of consciousness journaling is not meant to be rushed. Achieving a sense of mindfulness and forming a stronger relationship with yourself is a process that takes time and patience. Don’t worry if you don’t see the results you want right away.
Allow for Jumps and Changes of Thought
The beauty of freely writing your thoughts down is that there are no rules. You don’t have to worry about following a specific type of structure while you journal. That said, if you find yourself jumping from one thought to another while writing, embrace it instead of limiting yourself to a single idea. This will ultimately make you more likely to discover new things about yourself.
Getting the Most Out of Stream of Consciousness Journaling
Writing your stream of consciousness is a unique way to become more acquainted with yourself and the way your mind works. By taking a little bit of time every day to journal, you’ll have the opportunity to form a stronger relationship with yourself and gain more clarity in your everyday life.
If nothing else, and you feel you have a cluttered mind, give it a shot for 7 days. Just 7 days. See how you feel after a week. If you’ve noticed improved mindfulness, peace of mind, and a stronger relationship with yourself, keep it up.
If not, no worries, ditch it. Maybe you’re better suited for a guided journal with daily prompts.
Either way, best of luck on your journey!