Hey families, Laura here!
I hope everyone is checking items off on their bucket lists. I know I am! It has been a busy, but an exciting summer filled with friends and family. With traveling every weekend, I haven’t felt grounded in myself and my emotions have been all over the place. Being mindful of your feelings and others is important. Discussion of feelings can be difficult for anyone. A tool that has worked for me and my students in the classroom is having a journal to express thoughts, feelings, ideas, and a place to just be yourself.
The Power of Journaling
First, I would like to share a vulnerable piece of myself. I struggled in school all the way through. I was teased for not catching on to material as fast as others
(Fun Fact: One of the reasons I became a teacher was to let as many children know don’t give up and your wonderful just the way you are).
Looking back, I wish I would have had the tools of mindfulness + journaling to help me work through tough times in school. Through the yoga community, I have experienced the power of journaling. It's taught me so much: I have become mindful of my feelings and others, learned how to regulate my reactions to certain feelings and help others with theirs, be less reactive and just understand the root of my feelings. Kids are no different - they want to understand.
We must respect all emotions. We all feel happy, sad, mad, frustrated, etc…, so let us learn to be mindful of our own emotions and others without judgement. Journaling is a time to be with yourself working and breathing through a challenging emotion or moment. Journaling allows you to see and release your emotions. Journaling helped me find my voice. Let us ALL find our voice.
How to incorporate journaling in your home
You can start with buying journals for everyone in the family or each creating your own. Then on pieces of paper write specific topics and opportunities to free write. Take the pieces of paper and place them in a jar. Pull a topic from the jar once a week, twice a week, or what time allows for your family. Be sure to create a few simple ground rules and discuss as a family.
1. Be mindful- Be sure your writing with kind words about yourself and others.
2.Privacy- If your child doesn’t feel comfortable about sharing their thoughts from their journal then allow them that space. If you or a sibling sneak a peek without permission then you may lose their trust.
3. Sharing and Caring- Sharing your emotions is just as important because you don’t want to keep it “bottled up.” Not all families are the same. Some family members are outgoing and comfortable talking about their emotions, while others are scared to discuss their feelings - it's ok to explore this dynamic with your child. We must try to care and respect others who may have a difficult time expressing themselves. If you or anyone in your family is struggling to discuss their feelings then give them options to share with someone they are comfortable with(another family member or counselor). If you decide to share your journals then you will be amazed that sometimes we all feel the same. We are all connected.
While a person is sharing, hold space for them to feel comfortable by non-reaction listening. When they are speaking, be mindful of your thoughts and actions. Try not to think of what your going to say next and show the person speaking that they have permission to express themselves. Everyone wants to feel heard.
Styles of Journaling
You can incorporate and modify creative ways to journal. Let us find what works best for you and your family. It doesn’t always have to be the same. You can mix it up. Be creative and remember to be you.
Free write/type. You choose. *Children learning to write can trace over their highlighted words.
Continuous writing.Set a timer for 3-20 minutes. Don’t think, just write, don’t pick up the pen, just write, and you’ll be amazed at what you discover.
Specific Topic writing/type. *If writing isn’t for you then find a time to discuss what is on your mind with yourself or with someone you are comfortable with.
Draw your thoughts and feelings.*Great option for younger children
Photography journal. Capture moments and feelings then place them in your journal. *Great option for younger children
Writing a letter to yourself through the mind of someone who loves you
Gratitude List. List what you are thankful for.
Don’t forget, your family and another family are not going to look the same. Do what is best for you and all the unique and beautiful members of your family. Leave us a comment below and let us know what worked for your family.
Yoga is for All Love is for All,