Journaling Outside the Lines

cognitive journaling

A couple weeks ago, I got together with some other wonderful local entrepreneurs to discuss business growth and brainstorm. In attendance was one of the most inspiring, kind women that I have had the grace of meeting through JMB Living. I am always so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many other impactful women through my work, and it continues to amaze and motivate me. Kim runs The Hygge Gathering, a small business that seeks to connect other people with an intention of creating a network based on hygge. (If you are new to the concept of Hygge, you may also want to check out my blog post Hygge and Soul.)

While we were discussing the JMB Living Journal during our group brainstorm, Kim said that filling out the journal is like coloring. As soon as I heard this, something seemed to fall into place in my brain, so I decided to look into it further. 

I was immediately attached to the idea of the JMB Living Journal being like an adult coloring book: the lines and bigger picture are provided, and you fill it with your own personal flair and perspective to express yourself. I wanted to see if there is any connection between the therapeutic effects of coloring and the JMB Living Journal to help provide more insight in how the journal can be used and all of the ways it can benefit your life; not just with planning and journaling, but holistically through your mental health as well.

How Journaling Benefits You

Coloring is Psychologically Soothing

In my research (a labor of love for many small business owners as they work to grow and define their brand), I found that coloring is therapeutic in many ways:

  • Increases mindful attention

  • Fosters creative thinking

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Exercises both the left and right side of the brain and uses the frontal lobe

  • Uses meditative mindset

So, what does that mean in action? When you color, you are focused on expressing your feelings and thoughts with a guided prompt. The guided and formatted aspects allow you to focus your thoughts and specifically depict whatever you want to put on the page, while also finding joy in something visually pleasing that allows you to release your stress.

psychological benefits of journaling

Coloring Your JMB Living Journal

When I made the JMB Living Journal, I did it with a growth mindset as the foundation. The journal is intentionally structured to help you achieve your dreams and organize your days with its planner format, while also increasing your daily beauty, joy, inspiration, and mindfulness. The features and themes are representative of the feel of each season so that you too begin to notice more deeply the rhythms of each season and find the joys of living in alignment with them.

I didn’t know this at the time when I first start creating the journal, but I recently realized that it is somewhat a more accessible version of bullet journaling. Bullet journaling is admirable and the results are so beautiful and personalized, but for most people, it requires a lot of time, dedication, supplies, and artistic ability. I know I would find this method of journaling too overwhelming for me and I’m never completely satisfied with my handwriting, not to mention pleased enough with my own art.

I love hearing the feedback about how women enjoy the JMB Living Journal because of its dual beauty and functionality. It provides the same freedoms as a bullet journal, but requires less time and detail because it is already full of content and guided weekly mindfulness.  

If you ever feel overwhelmed by your daily tasks or unable to fill out your journal, approach it with the same mindset you would as starting a coloring page. Just because the lines are set for you, does not mean you have to color the grass green or the sky blue—and it definitely doesn’t mean you need to color inside the lines. Personalize your JMB Living Journal use and the physical journal itself to fit your needs and let it be joyful and satisfying to you specifically.

I intend to fill out all the prompts daily, but some days I do and some days I don’t and that’s okay. Some days there are many blank lines left and other days I’m also writing in the margins and that’s okay too. I’ve recently started to use my habit tracker to track more than my habits. I color code the days for my mood that day and then use little dots above it to record the quality of my sleep - interestingly enough, there is some insight here… The point is, I hoped that by the way I created it, you would find it easy to use differently from day to day, month to month and season to season depending on your needs at the time.

So many of the prompts are open-ended because it is a tool with suggested ideas, not a mandated format that you have to follow. Make your JMB Living Journal beautiful to you, just like a coloring page. And as you fill it out, allow yourself to let go of your stress and be more creative as you write. While you can use certain tools within it to help you reach for your dreams, at the same time, approach it with a mindset of giving yourself time and space for letting go of your thoughts, for reflecting and gathering insights about you. And in the process, allow yourself to relax and enjoy this time of self-awareness and further integration.

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