Meditation and journaling are daily practices that can help you evolve and live a more balanced, fulfilling life. But you might be wondering “is it better to meditate then journal?”
If you have a very busy mind, journaling before your meditation may help to calm you down. This means you go into your meditation feeling more steady. However, the opposite could also occur: journaling first could get you thinking too much, making it difficult to focus during meditation.
Now, having said that, there are few more things to consider before you decide when to journal.
That’s why I’m going to dive a little more into the potential benefits of meditating first vs journaling first.
Hopefully, by the end of this article you will have a clearer idea of what makes sense for you.
BENEFITS OF JOURNALING BEFORE MEDITATION
If you have a very agitated and overactive mind, then it might be better to journal before meditation. This can be helpful because you:
- Express yourself: Sometimes the mind is busy because we’re holding in a lot of emotions. It could be fear, anger, worries, shame, regret, general anxiety. Journaling or writing practices – like morning pages – are a chance for you to “talk it out” without having to censor yourself. It’s basically a brain dump and you generally feel lighter once you’ve put those thoughts onto paper.
- Feel more stable: By writing down what’s bothering you, you get to release your thoughts rather than feel locked down by them. This creates a sense of freedom that can be quite calming. And if you can start your meditation with more calm and less agitation, then why not?
- Feel safe: Sometimes the words that are running though your mind can feel overwhelming. It’s almost as if your body has been invaded. But the simple act of writing down your thoughts creates space. This basically puts some distance between you and your thoughts. Suddenly, you don’t feel like you’re under attack in your own body or mind.
- Become intimate with the mind: the mind is just a tool that can work for or against us. Now, in order for the mind to work for us, we have to first become very familiar with it. And when you journal before meditation, you get to see more clearly, the thoughts that are running your life. Having this awareness before you meditate means that during your meditation, you can practice being present with those thoughts, but without judgment of them. Easier said than done, but worth it!
BENEFITS OF JOURNALING AFTER MEDITATION
Meditation can bring up a lot of emotions, ideas, desires, clarity and so much more.
Here’s why you want to consider journaling after meditating:
- You unleash your creativity: some days you might be flooded with new ideas during your meditation. Maybe you get inspired to move to a new place, change something in your business or try a new recipe. Whatever the inspiration may be, it’s worth writing down. That way you can explore them further with your intellectual mind.
- You can navigate the tsunami of emotions: the harsh truth is that a lot of intense emotions come up during meditation. In fact, if you’re not used to spending a lot of time with yourself or you spend most of your day repressing emotions, then it can all come up during meditation. Take note of those emotions and explore them in your journal. Journaling can help you to transmute the energy of those heavy emotions.
- You get to celebrate yourself: Sometimes we think meditation isn’t working unless we’ve had some magical experience. But the magic of meditation is simply showing up for yourself every day. Even when it hurts like hell. So at the very least, you can use your post-meditation journaling session to acknowledge the fact that you showed up for you. And that’s good enough.
FAQs ABOUT MEDITATING OR JOURNALING FIRST
Is journaling or meditation better?
From a yogic perspective, meditation is a practice that starts with focus (or concentration) and eventually gets us to a state of spiritual bliss or ecstasy (aka samadhi in Sanskrit). As for journaling, it helps us to clear the mind and gain more clarity. But it won’t necessarily create the state of samadhi that yogic texts mention.
Does journaling count as meditating?
Journaling is more of a mindfulness practice than a meditation (if we’re using the definition of meditation from yogic texts). In general, meditation involves some degree of detachment from the senses (which is why eyes are usually closed and we’re encouraged to be still during meditation).
Whether you choose to journal before meditation is entirely up to you.
Rather than have a strict rule about this, it’s probably best to go with the flow and adapt based on the day or season of life.
In fact, you could even journal before and after your meditation.
It’s your practice. No one’s going to give you a passing or failing grade (other than that pesky voice in your head) 🙂