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How to start journaling with Caggie Dunlop

If you've heard all about the many benefits of journalling, including it's proven benefits for better sleep, but are struggling to find your flow, Caggie Dunlop shares her favourite tips and tricks.

The reasons to start journaling and how

Often people ask me “how do I journal?” and there really is no right or wrong way. But here are some ideas on how to begin and start making it part of your day to day practice. Journaling has helped me so much, and so here are my tips on how I use journaling in different aspects of my life.

Firstly, it’s good to get it out on the page. Free flow thoughts. Any anxiety, pent up emotion. Frustration or sadness. Dispel it out of your mind and onto the page.

Make sure you don’t judge the free-flowing writing. It’s not for anyone to read, so don’t worry if it’s all madness. It’s just a practice of making space for good things to come in.

Themes to get you started with journaling

1. Gratitude

Plato once said: “A grateful mind is a great mind, which eventually attracts itself to great things”.

This may feel like the last thing you feel like doing, especially when in times of struggle, but this is when it is most crucial. When we are feeling in a state of lack, turning to gratitude and listing the things we're grateful gets us back into a place of abundance. It shifts our vibration. In a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves, feeling not enough - gratitude is the antidote.

The things I usually write aren't the big things, They are the small things. But write whatever feels true for you. So try starting the morning with a very simple question: “What am I grateful for?”

Write as many things as you can, it could be the cup of tea you have just made, the smell of incense. Your freedom. The hug you got yesterday. The skin that clothes you. No matter how big or small, write it down.

2. Ideas and desires

Glennon Doyle wrote: “This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”

You are the captain of your own ship and though we all appreciate advice from friends or peers who we respect, if we simply rely too heavily on others to make important decisions on our behalf or become influenced by external factors: we run the risk of losing sight of what we want. What is important to us. We also continue to disconnect from our own intuitive nature, subcontracting our authority onto someone else. Tapping into what is true for you, listing those desires. Keeping them safe. Be detailed, I cannot tell how many times I have done this only to find it months, or years later and realise they have come true. It doesn't matter how you are going to get there, leave that up to the universe. But give details on the feelings of your desire, whether that is a job, a lover or a home. What does the floor look like? What are the features? What does the job entail? How do you feel working there? What are the qualities of this new relationship? Be specific.

Dreams and desires at their infancy ideas are fragile. Keep them to yourself, Too many negative comments could sway you off course. Beware when you are looking for advice to get to the next step, vs the validation of your desire. Your dreams are previous, keep them safe.

3. Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is very desirable. For those who receive it, the burden of guilt is lifted. For those who give it, resentment and anger can be released, clearing the slate in a relationship and making room for peace.” - Deepak Chopra.

True forgiveness is freedom. I always say grudges and resentment are heavy cargo, travel light. We culturally aren't great at forgiveness. It is often viewed as a weakness. Forgiving a past lover for betraying us, a family member. Forgiveness, doesn't mean tolerance. We can create boundaries and still forgive. Holding onto anger or disappointment only brings more into our lives.

As we begin to let go of things out of our control, we can also notice feelings we hold on to toward people, situations and even ourselves that require forgiveness. Most often, we learn that forgiveness often lies with ourselves. Underneath the idea that it's about someone else, we uncover that really the person we need to forgive is ourselves. When we do this, we come home to ourselves. Again and again.

What would it feel like to forgive? Sit with this feeling and let it out on the paper, you will start to feel a weight lighting within yourself.

4. Letting go

When holding on is holding you back.

Rupi Kaur’s poem balance goes as follows: “I thank the universe for taking away everything it has taken, and giving to me everything it is giving”.

We often focus on what’s missing, what we have lost or what could have been. What is meant for you will not pass you by, to move more freely with the universe we must learn to detach ourselves from what we think we want. Which sounds counterintuitive to the above, but it's when we are attaching those things onto a person, or a situation that isn't inflow, that's when we get into a pickle. We think they represent the answer, but if it's not in flow, it's a no. The universe, God whatever your belief is. Has other plans. Often better than you could have imagined. Say thank you, trust that any rejection is God's protection/redirection. And move.

Prompts to begin your journaling journey

  • What has been holding me back recently?
  • What fears am I carrying?
  • What do I need to let go off?
  • What does my body need right now?
  • What does my soul need?
  • Where do I feel disconnected from myself?
  • How can I reconnect with myself?
  • What do I want to achieve over the next month?
  • What are 5 achievable goals I can set for the next month?
  • What have I been dreaming about the last few nights? How have I been sleeping?

Having clear intentions and goals that you can actually achieve, give you a sense of accomplishment after the month. Plus, accountability. Our bodies and nature work in cyclical motion - so should we. So, dream big but be realistic for the next month! You have time. Allow yourself the process of nourishment and growth.

Perhaps it’s a few small steps that you need to take that get you closer to your overall goal? Most importantly enjoy the process of it.

Finding the right time for journaling

In order to make a habit sustainable to you need to weave it into your daily routine. One of the best times to journal, according to The Sleep Doctor, is before bed. This is why, we incorporated a journal into our Dream Sleep Set, containing OTO’s award-winning CBD sleep collection. Designed to help you relax, unwind and sink into luxurious slumber. Mist soothing scents of OTO CBD Pillow Mist across your pillows. Apply OTO CBD Balance Roll On liberally to your pulse points and release the stresses of the day into the bedside journal. Finally settle into bed and release a dropper of OTO CBD sleep drops under your tongue to help you switch off and drift to sleep.

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