Tag Archives: self talk

Journaling~ prompts for dialoguing with yourself

“Above is a photo of all the journals I’ve been writing in since about 1981.  I have more from high school and earlier, in a box, in my dad’s attic. Why keep a journal? To catch your ideas, process your feelings, and know yourself.

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” —Jack London.

Austin Kloen, author of “Steal Like an Artist” has a helpful video on journaling to capture your creative ideas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pktz3rPM2QI. I’ll share my personal favorite tips in a minute.

Its important to journal, because you’re talking to yourself, you’re focusing on your thoughts, and your inner life. Lots of daily life is passively watching stuff outside ourselves. Journaling is a chance to stay connected to your inner self. If you’re in transition, physically or emotionally, keeping a journal handy–keeps you processing with yourself.

When I was 14, I would journal about 14-yo issues such as my wonky emotions regarding boys, and all about my best friends and our insane gossip and worry about everyone. When I was 18, I started trying to write poems,  wanting to sound like  Jeff Jewell and the Beat poets–not many original thoughts or images, but lotsa heart. When I went to college, I used journaling to process heady, philosophical thoughts, and liked to pretend I was an intellectual. In my mid-20’s, I used journals for annotating every book I read. There were a couple of travel journals in there (England/Scotland), full of memorable little drawings.  A journal can be a friend who goes everywhere with you, a little buddy to pour your heart out to.

By my 30’s I was back to annotating books, capturing favorite quotes, and writing lists of creative ideas. Ah lists. This is now my drug of choice. Lately, I have been making these lists inside my own handmade books.   Making inspirational lists is so hopeful,  and tickles my A.D.D. bone so hard, that’s its unlikely I’ll ever stop.

Here are my favorite journaling ideas/prompts by Mr. Kloen, along with a few of my own. I would argue that these enhance your inner dialogue with yourself and help optimize you and your relationship with YOU:

-write down 9-10 things you’d like to learn to do

-write something to cross out. That’s right, get used to generating ideas, not necessarily ones you’ll fulfill, but that keep you generating ideas. Take the top idea, and formulate 2-3 steps towards it.

-doodle until you get an idea (I like to think a word is a doodle). Or, doodle a feeling, until you want to write about it.

-write what was the best moment, day or month of this past year and why. Notice how this exercise focuses you on what you care about.

-sit in your studio or office, look around, write about the most interesting thing you see

-write about the sublime and the mundane…what are you taking care of? Diet? Pets? Plants? What needs to be let go of?

-hang onto mementos, cards. Use a little envelope glued to the inside of the back flap to keep these…what are the feelings they generate? Do those feelings tell you about whats important in your life?

Become a journalista, for processing and reflecting on the most important relationship you have: the one with inner self.

Painting & Personal Coaching

Eager for some coaching on daily habits that can help you feel better about yourself?

Change your habits, change your life.

I’ve just listened to a thrilling Podcast with James Altucher interviewing Jim Kwik, and he’s got some awesome life pointers. If you’re like me you’ve read and heard dozens of self help schemes. I love it when they speak to me and feel fresh. Feeling blue? Or directionless? Like you’re treading water? Here’s some stuff to bone up on. Read through the list, then go back and read each one, taking a moment to close your eyes and imagine the next step toward adding or deepening that practice.


W~ writing. Carry a small notebook and journal and jot down ideas, creative insights, observations, goals, gratitudes. 120 geniuses were studied for commonalities, and journaling was top of the list.

I~Imagining/creating. See if you can make a habit of intentionally creating helpful images in your mind. Create and rehearse those images. What is an important problem to solve in school, work, home or creative life? Get in the habit of creating helpful mental imagines to solve it. Powerful. (Read Shakti Gawain for more training on this).

S~ Self Talk. Your brain is your software program…be sure you’re rehearsing “can do” “I love myself” and “its all going to work out” thoughts. Super key on this list, watch your inner voice ALL the time, get kinder.

D~ Diet. By now we all know we are what we eat. Eat organic. Get off gluten. Reduce dairy. Eat a lot of vegetables and grass fed beef. But be a flexitarian, okay? Don’t go rigid about food. Trader Joe’s and Vitacost can supply you with tons of good, organic foods for cheap. No excuses.

O~ Order/Organization. Clear your house of clutter. Get rid of stuff you don’t use or need immediately. Your space is like your brain, we need order and space and free room for creating good moods, and being our best creative self.

M~ Meditate. People who meditate for 15 minutes each day are more resilient facing stressful situations. If you want to lead a big, bold, creative life, you need to meditate. Meditation thickens the tissue in the frontal cortex that protects you against stressing out. Try Tara Brach’s app for guided meditations.

S~ Stress Reduction. Most people have some anxiety. Get some cognitive skills from a therapist. Research says cognitive behavioral skills are as effective, and at times more effective than anti-anxiety medication. Here’s a basic CBT skill: The Three C’s: calm the body (breathing and relaxing the jaw, muscles, and eyelids); correct the goal (check your thinking, is it causing your own stress? Change the goal. Example: at a party, go from trying to get everyone to like you (not achievable), to taking a deep interest in others. Create a list of questions to ask before a party and seek to make other people feel interesting. (Thats an achievable goal); confront the situation in a new way.

Remember that socializing, with people who love and understand you, is hugely stress reducing. Who do you need to hang out with more often?


E~ Exercise. Get oxygen to your brain before a project, or creating, or writing. 25 minutes 5 days a week. Join a walking group if you hate exercise. Mountains of research points to exercise for mood stabilizing, health, and enhancing mental capabilities. But marathons are unnecessary.

L~ Learn. Keep those neurotransmitters forming new brain pathway! Learning new information, new music, new art techniques, reading books on new topics, learning to play an instrument and learning a new language will ward-off dementia~ and boredom. The internet and YouTube are great for that.

B~Brain health. Basic brain hygiene: take fish oils and B vitamins, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, get 8 hours of sleep a night, always wear a helmet in adventurous sports, play multi-tasking games, avoid Nyquil, and keep learning new things.

Lots to unpack here. I’ll do that one article at a time, expanding on the good stuff soon.


Visualizing the dream~LH