Are you looking for a way to spark your creativity, gain clarity, or explore your curiosity in midlife? Look no further than journaling, a powerful tool that can help you tap into your inner thoughts, and unleash your creativity. In this article, life transitions expert, Diana Place, will dive into these remarkable gifts, exploring the benefits of journaling to fuel your next chapter in life while sharing some illuminating prompts.
When you hear ‘Four C’s,’ you might think about diamonds, or marketing strategies or leadership qualities. The C’s that I want to share with you are about something different and more personal. They represent the profound emotional gifts and skills that emerge over our life’s journey — Courage, Clarity, Curiosity, and Creativity.
These gems of wisdom can’t simply be acquired; they are the treasures we can unearth after our life’s challenges and trials. Though they are each powerful on their own, the combination of all four creates a super-fuel to energize us as we navigate our life’s journey and shape our “third act.”
Like a diamond, they add beauty and brilliance to our lives. But, while diamonds shine on the outside, these Four C’s allow us to shine from the inside, beautiful gems that we can reveal via the art of journaling.
The following prompts will help you journal effectively as well as achieve courage, clarity, curiosity and creativity.
Journaling Prompts to Connect with Your Courage
“Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.” – Nelson Mandela
Evolutionarily speaking, fear and cautionary thinking are innate; built into our brains to keep us safe. Hugging the tree and not venturing out on the limbs can certainly keep us from getting hurt, but as we all know, it can also hold us back from enjoying the exhilaration of swinging from the branches!
Embracing courage and taking calculated risks in our careers, relationships, and life choices doesn’t require us to be reckless or to be a daredevil. We can decide to make thoughtful and well-considered leaps of faith to lead a life filled with joy, personal growth, and enriching experiences.
Questions to journal about:
- What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do but felt too afraid to pursue? How can you summon the courage to take the first step?
- Reflect on a past challenge you faced with bravery. What lessons did you learn from that experience that can inspire courage in your third act?
- What fears or doubts are holding you back from fully embracing this chapter of life? How can you confront and conquer them?
Journaling Prompts to Connect with Your Clarity
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” — Søren Kierkegaard
According to Bruce Feiler author of “Life is in the Transitions, Mastering Change at Any Age”, knowing and understanding the “shape” of our lives, being able to look back and “connect the dots” to understand the journey we’ve travelled until now, as well as having intuition and a vision for the future, is another powerful gift we receive at this time of life.
Understanding your truest desires, trusting your intuition and taking action with clear intention is elemental for living your most true and beautiful life. It’s like we develop an internal GPS to let us know when we’re on the right path and that guides us when we get stuck.
The older we get, the more we seek meaning and fulfilment. When I reached my late 50s, after a particularly rough year, I was finally able to connect the dots and have clarity. Having a sense of knowing that trusting my gut along my life’s journey has been essential to keeping me on my central path.
Questions to journal about:
- What are your life’s “musts” as well as aspects of your life that are “not acceptable” now? (Go ahead, write a list)
- Are there any unresolved issues or emotional baggage from the past clouding clarity about your future? Do you want to release them? How might you do that?
- Take a moment to envision the third act of your dreams; a way of living that would give your life joy, meaning and purpose. What does it look like? Who is there with you? What are you doing and experiencing? What does it feel like? What is keeping you from making it your reality?
Journaling Prompts to Connect with Your Curiosity
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Curiosity is a foundational source of happiness, a sort of guiding star in our lives. Being curious helps us to open up our imagination to new possibilities and to understand ourselves, others and the world around us. It can lead us to learn, try and do new things.
In fact, according to scientific research, reported by Greater Good Magazine, there are powerful psychological, emotional, social and even health benefits of curiosity — from achievement and stronger relationships to happiness and empathy.
Questions to journal about
- What’s something new — a subject, skill or experience you’ve always been curious about but haven’t taken steps to explore yet?
- Do you like/love to learn new things?
- Think about a time when curiosity led you to a fascinating discovery. How can you infuse more curiosity into your daily life and become a lifelong learner?
- What are some ways that you can energize your curiosity by seeking out new experiences, places, or people?
Journaling Prompts to Connect with Your Creativity
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun” – Mary Lou Cook
When asked “Are you creative?’ Most people reply, emphatically, “No.” Sadly, there exists a widespread misconception that being creative is reserved for artists, writers, and other ‘gifted’ individuals. However, the truth is that creativity is not limited to a few. In fact, we are all innately creative, we may just need to learn to cultivate it.
According to psychologist Robert Epstein, PhD, a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego – “There’s not really any evidence that one person is inherently more creative than another.” Instead, he says, “Creativity is something that anyone can cultivate.”
Creativity is in the innovative solutions we have for our life’s challenges, as well as our everyday activities like cooking, gardening, talking, working and living.
Additionally, there is exciting new research in an area called neuroaesthetics that offers proof for how our brains and bodies transform when we participate in the arts—and how this knowledge can improve our health, enable us to flourish, and build stronger communities.
Your Brain on Art, written by Susan Magsamen, the founder and director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Ivy Ross the Vice President of Design for the hardware product area at Google is an exciting book that helps us understand how the arts and aesthetics “can help us transform traditional medicine, build healthier communities, and mend an aching planet.”
Suffice it to say, that creativity has significant positive effects on our mental and emotional well-being, and research has shown that engaging in creative activities can be therapeutic, reduce stress, enhance problem-solving skills, and promote a sense of fulfilment.
Questions to journal about:
- When was the last time you did something creative?
- What was it? Did it bring you joy? Did you feel “in flow?”
- What needs to change to allow you to put creativity and creative activities into your daily routine?
- Consider a problem, a challenge or an opportunity you’re currently considering. How can you open up to more innovative solutions or ideas — with a creative mindset?
- What’s a creative project or dream you’ve been postponing? Why do you think you’ve done that? How can you commit to bringing it to life in your third act — are you ready to unleash it?
Keeping a journal can be an important self-care practice, but if you feel a bit stuck when it comes to getting started, these prompts will help you kick-start your creativity and write your way toward well-being. All you need it’s just 15 minutes a day, three times a week, to help you ease feelings of anxiety and stress and boost courage, clarity, curiosity and creativity.
Now grab a notebook and a cup of tea, and let the words fly.