Do you have a regular journaling practice?
I journal a lot. It’s essentially because of my journaling practice that I’ve managed to achieve any goals in my life.
Almost everything started out as either with free-writing in frustration or an “I don’t know how…” journaling exercise.
There really isn’t a more powerful way to start attracting and inviting in the things you want in life than getting clear on what you want exactly and why you want it.
Writing these things down will help you to make the most of your brain, which is really a thinking tool.
And if you aren’t harnessing the full power of your thinking tool, think of what you could accomplish if you did!
There are many benefits to journaling
These include personal growth, improved communication skills, and increased self-awareness.
Developing a journaling practice can help you deal with negative thoughts and emotions, and help you manage stress and anxiety.
The effect a daily journaling practice of self-reflection and self-discovery can have on you is quite profound.
To keep a journal is to embark on a process of self-discovery.
Journaling will help you sort out your feelings about your own life and the world around you.
It can improve your mental health and studies have shown that people who journal about their problems experience less overall anxiety levels.
At the very least, your journal can serve as a fun and useful time capsule, functioning like a first-hand document of moments in your life.
Journaling allows you to explore new ideas
When a certain worldview dominates your thinking, you’ll try to explain every problem you face through that lens.
This pitfall is particularly easy to slip into when you’re smart or talented in a given area.
Because the more you master a single way of thinking, or mental model, the more likely it becomes that this way of thinking will be your downfall as you apply it indiscriminately to every problem you come across.
What looks like expertise can often be a limitation.
When you have a hammer, everything really looks like a nail.
So, use a regular journaling practise to train your mind to identify thought patterns and teach it how to “think outside the box”.
Journaling enables you to problem-solve better
When you feel stuck with something, it’s usually because you’ve gotten stuck in a certain state of mind.
The good thing about this is that it’s easy to change that.
Words are so powerful it sometimes feels absurd to me.
I mean, these sounds that we make with our mouths represent and embody vastly complex ideas.
And just by listening to, or reading, the words of someone else, I can completely change my point of view. And from that changed point of view, I can find a completely new way to operate and relate to the world.
And journaling isn’t just for writers or people in creative fields!
Many highly successful people in non-creative fields keep idea journals, or common place journals, as a place to track thoughts that occur to them.
Or to work on thoughts they wish to expand and develop, so that they have somewhere to revisit them at a later date.
Journaling allows you to access the unconscious in yourself
A very common exercise writers use a lot is called free writing.
The idea is to just let the words flow out of you without any editing or inhibition.
At first, it might feel difficult to get the words to come, or it might feel forced, but the magic starts to happen once you get into a flow of writing.
Then it feels as if your mind is a jug full of water, and the act of writing feels like you’re picking up that jug and just pouring it all out.
When you simply let it flow out of you – and go wherever the writing takes you, no matter how unrelated it seems – you begin to uncover those unconscious beliefs that dictate how you make decisions in life.
A daily (or regular) free writing practice is sometimes also referred to as Morning Pages, though Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way* jokingly said that they should be called ‘mourning’ pages, as it’s almost akin to saying goodbye to the previous day and letting go of everything you’ve accumulated so far.
Journaling allows you claim your human potential
As it provides you with a safe space to express yourself without fear of judgement or pressure, journaling allows you to discover and recover your creative self.
It allows you to creatively express yourself.
Your journal is a place for you to write down half-formed thoughts and unpolished ideas that occur to you in the moment.
Even if you never go back and read what you’ve written in your journaling practice, the process of journaling allows you to develop ideas that wouldn’t occur to you otherwise.
Because journaling takes away the need to remember things and frees up more bandwidth for thinking and processing, you’ll start accessing a whole new level of deep thinking which allows you to connect the dots by processing your knowledge as a whole, not just individual, isolated parts that aren’t connected to each other.
Journaling will help you train your brain to be positive
Just the simple task of taking on a blank page and filling it will give you a sense of accomplishment, just as you’ll feel lighter after journaling.
If you don’t want to free-write, or when you want to take a focused method towards feeling more positive, you can journal about the things you’re grateful for.
Thinking about the things you’re grateful for will make you feel happier.
You can also use gratitude log if you want to make this simple exercise a daily practice easily.
Is there a right way to journal?
Journals take many different forms and it’s up to you to decide what you like best.
Keeping up a consistent journaling practise will help improve your decision-making and change your life dramatically.
A blank page can seem daunting, and starting a new journal and a new habit even more so.
Luckily for us, there’s no right or wrong way to journal.
You can free-write, make lists, write poetry or use prompts.
You can doodle, write down observations or just start writing and not stop until you feel like it.
You also don’t have to commit to a literal journal.
A notebook, sketchbook, loose pages, a Word document, a blog, a photo journal (or why not video?), and a scrapbook journal with washi tape and stickers are all valid ways of practising your journaling.
The most important thing is the act of journaling itself.
5 beginner’s journaling prompts for self-discovery
- List your 10 favourite books.
- If your best friend described you, what would they say?
- How does every part of your body feel at this moment?
- What can wait until next week?
- Write a letter to yourself five years ago.
Some of your journal entries will be ordinairy. Some will be inherently interesting.
Some may even start out ordinairy and become interesting when you repeatedly read them.
With distance, a handful of your observations will become profound.
It’s impossible to predict which of your notes and journal ideas will resonate with you two, seven or 25 years in the future, so it’s important to just write it all down and have faith in the writing process itself.
Take it from a writer and journaling addict: journaling helps you find the beauty in the mundane.
It also sharpens your observational skills, and with time, you’ll gain invaluable perspective from your practice.