For many of us journaling meant to write down our childhood secrets and hide them away from our parents or sibling’s peeking eyes. A journal was frequently a notebook with a locker. I know I used to write a lot and hide my journals well, and I remember those times as they were yesterday. When I find one of them and read up, I’m surprised about how much they still speak of me. Of my back then dreams, now real life…
Becoming an adult, I didn’t much care about journaling till recently, when I started doing it again and I’m now addicted to it. Journaling as an adult is one of the daily routines that best helps you in your personal and professional development. It helps you organize your thoughts, ramble about anything that keeps you thinking and pushes you into really going deep within your mind. The journal is a space to record your goals and your progress, your ups and downs. It is also a tool to help you get over them easier.
But most of all, journaling represents the time for you to sit down quietly with only your thoughts and feelings. It’s when you take the space to be with yourself and whatever is that you are going through. You can’t even imagine how beneficial it is for you to reconnect with yourself at least once a day. And figure out where you are, what is happening to you and how you want to proceed for the upcoming day, month, year, life…
Let’s dive a bit more into the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of keeping a journal. Then, we will focus on the simple rules to follow in order to maximize these benefits.
One of the greatest benefits of journaling is developing your emotional intelligence. By observing, analyzing and evaluating your emotions, you become more aware of the things you like and the ones you want to improve about your EQ.
This goes hand in hand with a better ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals. Daily writing in a journal helps you identify new goals and keep track of them, change them or work harder to accomplish them. It’s also a chance to constantly adjust your way towards your goals as you analyze the daily progress.
Writing daily helps you become more disciplined. Following one routine leads to being able to follow some other ones that contribute to your health, well-being, job success and achieving your goals. Being able to write every morning or evening in your journal will give you the confidence you can also eat breakfast every day. Or exercise 3 times a week and make that dreadful call each time you need to.
By writing your experiences from the previous day, you re-live them. And this is a great opportunity to reassess some of the judgements you’ve made that might be wrong. Or heal from strong negativity. You can release stress and anxiety and also boost your self-confidence while remembering the positive experiences. That’s why journaling is one of the methods I recommend to overcome anxiety and depression, if you are facing them. It helps getting all the worrisome thoughts out of your system, every day. And it leaves your mind ready to move on or find solutions.
Journaling also helps boosting your creativity. Artists use this method to force themselves to be disciplined enough to take the time, every day, to write down ideas. A method they use is called Morning Pages, and it basically means to write 3 pages every morning, with no interruption and no editing. On paper, not on a computer. You need to write 3 pages in order to overcome mind censorship and blockage, and reach the creative flow. Why first thing in the morning? It is considered to be the most creative time, as the mind is not yet fully awake and able to rationalize every thought.
In order for journaling to work for you, you need to make it a daily routine. Choose a time you can dedicate to this. Take 30 minutes, be alone, play some music, and start writing. Can be one page, or three pages of you want to follow the Morning Pages recipe.
But you need to use pen and paper, not a computer or a tablet. Writing with your hand helps connecting better with the brain. As you need to write slower, you allow more time to think and make connections.
Become clear on the why, the reason you want to do this. Is it to record and track a goal, is it to develop your EQ or get rid of anxiety or depression? Or is it because you really want to become more creative on what you’re doing?
Then, decide on what you are going to write about. Is it daily activities, decisions, feelings, biggest fears and also allowing your brain to rant, explore, create and process freely. You can pick them all, or write about what comes to your mind every day. Ready to give it a try?
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