Journaling

How Journaling Improves Your Life

Discover Journaling Benefits

How you keep your journal, be it pen and paper or digitally is less important, but just as personal a decision as what you record. You can record the events of your days, plan a vacation, analyze your dreams, remember your gratitude, or use a bullet journal to organize your life. Journals can help you capture your thoughts, plot out your future career path, or provide light-bulb moments of clarity for a better understanding of yourself.


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As well as decluttering your mind, keeping a journal can have many other benefits. Here are four important ones.

 

1.     Stress reduction

By putting your feelings on paper, you acknowledge your stress rather than ignoring it. All those anxieties and worries stop swirling inside your head, allowing you to step back and view from another perspective the things that are troubling you. It can even help with problem-solving!

 

2.     Improved mental health

Journaling is often recommended by psychologists and therapists. Journaling helps you to work through the issues that come up in your therapy sessions, supporting and complementing the healing process. It can be a powerful tool in removing psychological blockages. And, once you feel better, burning or throwing that journal away, can feel positively liberating.

 

3.     Improving your cognitive skills

Your journaling habit helps your brain to function more efficiently. Studies have shown that the act of writing strengthens the learning process and stores facts and concepts more firmly in your memory. Writing helps to develop new neural pathways in your brain, connecting new information with data already stored in your memory.

 

4.     Goal achievement

Studies have found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! Journaling gives you the space to work through ideas, setting out the details and the possibilities. Writing about the process helps you to track progress, so you can see how close you're getting to achieving your goal or where you may need to pivot instead to reach that goal.

The habit of keeping a journal gives you a physical and mental discipline and focus that will influence other areas of your life. Writing down your goals and aspirations gives you a strong motivation to achieve them!

In the journal I am at ease.
— Anais Nin


Activate Your Creativity

Keeping a journal is not just recording the events of your life or how you’re feeling. It can be a way of supporting your creative life. It’s a low risk, private as you want, way of writing down your brilliant thoughts, your ideas, your dreams, and your resolves.  And once allowed to soar, there’s no telling what sort of creative magic your mind will come up with.

It can be very instructive to read the journals of writers, artists, and actors and get an insight into how they used journaling to grow and develop in their field.

 

Here are five ways that keeping a journal can enhance your creativity.

 

1.     Capture your ideas

Between the pages of your journal, you can keep safe all those ideas that are just beginning to form, that are not quite ready to be explored on canvas or turned into a short story, book or article.

 

2.     Ignore your inner critic

Journaling can help hush your inner critic, that little voice that polices all your thoughts and ideas. Research has shown that when you write without expectation of an outcome, the part of your mind that acts as a sensor steps aside and lets you get on with it. Journaling, free writing or morning pages allow you to write for the sake of it, no editing, no agonizing. And that frees up your creative flow!

 

3.     Find your voice

Journaling is freeform, messy writing. No one is going to read it, so you can feel free to test out and build your own voice rather than copy someone else. It’s a time to experiment, explore styles, and not worry about what doesn’t work.

 

4.     Create new ideas

As you get into the creative flow of journaling, you free your mind to bring forth new ideas. The process makes space for ideas to well up, ideas you may not have had if you were trying too hard. And there’s no commitment to take any of them further unless you want to, and it feels right.

 

5.     You choose what is important

Your journal is yours and yours alone. You can write down your secret fears; you can write your truth. Once it’s down on paper, then you can decide if you want to do anything with it. You can take aspects of your truth and turn them into a poem or a painting. Journaling gives you practice in acknowledging and embracing your truth. And your art will sing more authentically because of it.

 

Create A Journal Jar 

You may have bought yourself a beautiful journal, all ready to get going. But maybe it’s hard to start. Perhaps it’s hard to think of what to write. After all, you don’t want to spoil that beautiful new notebook.

Help yourself get into the habit of journaling by creating journal prompts, and making your own journal jar, using these five easy steps.

 

1.     Find a suitable jar. You can use anything, a mason jar, cookie jar or a vase.

2.     Then write down the prompts suggested below onto slips of paper and put them in the jar.

3.     Whenever you’re stuck for journaling ideas, just pull out a prompt.

4.     Set your kitchen timer for thirty minutes.

5.     Put your prompt in front of you and simply write down whatever comes into your mind.

Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

 

Lists

Start easy by making lists. You can write as little or as much as you want under each listing.

1.     Dream vacation destinations

2.     Best meals you’ve had and where you ate them

3.     Favorite movies

4.     Favorite books

5.     Favorite songs

6.     Top goals to achieve this year, in five years, in ten years

Reveal

1.     Something people don’t know about you

2.     Things you wish you had done

3.     Your secret desires

4.     The most outrageous thing you’ve ever done

5.     Biggest gamble you’ve ever made (this could be a career, relationship, travel – anything that felt risky)

6.     Letter to someone you’ve wronged

What if

1.     If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

2.     If you could meet any fictional character(s), who would they be?

3.     If you could host a dinner party with anyone from history or fiction, who would you invite?

4.     If you could go back in time and fix anything, what would you choose?

5.     If you could change one thing about yourself right now, what would it be?

6.     If you could make money doing what you love, what would that be?

It’s the little things

It’s easy to think of the big things you love in your life, what about the little things? Like maybe the way your dog greets you when you come home, or the narcissi that bloom without fail every spring? Think across every part of your life.

1.     Family members

2.     Pets

3.     Movies

4.     Books

5.     Food

6.     Activities

7.     Nature

8.     Home

Take a backward look

Try to think as widely as you can, from managing to get the early bus to trying a new recipe or meeting your exercise goals.

1.     Write down all the things that made you feel good.

2.     What did you learn this week?

3.     What did you achieve?

4.     What promises did you keep?

5.     What were you grateful for?

 

I hope this post encourages you to begin your own journaling habit. In many ways, it is one of the most rewarding and empowering habits you can adopt.

 

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