Ahh, the good old journal. Many of us begin keeping a journal from a young age, but rarely are any of us able to sustain the habit. We go from half-filled journal to half-filled journal, each New Year making a resolution to finally stick to the routine of writing in a diary, yet somehow life always ends up getting in the way and it ends up abandoned.
At the same time, there are many of us who have never kept a journal in our life. Perhaps you’d never considered it, or you just didn’t see the appeal. Journals are for teenage girls, right? That’s where you’re wrong. A journal is no ‘dear diary’ feat, it can be the gateway to achieving your goals, completing daily tasks, and getting your life in order. Whether it’s a daily planner, an organiser, a journal for your thoughts, or a journal for work, there are many ways that keep a journal can improve your life. In this article, we’ll look at some of the benefits of keeping a journal, and give you some ideas on journalling to get you started.
- It’s good for your mental health
Writing on a regular basis is good for you in many ways, but writing to release your thoughts, emotions, and ideas is even better. Keeping a journal has been shown to help with stress release, as writing about upsetting events in your life can help you to deal with them and overcome obstacles. In this study, it was found that people who wrote in a journal for 15-20 minutes on at least 3-5 occasions were able to deal with traumatic or stressful events. Writing about your day can also help you to go over the good things that happened, which would have otherwise gone forgotten were it not for journalling. As they say, count your blessings!
2. allows us to think more clearly
There’s a lot of clutter in our minds. Stresses at work, chores at home, dealing with the kids’ problems and all kinds of other things tend to cloud our head until we can’t think clearly. Keeping a journal can help us to make a sense of our daily reality in a way that’s free of the mind clutter that can otherwise distract us from seeing the truth. Writing down thoughts, emotions, and even day-to-day events can help us to look beneath the surface to the deeper picture, and have a clearer idea of what it is we want out of life, and how we truly feel about the things that are happening around us. It’s an easy way to bring some clarity to your life when you feel stuck.
3. It’s an easy way to keep track of goals
It’s easy enough to have a goal in mind, but to write it down in a journal is to set it in stone and begin to hold yourself accountable. Writing down our goals and keeping a journal can help us to keep track of our progress as we work towards completing the goal. While sometimes we may focus on all the ways we’re not achieving our goals, journalling can bring some clarity and remind us of the things we have achieved. At the same time, if you find yourself slacking off, journalling is a good way to hold yourself accountable as you’ll feel embarrassed to write down the fact that you haven’t been working hard, perhaps further encouraging you.
4. Your mind will be quieter
Like we mentioned before, our mind tends to have a lot of clutter. A lot of the time, that clutter will just stay there, until we do something to release it. For some people that might be jogging, for others it could be meditation or playing an instrument. And for others, journalling is a great way to release thoughts, emotions, and feelings, leaving the mind free to focus on other things. Unreleased emotions and stresses can have a bad impact on the body and our health, and journalling is just one of many ways you can help to release these feelings in a healthy manner.
5. You’ll get to know yourself better
It’s the age old question, “Who am I?” If you’re already an experienced journaler, then you’ll know how surprised you can be sometimes at the thoughts coming out of your mind. Journalling is a great way to peel back those surface thoughts and find the real you beneath. It can be a real eye opener to just turn off your mind and see what comes out.
So, you’ve seen the countless benefits of journalling. Whether that’s helping you reach your goals, clearing your mind, or helping you to release emotions, there’s no denying that journalling is a practice that can improve your life in a manner of ways. If you’re ready to give it a go, we’ve got a few ideas to get you started. But before we do that, keep in mind that the key to successful journalling is to not put any pressure on yourself to write everyday. Life always gets in the way, and don’t be hard on yourself if you abandon the practice for weeks at a time. Just pick it up where you left off, and voila, all is well!
- Morning journal – When you first wake up, take ten minutes to write down any goals and desires you have for the day ahead. What kind of emotions would you like to be projecting? What would you like to get out of the day? Make a few wishes, why not! At the end of the day, or the next morning, you can look over it and see how your day panned out. You might be surprised as to how simply beginning the day with a good attitude can lead to a wonderful day altogether.
- Goal & progress journal – This kind of journal can be used for both work or leisure purposes. Say you’d like to be better at yoga or painting, or you want to grow your business. You can use a journal to have a clear outline of your goals, setting them out in front of you, and keeping a record of the progress you make towards achieving your goal. Planners and organisers are best for this kind of journal.
- Gratitude journal – This is a beautiful journal that can really make a big difference in your day-to-day life. A gratitude journal is dedicated to remembering everything we’re grateful for each day. Before bed, write down at least five different things that you are grateful for that day. Whether that’s the sun shining, the delicious lunch you had, the lack of rush hour traffic on the way home, or the fact that you’re alive and breathing, write it down. It’s a great way to remember, during the most stressful of times, that life’s not so bad after all.