Have you ever had a journal with lovely smooth paper, a favorite writing pen, and a quiet spot to write to your hearts content? There’s nothing like the feeling of words flowing out of you and onto paper.
Add a cup of tea and maybe some scrumptious chocolate and you have a moment of pure bliss.
There is something therapeutic and cleansing about the act of journaling. What a relief of getting all the jumbled thoughts and ideas out of your head, saved and preserved, not forgotten or lost in the back of your mind somewhere.
I’ve often called my journaling “my personal therapist”. As I write, I have aha moments and can get to the root of something I have been struggling with personally.
But why should you journal? LOTS of reason, here are just a few…
Journaling for Stress Management
One way I can tell that my stress levels have started to skyrocket is the increased desire to sit and write my heart out. The higher the stress the more intense the desire.
There is a calming effect that happens when you take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
The physical act of writing out what is going on at that moment, what you are feeling, how you reacted to a situation or simply writing down all the swirling thoughts in your head, can slow you down and help you think before you act.
It can also help you release pent up emotions that you might not be ready to share verbally and the slow release as you write will make a big difference in how you feel.
In your journaling you will probably start to notice patterns in behavior and get to know yourself even better. You will start figuring out why you react certain ways and explore new habits and new ways to react.
This type of journaling gives you a private place to dump it all out. It is NOT a time worry about editing, grammar, spelling or even readability. This is a time to let the pen flow.
Journaling to Remember
There are days when I am in complete overwhelm. So much is going on that I can’t even think straight or know what needs to be done next. With so much going on you can get to a point where it hurts to try and cram one more thing or remember one more detail.
This is where a brain dump comes into play. Time to dump it all out onto paper so you don’t have to try to remember.
A brain dump is basically a huge long list of stuff. Not in any order or sequence, just a list of anything that comes to mind. As your list grows you will remember even more things, new ideas, additional steps to a project that you hand’t thought of before.
After the fact you’re brain will most likely thank you and you will probably lean back in your chair with a huge sigh of relief. This type of journaling is also a way to reduce stress – no more stressing out trying to remember every detail.
With this list you can go back and organize what you wrote, create priorities and see what can be saved until later.
The Gratitude Journal
Journaling can be as simple as a daily routine of writing out 3-5 things you are grateful for. In the midst of chaos, depression, and high stress situations a gratitude list may be one of the easiest and most important things you can do that day.
This list is a reminder that there are things to appreciate and that there are blessings around us that we often take for granted. This simple act can often turn a bad day into a good one by changing your focus and mindset.
The Prayer Journal
Confession time. When I close my eyes to pray in the morning, sometimes I start to fall asleep! So I turned my journaling time into a prayer time. Writing keeps me engaged and awake, I look forward to this time of quiet reflection before I start my day.
Other Benefits of Journaling
- Help track your progress in going after goals
- Increase your creativity
- Get clarity on an important decision
- Explore emotions that are confusing you
- Track emotional and physical responses to food in a food journal
What to Use As Your Journal
For me since I am on the computer all day long, I prefer pen and paper most of the time. But, there are many who prefer typing on a keyboard. It could be a simple text doc on your laptop, an app on your tablet or something online like 750Words.com.
Sometimes typing is a faster better way to keep up with the speed of thought, go for it! Whatever works best for you.
Journaling has been one of my favorite tools for years. A tool for self-discovery, capturing thoughts, brilliant (or not) ideas, brainstorms, outlining a project, or writing a narrative of my goals and where I am headed in my business. I’m not as consistent as I should be, but when I am what a difference it makes in my life both personally and professionally.
Earlier this year I participated in Jeff Goins’ 500 Word Challenge and I almost made it! Missed only a couple of days. It was a great experience and put me on a good path as I needed to get back into a regular blogging and journaling routine.