How Journaling Can Help You Right Now!

 

journal for emotional growth

I have journaled on and off my entire life, but I’ve put a whole lot more importance on journaling regularly during my adult life and as I began to meditate more. I find journals a great way to remember the good moments that I might otherwise forget, keep track of childhood memories I have that quickly fade back into the past and to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper so my brain can slow down a bit when I’m anxious. Wherever you’re at in life journaling can help you right now! If you want some prompts check out my journal prompts post right here.

Most of the time I just journal about my day, a good event that happened or to think through a situation I’m angry about, but journaling can also be a great resource to help you learn more about yourself. Just asking yourself questions you normally wouldn’t ask yourself and taking the time to write them down can allow you to find answers you wouldn’t find otherwise if you didn’t dedicate the time to some soul searching.

How can journaling help you right now?

journaling for your health

Mindfulness- This has definitely been a buzzword the last few years, but it’s been around much longer. Journaling allows you to focus solely on what you’re writing and thinking. Your thoughts are specifically on what you want to write next and what is going on in your mind. Frequently our thoughts are bouncing all around the place and we spend very little time stopping the stream of constant thoughts and simply pondering one thought at a time. I know that my mind is constantly running a to-do list through my brain and the act of journaling has definitely helped me slow down and learn more about myself.

Seeing Patterns- It wasn’t until I started journaling about the times I was upset that I started to notice a commonality in the majority of times I was angry. I could see that I would move so fast from what my real feeling was to anger that I didn’t even notice the underlying feelings and never had the chance to address them. By journaling I had the chance to see the commonality in the situations I was getting upset about and realize that anger was just a cover emotion and that I was actually hurt by the other person’s behavior and felt that the other person didn’t care about me. Being able to make this connection allowed me to address these issues and be able to address the actual issue with the person I was having an issue with instead of acting out of anger. As we all know, anger doesn’t get us very far when we’re trying to fix a problem with someone.

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence- I have been told that I’m pretty good at being emotionally aware and I would agree. It is definitely one of my strengths, however, everyone can improve and the amount of growth I’ve made in the last 6 months by journaling and meditating has astounded me. My growth has me applying for my masters, having deeper friendships and forging deeper relationships with my loved ones. I spend more time doing the activities that I know I enjoy and stopping those that just distract me like surfing the internet, etc. So if you think you’re already emotionally aware I challenge you to become even more emotionally aware.

Now for those who dislike even the slightest bit of emotion or see it as weakness this is going to be hard for you. You may not have even read this far. If you did read this far then congratulations! Spending time writing about your feelings and emotions when you are used to burying them deep down in a locked up box never to be heard from again (although that’s never quite true) can make journaling about them extremely uncomfortable. It usually gets worse before it gets better because journaling will feel like a chore and most people avoid uncomfortable experiences. I promise you though that the uncomfortable experience is worth the emotional growth and improved emotional intelligence. Try simply sitting down for five minutes a day at the beginning and just journaling about your day.

 

journaling for your health

Create a Healthy Habit- Lord knows I have enough bad habits like snacking late at night or biting my nails so it’s good to impart some good ones into my repertoire.  Like any habit, it takes time to make it a habit. So I challenge you for one month to take at least 5 minutes to make yourself journal. If you’re anything like me, this will soon become a habit as you see the good feelings that journaling produces and your morning or night will feel incomplete without it. Personally, I like having a physical journal because it gets me away from the computer and I can do it before bed to wind down, but whatever gets you journaling is the method you should follow. So if you know you’re more likely to journal at lunch time use an online journal like Penzu. If you want to read a more in-depth article about how one healthy habit can help every area of your life check out this one.

Help Your Anxiety- Journaling has been a life-changer for me in regards to my anxiety. I’m a person who feels like I constantly need to be doing something productive and if I’m not then I feel like I’m useless. That’s not only a negative underlying thought that I need to slowly work myself away from, but it also leads to a lot of my anxiety because I constantly find myself running over my to-do list in my head constantly. This stops me from being able to enjoy fun moments with my boyfriend or dinner with my family.  By journaling before bed I’m able to get my never-ending stream of thoughts out of my head and onto paper which helps quite a bit.

This also helps me when I’m in a stressful situation whether it’s a work issue or an argument with my significant other. Conflict tends to make my head spin and I end up babbling nonsense or just getting so angry I say something I don’t mean. Taking the time out to journal when I can helps me piece together my thoughts so that I can speak clearly and get my point across efficiently and it calms my anger down because I no longer feel like I’m in a heightened place of anxiety.

Determine What is Important to You- Typically what you write about the most is what is most important to you. I tend to journal a lot about my relationships with those around me, my issues with my health and eating disorder or problems at work. So this tells me that my relationships with other people are extremely important to me, that my health and eating disorders impact my life quite a bit and that my issues at work are a huge source of stress for me. When you can pinpoint these truths about yourself you can do something about them.

Find Your Truth- No one is completely honest with another person at all times. We frequently can’t even be honest with ourselves, but journaling is the closest you can get to having a completely honest relationship with yourself because the only one who is going to read it is you. You don’t need to keep up any sort of mask or false representation of yourself. You don’t have to worry if you’re boring or if you’ll hurt someone else’s feelings.

Before I applied for my masters one of the common themes in my journal was if I should apply or not and there was a ton of pros and cons that popped in during a lot of entries. I was able to read my previous entries and see one common theme in all of my cons. They were based in fear. I was terrified that my health would never be good enough that I could actually use my degree. I was scared that this wasn’t the right time because I wasn’t engaged or married. I felt that this was an adventure I could not take on my own. This made me realize it wasn’t finances or my health holding me back anymore; I was allowing my fears to hold me back. So I applied and now I’m waiting to hear if I got in. Without journaling I may have waited years to apply or never have done it at all.

Learn to be Your Own Best Friend- Sometimes I have a difficult time being alone by myself. I use games to distract myself or whatever else is on hand. By journaling I have been able to achieve a closer relationship with myself and see that while yes I have bad qualities I also have good ones. I have abandonment issues from childhood issues and learning to trust myself is one of the hardest journeys of my life. Chronic pain can be extremely isolating and trying to learn that you can depend on yourself is extremely difficult. This is the journey I’m on now and journaling has been invaluable. I don’t need others to hold my hand and tell me everything will be okay all the time because I can be my own best friend. Sure, it’s nice, but knowing that you can depend and nurture yourself will help you immensely wherever you’re at in life.

These are just a few of the many, many reasons that journaling is so fantastic for your personal growth and how journaling can help you right now. It gives you the ability to help yourself no matter where you’re at in life. Along with this and meditation I feel like I have made leaps and bounds in the last six month and you can too!

Sound out below if you have any journaling prompts you love or if journaling has made a huge difference for you. I would love to here from you! Just a reminder, check out my journaling prompts to learn about yourself right here!

Please share if you like what you read and keep the positivity going my lovely Buddha Belly readers!

 

 



37 Comments

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 11, 2017 / 11:00 pm

      Thanks so much!

  1. December 11, 2017 / 10:43 pm

    Such good advice. I started a journal as part of my yoga practice. The key for me is to set a timer so you only journal 5-10 minutes a day. Otherwise it is too much to process. Very much has helped me to be mindful. Have you seen the research on how writing with pen (as opposed to typing) also helps with anxiety?

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 11, 2017 / 10:59 pm

      Doing it as part of your yoga practice if a phenomenal idea, Shelia! I like the idea of the timer too. I tell myself to at least journal for 5-10 minutes and I always end up going longer, but usually for me that’s better. I actually came across some interesting research in how pen to paper is more cathartic than typing it on a computer. The same goes for affirmations. They aren’t nearly as effective if you type them out vs writing them by hand.

  2. December 11, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    I have anxiety and I know it’s beneficial to me when I do take the time to journal, I just need to get to the point where I’m consistent. I sure as hell have enough empty journals to do so lol

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 11, 2017 / 10:57 pm

      I was a total journal hoarder before I made a point of actually writing in them so I definitely understand. Now I’m almost done with my third and have actually filled them all up!

  3. December 11, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    This is fantastic. I have journalled before but had to stop for a bit but you are so right. It’s a great way to know yourself.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 11, 2017 / 11:01 pm

      It definitely is. It was so important for me to make it a habit at first because I tend to let things fall by the wayside. I made a note in my planner to myself to make sure that I do it and I checked it off each night. Now my evening doesn’t feel complete unless I write a little bit.

  4. December 11, 2017 / 11:10 pm

    I didn’t know journaling could be so beneficial. I just might think about trying it now.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      Stay tuned because I’ll be coming out with some prompts soon too!

  5. December 12, 2017 / 12:33 am

    I started journaling when I was 12. Unfortunately, one evening while very pregnant, I burned all my journals… eeks! Not sure why, I think at the time I thought I was writing a new book about my life… and my childhood and teenagerhood was difficult – perhaps I wanted to relieve myself of my past… anyhow – water under the bridge. It would have served me well when my girls were going through very alike experiences growing up… I’ve since written journals for them – – and at times, for me! Thanks for sharing those great points.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      Aw, that’s such a loss to lose all that information about yourself, but I definitely understand pregnancy hormones if they’re anything like PMS. That’s a really great idea for your girls. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever have kids. You’re too sweet!

  6. December 12, 2017 / 1:00 am

    I also dabbled with journaling for years. I liked the thought of it but was never consistent with my practice. I have been journaling first thing in the morning the last couple of months and I really enjoy it. I find it helps put me in the right mindset to start my day. Interesting read!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      I definitely need to either do that or some yoga in the morning. My new year’s resolution for this coming year is to get up 20 minutes earlier to do some journaling/meditation/yoga and make my morning smoothies!

  7. December 12, 2017 / 8:06 am

    Journaling is part of my morning ritual. I’m still amazed by the benefits.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      That’s awesome. Doing a couple things in the morning to get me started off on a good note is definitely going to be on my New Year’s Resolution. I am so not a morning person, but how you start your day is so important. So I applaud you!

  8. December 12, 2017 / 10:50 am

    This is a wonderful article, thank you so much for writing it and going into such depth, it’s really helped me understand why people rave about journaling. I’m not sure where to start but I’m ready to give it a go! With very many thanks

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 4:00 pm

      Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m coming out with some awesome journaling prompts so stay tuned!

  9. December 12, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    Writing is soooo therapeutic for me. I actually made A 365 prompt journal for m boyfriend last Christmas so that he’d have a reason to write too!!

  10. December 12, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I really love the way you look at journaling! I have been doing it for most of my life, on and off like you, and this post gave me happy memories. I used to journal about the good things, about my secret dreams, hopes for the future, etc etc I have just realized that except for when writing about my travels, most off my writings have been venting the bad onto paper. I have 5 sisters I can do that with! I am starting today with keeping it positive !!!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 12, 2017 / 5:34 pm

      I like it! I like to have an even balance of the good and bad. I definitely try to write what I’m grateful about each day. Stay tuned for some journal prompts that I’ll be posting soon!

  11. December 12, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    Totally inspired to go buy a journal right now!! I always feel like I’m forgetting so many wonderful moments!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 13, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Aw, yay! I know! Every time I remember something cool from my past I’m like oh man gotta write it down. I also take a ton of photos.

  12. December 12, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    Journaling is a huge part of my life as well. Great read!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 13, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      Thanks so much!

  13. December 13, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    I started journaling my day to day activities, though a struggle when got very busy, and tired of all the days chores. I want to complete a month not skipping a day.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 13, 2017 / 4:08 pm

      Best of luck. Try coming up with a reward for yourself if you meet all the days and having someone hold you accountable. Those tricks work really well for me!

  14. December 14, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    I have the kids journal when we travel. Not just to comment on what they see but also how they feels about it. Really adds to their learning and incorporate it into their self.

    Natalie

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      That is an amazing idea! I would have loved to have done that as a kid and have that now!

  15. December 14, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    Me reading this article today is so meant to be. I actually went out and bought myself a journal today. A gorgeous purple one. I have so much on my mind and so many goals for 2018 that I want to document.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Congratulations! It’s kismet. I’m so glad you enjoy journaling!

  16. December 15, 2017 / 12:17 am

    I used to journal all the time and then I started my own blog, so that sort of took the place of it. I would admit to you that I’m in a journal drop out in the writing in a book sense, but I do miss it now that I’ve read your post. There’s just something about letting the words flow out through your fingers and onto paper. For me, it was super helpful in getting me out of my head! I recommend it to everyone, even if I don’t do it the traditional way anymore! Great post!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 15, 2017 / 2:24 am

      I can completely understand that. I am very personal in my blog so it can at time take the place of my journaling, but I love the freedom that comes with not writing for anyone but myself.

  17. December 15, 2017 / 3:52 am

    I really like your point about emotional intelligence and understanding yourself better – I noticed the same thing! There are certain patterns to my behavior and moods (and my interactions with other people!) that I hadn’t been aware of before writing and journaling. It really is a great tool for reflection!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 15, 2017 / 3:33 pm

      It really is. The US has such a go, go, go mentality so being able to sit back and reflect can be so important. We really aren’t taught to be able to find patterns in our own behavior and I think through journaling we can sometimes be our own best teachers.

  18. December 19, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    Wow I LOVE LOVE this! Journaling is such an amazing way to let yourself go, going to pick up my journal tonight and give myself some self love and me time!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      December 19, 2017 / 6:23 pm

      Best of luck! I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me!

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