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?
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.
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!