Keeping a journal can be one of the most powerful tools for working through issues, unburdening your problems and connecting with your inner self. It can give you a quiet space to find your voice in a noisy world. It’s easy to feel undermined by social media or your Inner Critic telling you what you ‘should’ be doing, how you’ll never get there and generally that you’re not good enough. Journaling can help quell those loud outsiders and focus on what’s important. You.
Journaling is more than a diary…
Studies have shown:
- People who journal experience better moods.
- Journaling helps to reduce stress.
- Regular journaling is an effective tool to fight depression and anxiety.
- People who journal don’t get sick as often.
- Journaling can even help people to fight disease, including cancer, AIDS, and asthma.
- Healing from medical procedures occurs faster in people who journal as opposed to those who don’t.
Here are some prompts to help you get started writing a journal.
- What do I write about?
The famous ‘tyranny of the blank page’ can be off-putting. But accept that feeling and commit to writing whatever comes into your head for ten or fifteen minutes. Set a time and write whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t matter if it’s not Pulitzer Prize-winning prose, it’s about getting into the writing flow. It’s okay to start by writing “I don’t know what to write about,” or even “I don’t want to write about my job.” By getting that reluctance out of your head and on the page, you’ve already cleared the way to start to resolve the issue.
- What feels good right now?
Journaling about the good things in your life can help reset your focus on the positives around you. It’s easy to get stuck on the things you don’t like, but how often do you take time to write down what is good? Think of the last thing that made you smile, or the highlight of your last vacation, write down the big stuff and the small. Start a list you can come back to when you’re not feeling so good.
- List your good qualities
Most people tend to focus on the things they don’t like about themselves. Forgetting that everyone is a mix of talents and flaws. Write down ten things that are great about you. What makes you special? Do you have you a green thumb? Do you make great slide presentations? Do dogs and little kids gravitate towards you? Are you funny, helpful, insightful, compassionate? Make a list that will make you smile when you go back to it.
- Talk with your older self
Imagine yourself as a wise, experienced older person. Someone who has seen good times and bad, who has weathered the ebbs and flows of life. Project into the future and ask future-you for advice on how to live your best life. What should you concentrate on? What should you avoid?
In terms of self-help, there are few things quite so life-changing as journaling…
Jim Rohn said,
“A life worth living is a life worth recording.”
Keeping a journal may give you a place to record your thoughts, but over and above that, you can analyze where you are, where you are going and where you have been.
While it might be easy to understand the benefits of journaling, actually starting writing can be a little more complicated. That’s where people usually struggle.
Getting started journaling doesn’t have to be difficult though…
Fortunately, there are quite a few tips and tricks to ease the path for those who want to learn the remarkable power of journaling. One easy way to help the process is to start themed journals – you already know what you want to write about, so you’ve overcome the biggest hurdle.
Given the outstanding rewards of journaling and the ease with which an individual can realise life-changing possibilitiesit’s no surprise journalling is so popular. There are few easier or cheaper ways to achieve these remarkable results.
By writing about your day, you’re able to step back and gain a better perspective of what’s going on.
- Start by writing about the event itself. What happened? Write down as much detail as possible.
- Next, write down your thoughts or beliefs you associate with that particular event. What were your thoughts at the time?
- Last, ask yourself what happened because of those thoughts. How did those thoughts impact your actions?
A little perspective goes a long way in helping to unravel what’s going on and find the solutions to the problems.
Maybe there’s an action you need to take, or perhaps you need to address your emotional response.
Whatever the case, writing will get you there.
Your Turn to Write: What’s something you would tell your teenage self that you realize now but didn’t at the time? How do you think it would have changed things if you’d know what you do now?