The Power of Journaling
How can a simple act of taking a pen and a piece of paper and starting to write things down can help you improve your psychological well-being and increase the quality of your life?
There are quite a few ways in which #journaling can help you do that. When you start journaling you will:
1. Get to know yourself better.
Journaling helps you get to know yourself better by becoming aware of your thinking patterns. The way you think affects the way you feel. The way you feel affects the way you make decisions and the way you act. Your actions, in turn, define the quality of all of the areas of your life (be it your relationship, your physical health, your finance and so on).
By becoming aware of your thinking patterns and changing them you will be able to feel differently and make healthier decisions. Therefore, the quality of your life will start to improve.
Journaling can help you make a start on getting to the bottom of your issues. For example, your anxiety, levels of stress, trauma. Once you start writing things down, your thought patterns will start unravelling, enabling you to identify the unhealthy and unhelpful ones. You may realise that the way you responded to a certain situation didn`t help it`s resolution or the way you have imagined a relationship to be was an unrealistic expectation and so on.
If your pattern/ programming was created in your childhood by a significant adult in your life, you can re-experience the event from an adult perspective and see how it changes the power of that situation.
When you start writing, remember to reflect on the situation freely. Don`t stop yourself to judge a certain thought. Let it all come out. The whole point of journaling is to not overthink it, to not judge your thoughts and feelings. The whole point of journaling is to get to know yourself better, just as you are. There are no right or wrong thoughts or feelings; they just are.
2. Declutter your mind and reduce stress.
If sometimes you feel like there is just too much going on, write it down. Reflect on the following questions: how am I feeling right now? What am I afraid of? What is bothering me? What would I feel like if that situation has resolved itself? Pick one question and just write it all out. As you do that, your mind will be able to have some breathing space and you would be able to relax. You will not have to hold all of that information that keeps you awake at night all in your mind. You will have it on paper instead. And when it`s on paper you can actually do something about it; it would also feel less overwhelming.
3. Encourage and empower #creativity.
When we feel #worried, #anxious or #afraid, our creativity is stifled. We are only able to focus on what is not working - on the problem. We suppress our feelings. We don`t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just go round in circles inside that problem. We are not getting anything new out of that cycle. It just makes us feel more hopeless and powerless with each day it occupies our minds.
Journaling is a breath of fresh air that gives way to your creative side, which all of us have. We need that creative side to solve our problems effectively. It`s that creative energy that makes us think of different ways of improving our live and different ways of relating to ourselves.
4. Solve problems more effectively
Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
5. Track your goals
If you are feeling stuck when it comes to achieving a certain #goal, journaling can help you get to the bottom of the issue by making you aware of your thought pattern around the topic. Sometimes we put up the berries and obstacle subconsciously. When you start writing about your feelings and experiences, you get to recognise those self-imposed barriers and therefore would have a better chance of removing them.
Journaling can also give some perspective when it comes to your #achievements. If you write things down on your way to accomplishing your goal and reflect regularly on your milestones, you can easily go back to the beginning of your journal and see how much you have achieved within a specific period of time. It is especially helpful on days when you don`t feel your best. This way you can cheer yourself on by acknowledging your hard work and achievement. Rather than berate yourself for not doing enough.
You can #journal about anything. Your money, relationships with your children, your past relationships, your job. Anything. Any area of your life. Remember, it is not a diary. Don`t just list the events that happened and what was said. Engage with it emotionally. Let your feelings flow. Don`t criticise anything that comes out, just let it come out. As it is.
You can either just start writing about anything that comes to mind. Or you can give yourself a question and journal.
You will feel the benefits of it even after the first time you do it. Doing it consistently will be life-changing. I journal regularly and encourage my clients to do so in between sessions. Most of them find it really helpful. Give it a go today. If you don`t know where to start, just ask yourself: how am I feeling right now? Go for it, see what comes out.