You Should Keep a Journal -- For Real!
Journaling has become increasingly popular in recent years, as people turn to it for its therapeutic and creative potential. It's almost like writing in your diary as a young teen or adult, but sometimes with more structure, more chaos, and about various subjects too.
There's no single, correct way to journal. That depends entirely on you, your preferences, and your intentions for the journal, which could range from using your journal to organize your thoughts or as a manuscript for your next creative endeavor.
No matter how you decide to use it, however, there are some undeniable benefits of journaling on the regular, and here's why you should consider starting this habit:
It's a form of excellent stress relief for you
There's nothing quite like unloading all your stress and worries onto a sheet of paper and using that pent-up energy and frustration to weave out sentences and words with your pen. It's amazing how expressing yourself, and your emotions can feel like such a relief, and writing in your journal has the power to do that for you! You're free to express your deepest emotions, your wildest thoughts, and truly free your mind from everything that's weighing it down. You get to rid yourself of the stressors and distractions and pour them onto the pen and paper.
Don't undermine the importance of stress relief, especially via journaling, because it's been proven to benefit those who regularly participate in this activity. A 2011 study highlighted the benefits of journaling for mental health and stress management, finding a positive correlation between them.
You get to untangle and organize your thoughts
Let's be honest: sitting with your thoughts is painful, awkward, confusing, and overwhelming.
Sometimes our thoughts are far too loud, confusing, and mixed up, and it's impossible to make sense of them. You might not be able to communicate them to people around you either. Journaling gives you a space to organize your thoughts by writing things out.
Is something upsetting you, but you're not sure what or why? Journaling could reveal triggers and patterns and some insight into this.
Other times, journaling just helps you move past the emotional high and intensity that you may be feeling so that you're able to see things fall into place. Another study from 2005 shows the physical and mental health benefits of journaling, and how as a practice, it's incredible for dealing with anxiety and racing thoughts.
Use paper and ink to draw, write, spill out whatever is on your mind, and soon enough, some iota of truth will dawn on you.
It helps you reflect and think about the positives
Apart from dealing with your stressors and triggers and processing all your heightened emotions, journaling also helps you focus on the positives. You'll find that there are several ways to start journaling for positivity, practicing gratitude, and expressing yourself. The more consistent you are with practicing gratitude via journaling, the more likely you are to begin reflecting on the upsides of your day, the good things that happen, and develop a happier, more positive outlook on life.
You can use the same journal consistently or create a specific gratitude journal that tracks positive incidents, emotions, and prompts that make you feel good.
You get to introspect and learn more about yourself
As you write, express, and emote, you also introspect. Introspection is very important when you're working on yourself because it gives you a glimpse into the real, authentic, unfiltered you. This version of yourself may not have a chance to show up when you're navigating through the world or performing various roles, whether it's that of a spouse, parent, child, boss, employee, student, etc.
Through regular writing and self-reflective journaling, you have the opportunity to learn more about who you are and what you want, especially when nobody is looking. This may sound almost sinister like you're faking a persona before the rest of the world--but that's not true.
It's more about watching how you grow from the things you learn and understand about yourself, the changes that emerge, and have written proof of your thoughts and reactions to different situations.
Journaling is great for setting and achieving goals
Suppose you have personal and professional goals that you want to achieve, but you're not sure where to begin. Journaling is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable, track your progress, and keep your goals in mind. It's also perfect for mapping out how your goals evolve and change as you grow too.
Whether that goal is to lose weight, get a promotion, or secure a new job, setting reminders, goals, and waiting to achieve those goals will make a powerful reminder of what you're striving toward. On days you're ready to throw in the towel and call it quits, these reminders, although seemingly insignificant, will be what draw you out of the darkness.
Nobody needs to hear, read, or see what's inside
The best part about all of this is that nobody at all needs to know what's inside your journal. Nobody needs to see those rants or ugly thoughts and feelings that rear their head. Nobody has to see you struggle to communicate your desires or read that rough draft of your next big break. It's private, it's safe, and it's completely judgment-free.
Journaling is a great exercise for writers, creatives, and just about anyone with a working mind. You can stick to pen and paper or start a digital journal. You can set the intention for your journal in any way you please too.
Treat your journal like your most prized possession--because it will be soon enough!
This guest post was written by Reid Champagne, a top American humorist with an affinity for funny travel, romance, and story writing. On his blog, he shares glimpses of his life, with parts of wisdom, reflection, and humor. He talks about travel, relationships, cooking, and, more importantly, eating, day trips, lifestyle, and more. He's also just released a book, An American Walkabout, which can be purchased via Amazon.