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Surprising Benefits Journaling Can Offer You
A journal is a tool for self-discovery and growth. There are many, many things you could write What is appropriate? Anything in the universe . You are completely free when writing in your journal. You don’t have to be nice or funny or entertaining.
You can use your journal to track your goals, de-stress, and develop your dreams. The act of writing things down allows us to reflect and can lead to a better understanding of ourselves, which can help you communicate more effectively.
Still not convinced journaling is for you? Check out the benefits below.
Consider Starting a Journal for these reasons:
1. Enjoy the process of creating. Whether you write a letter you will never send, a poem, or use writing as a way to work through your ideas and feelings creating something is fascinating and rewarding. The process of taking a thought, expanding on it, and editing is a journey that changes your life (or at least entertains. you for a while!).
2. To purge your emotions. If you are overwhelmed, livid, despondent, or feeling anything at all you can write about it and lose yourself in the process of choosing the right words. When you re-read what you have written you may be surprised by the perspective you have on what happened and you may have a better understanding of what actually triggered that emotion.
3. To become a better writer. You can’t do that without writing. Period.
4. It Feels Good! Whether you are venting, breaking down your goals, or just enjoying the process of writing and the joy of language this one speaks for itself.
5. To plan and strategize. When you come up with your many brilliant ideas you can plan out all of the details of the ebook you are writing, your ideal December playlist, your new workout routine, etc .
6. To track and monitor progress toward your goals. This is the most crucial step in creating goals you will actually achieve. You want to break up your big dream into several trackable mini-goals. Then break each chunk into smaller daily or weekly goals. The goal needs to be realistic. Most people don’t have two hours per day to workout. It also needs to be specific and measurable (i.e 30 mins of journaling versus just writing in your journal).
7. To encourage reflection. The unexamined life is really not worth living. When was the last time you made time to reflect on what really matters in your life?
8. To keep your thoughts organized. The act of writing your thoughts down will help you remember key points and when you are re-reading your journal later you will find inspiration.
9. To Relieve Stress. The act of expressing yourself without fear of judgement or censure and the act of recording your thoughts will help you relax and think more clearly.
10. You will have a place to store your ideas and thoughts quickly when you are on the go. Some of your most valuable ideas may come from things you scribbled in the margins.
What Should You Write?
Here are a few things you might want to include:
- Lists. Top Ten ways to get out of doing housework,what you would buy if you made one million dollars, grocery lists, lists of what you want to accomplish this week or month or year, lists of beautiful and pointless things.
- Write down poems or quotes or passages you want to remember. A sweet sense of nostalgia can be yours as you look back over all the things you used to love. You can make a book of things that made you feel alive or things you wish you had written. In six months when a specific quote you used to know is haunting you and you can’t find it you can simply grab your journal.
- Ideas. Your journal is an awesome way to record your idea for the next Greatest American Novel, the greatest joke ever told, or a snippet of a poem in seconds before it is lost forever.
- Record emotional outbursts. Writing can be a way to purge your emotions. If someone really pisses you off, write them a letter in your journal. You will feel better and have a better understanding of what you are feeling and what you want to do about it. I personally usually calm down after finding the right words to express myself.
- Write a poem. Write a short story. Start writing a book. The process of writing is it’s own reward. You will feel alive. You will become a better writer. You will have fun.
- Notes on things you have researched, words you have looked up, books you want to read, recipes you want to try.
What notebook and writing utensils should I use?
I could go on and on but those are just a few things I use my journal for. In terms of the journal itself, you can used a handmade journal, an inexpensive spiral notebook, an electronic document on your phone or computer, or a combination of all of the above. Again, the important thing is to write.
If you prefer to keep everything digital, I adore the free OneNote app. It is easy to make sections and to customize every detail of your journal. You can also sync your writing across multiple devices and log in anywhere.
If you prefer a physical book like I sometimes do, here are my top picks:
What should I write on the all-important first page?
The first page of your journal can be a bit intimidating. You can write “journals are stupid and I love them” in your fanciest cursive or copy down a favorite quote or song that’s been running through your mind. I also like to copy down a section out of a favorite book or poem.
Now that you have that first step out of the way you are free to write anything.
Help! I can’t think of anything to write!
If you can’t think of anything to write, try one of the following prompts.
- Write a letter. Write to your significant other, your past self, your future self, your boss, a dead celebrity. Offer unwanted advice. Tell them how you really feel. Try your hand at a love letter to your favorite cereal or your favorite author or the man who lives in the apartment below you.
- Think about a goal you want to accomplish. What are the benefits? How long will it take? What is the first step? Plan it out and get started. Track your progress.
- Make a list. Try ten books or songs that saved my life. Ten reasons why being an adult sucks or rules. Ten secrets. Ten reasons why I love you. Ten reasons I love or hate lists.
- Respond to something you have read. Rewrite a scene from a book you are reading. Write a review. Write a rant. Expand on ideas or concepts that stood out to you. Write character biographies.
I personally have found keeping a journal to be beneficial in all of the ways listed in this article. If you have always wanted to start a journal, what are you waiting for? Dig up some writing materials and write now.
If you have any stories about your experiences journaling, share them in the comments below. If you haven’t started yet, let me know what is stopping you!