5 Benefits of Journaling and How to Do It
Journaling either as a daily ritual or when your feeling stressed has been shown to have many benefits. It can help calm and clear your mind and help you deal with any negative or anxious thoughts. It can help you release and let go of any stress you’ve experienced throughout the day, and it can even help you to become more aware of what you struggle with each day. This is called emotional intelligence, the ability to perceive and manage your emotions, and that of others. This emotional intelligence helps us use empathy with others and can create deeper connections.
Journaling helps optimize your creative potential. By concentrating on outputs of creativity in your spare time instead of inputs from facebook or instagram, you are allowing your creativity to expand. Journaling can be the start of this creative potential.
That act of writing information down increases our ability to retain knowledge, specifically handwriting, not typing, handwriting increases brain and memory development. When you are listening to someone speak your brain doesn’t discern important from unimportant. However writing down what you have heard or read makes you think about what is important and writing it down in your own words, so you can understand it, cements it in your memory.
Journaling can also accelerate your ability to meet goals. By reviewing and honing your big picture goals and plans through journaling, you are helping yourself further these goals. Writing about your goals and plans keeps them in the front of your mind and helps you stay motivated and also track your progress. You can correct yourself faster if you are checking in with your goals on a daily schedule. I write my “Big Idea” goal out each day in my bullet journal along with my next logical step and action that I need to do that day to move towards the next logical step. I find this keeps me focused on my plan and I don’t stray from it as often as I used to. You can even create a goal or habit tracker in your journal to track the progress of your goals.
Lastly there is even scientific studies that say that journaling helps your immune system. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes, and decreases symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
As you can see there are many benefits to be had by journaling it’s just learning ways to do it and making it a habit.
How to start journaling
There are many styles of journaling, and I won’t talk about the general writing about your day type of journaling, other than it is stress relieving to be able to write about what you did and didn’t go right in your day. You don’t need much in the way of equipment to journal either, just a journal and pen. I recommend the Nuuna or Rhodia brand of notebooks. The paper in them stands up to fountain pens or other liquid type pens and they are sturdy without being unattractive.
The first type of journaling I want to discuss is “Problem solving journaling”
Problem solving journaling
Problem solving journaling is an interesting way of working through decisions. The basics of it are state the problem and the “but” sentence on the top of your page. Then write a question related to the decision you need to make.
For example: There is a course that could open a lot of possibilities in my career. But it represents a big investment of time and money. Should I take it?
Draw two columns and write the Pros and Cons of that decision. Explore solutions and alternatives by asking questions. List the resources and more information needed as well.
Besides clarity, writing will give you the right perspective to solve the problem. We tend to imagine problems bigger than they really are. Emotions maximize problems. Writing has a shrinking effect, so to speak, to keep the problem into real proportions as we deal with it more rationally.
Cultivating gratitude is one of the best ways to have joy and peace, despite stress in life. We tend to take everything for granted and don’t stop to feel grateful for what we are given. Taking some time every morning to write down three things that you are grateful for helps start the day positively. Doing this again at night helps you end the day on a positive note. Make a point of making time at the end of each week to review these gratitudes as it can really reframe the way you think about your week and how it went.
The act of writing down your goals and making plans to achieve these goals makes you really think about your goals and become accountable for them. You can use your journal to decide and keep track of your goals for the day, week, month and year really focuses your energy on what you need to do to reach them. As I recommended earlier, start each day by writing down your “Big Idea” for yourself and you business if you have that. Then under that write down your “Next Logical Step”, what do you need to do to get that step closer to your big idea and then finally, what is the one thing you need to do today to move closer to the next logical step. After that you then write your list of things that need to be done for the day and prioritize them according to moving forward with your goal. I find this very focusing and helps me stay productive in my day.
So I hope you have taken something away from this article, of use to you. If you would like any further information please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you out.