Benefits of Journaling + How to Start

Many of us held some sort of journal when we were young. For some, maybe drawing was their way of expressing their feelings. 

If you did that too, you will agree that every time you were grabbing a pen and a paper for emotional purpose, most times  were because you felt the NEED to do so.

How is that possible that, even with such smaller awareness, our minds were just asking to exteriorize all kind of emotions?

Benefits of journaling

1 – Grow your self awareness

Because taking our internal emotional battle out of us really helps identifying and understanding every sort of feelings. At first, the entire process of recognizing different feelings is mainly unconscious. The more you’ll practice and write down about your thoughts and life experiments, the easier identifying emotional reactions will get. High chances are that a few of you will think that I’m talking about feelings and emotions way more than what they can tolerate. But let’s ask ourselves the right question here: Did we not, Humans become as powerful as today thanks to our feelings? Feelings that pushed our ancestors to fight for our freedom and evolution…

And isn’t is through love and compassion you were able to forgive someone who hurt you? 

Humans are, the fruit of emotions itself. Everything we think, do or say is the reflection of the way we feel on the inside at a particular time. Many people still believe they have no control over their feelings and they cannot do anything else but undergoing their mind’s ups and downs. The truth is, if you’re able to be conscious about your feeling’s mechanisms, things get fun. They do because you can, with practice, consciously influence those mechanisms. From when you suddenly became inspired and felt more focused than ever, to when out of nowhere, you started to feel unworthy and sad for no (apparent) reason.

Story made short, journaling allows you to put all these good and « bad » feelings out of your mind. So you can look at them from outside. And that my friend, creates magical things.

2 – Journaling to reduce stress and anxiety

How am I gonna be able to financially get there? I would really need a holiday right now. Oh gosh I forgot about Dan’s birthday party tomorrow… S*it! I forgot to take the washing out! My boss is an asshole and I hate working for him! I hope Mum is doing alright… Bla, bla, bla… Normal inner chatter. Each day, we have thousands of thoughts. Fears and insecurities are part of most people’s daily thoughts. Some will cope with it pretty nicely, while some will get their stress levels up to the sky because of them. Without knowing where the reset switch is…

Putting into words what’s on your mind is the best way clear it up. Because we let sooo many things « untreated » holding into our minds, our brain can quickly become an overwhelmed chaotic spiral.

But as soon as all these thoughts, even the smallest and meaningless things are out there, on a piece of paper or on your phone’s screen, they can be treated. You can then choose what to do (or not do) with each one of them. From here you can prioritize the next steps to be taken. Trust me, when you have a plan for something, the stress you’ve attached to it will automatically go down.

3 – Being a better version of yourself

Because we get so caught up in daily routines and obligations, it’s easy to loose track of who we are and moreover, of who we want to become in this world.

Opening your heart and your mind to a blank page can tremendously help in self realization. Journaling offers you a daily set time to check out on yourself. But also to check where you’re currently standing on the path of your goals. Writing down how you define yourself and what you’d like to grow in your life will give you the tools to be able to reshape and update those goals.

Whether it’s becoming a better parent, or hitting a particular PR, or getting a promotion, or make this world a better place… Truly, all of these goals need a game plan. And every efficient game plan needs tracking. What for? To simply adjust and adapt. Every day and week is different from another one, consequently, it is a must to evaluate our strategies. So we can make sure we’re using the most efficient one.

How to start journaling

  • Choose the format you prefer:
    ➩ Writing by hand in a notebook or any paper support
    ➩ Writing using an application/software on your phone or laptop
  • Set up a daily timer on your phone: At the most suitable time of the day for you, sacrifice 5 minutes to writing.
  • What to write? You DO NOT need to be original, or build sentences, or even putting effort in writing good form content. Write WHATEVER feels right to you. It could just be words, one word. Maybe you could choose to draw something, or immortalize a quote you loved. You don’t have to respect a certain structure in journaling, you do YOU.

If you really don’t know where to start, start by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for everyday. To give you some perspective, my daily journaling starts with writing down things I’m really grateful for, like:

• Living with a roof on top of me
• All the time some people dedicated to teach me something
• The cashier’s kindness at the grocery store
• Every person that helped me achieving something in life 
• Having people caring about me
• Getting access to unlimited and various foods
• My sight to see the astonishing nature we have out there
• Free access to any information through the internet

No matter what’s your health condition, no matter what’s your life situation, there are always things to be grateful for. Starting with being Alive.

Final words

If you’re unsure about whether or not journaling will benefit you, it’s still worth giving it a go. There is always room for improvement and so much to learn along the way of any life experiment. The ones from yesterday, today’s and the ones for a brighter future.

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