Some of the most influential people in history have kept detailed journals of their lives. Those journals served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and a cathartic release for the people writing them. Journaling, or the process of recording one’s innermost thoughts, hopes, fears, and desires, is a form of self-expression that leads to all-around better understanding.
Even if you don’t think there’ll ever be a documentary made about your life, there are plenty of reasons to keep one for yourself – or perhaps you’ve wanted to get started with your own journal, but never found time, or aren’t sure what to write about…or maybe you laugh off the idea, passing it off as a useless pastime.
WHY SHOULD YOU GIVE JOURNALING A GO?
- It enhances self-expression and gives the “writer” in you a voice
- It can help you better understand issues that bother you, and make sense of them
- It can help you improve your relationships with others
- It can help reduce stress
- It can help track your progress towards a goal
And here’s a BONUS reason –
It gives you the opportunity to get all that “stuff” out of your head – all those thoughts, ideas, problems, emotions, goals, dreams – all of it.
DID YOU KNOW that when we go to sleep at night our brains go into Download/Back Up mode? Our brain is our IOS, or Internal Operating System (like that of a computer) and when we switch off at night, our IOS kicks in and starts processing and downloading everything that you’ve put into it during the day. It sorts, files and deletes everything as it believes is important and what is not…probably the reason why sometimes you can remember that yesterday you had an AWESOME idea, but can’t remember what it was. Your IOS system has quite possibly filed it in the Junk folder or Deleted it!
This ‘DAILY DUMP” (as I call it) or journaling, before heading off to bed backs up a lot of those thoughts, ideas, emotions etc before you IOS gets to it, thus reducing the amount that has to be dealt with during the night. This leads to more restful sleep, less stress and you don’t lose those awesome ideas you wanted to remember tomorrow! WINNING!
Your journal can also incorporate the practice of Gratitude! As you are writing you will often put things that trouble you into better perspective and realise that maybe things aren’t as bad as you thought. Practicing Gratitude helps enormously. At the end of your writing, take a minute to read back over your day and think about a few things that you are grateful for. Some days it might only be 2-3 things and other days there may be more. It doesn’t matter how many – this is YOUR Journal and you can write whatever you like and be as grateful for as much or as little as you can think of.
GETTING STARTED IS EASY AS 1, 2, 3…
- Buy a Journal – When I first started this practice I found the whole idea of keeping a “Journal” somewhat formal (which I definitely am not) so I purchased a sparkly note book that I loved and wrote on the cover “The Daily Dump”! If this is going to be MY journal, then I’ll call it whatever I like – and you can too! Give your journal your own personalised title that works for you, and encourages you to sit down and write!
- Make a Commitment – Set aside a time each evening to sit quietly and contemplate the day that was even just 10-15 minutes, and make a commitment to this time. Last thing at night before hitting the sack is best, but whenever you can catch 10-15 minutes of “Me Time”.
- Get Writing – Writers often talk of “writer’s block” but fortunately this doesn’t happen a great deal when journaling. Sometimes getting that first line down on paper is the hardest, but once you get started, just let it flow. Don’t over think it! Sit quietly, hit the rewind button and replay the events of the day. Hit Pause every now and then and jot down your thoughts, what you felt at the time, what you feel now – and as I said just let it flow.
As with anything – it takes 30 days to create a habit and about 60 days to create a lasting habit. Take my 30 Day “Dump It” Challenge and start creating a lifetime habit of healthy writing. Always remember, this is YOUR journal. This is not a book you are writing to have published. You are not trying to make this a #1 Best Seller, so it doesn’t have to necessarily make a lot of sense to anyone other than YOU! This is all about YOUR thoughts, YOUR ideas, YOUR feelings, YOUR troubles, YOUR personal self-expression.
I always look forward to hearing your comments and would love to hear about your own journaling experience in the Reply box below.
Until next time….Get Your Zen On