It's interesting the different perceptions people have around journaling, what it is, the benefits of journaling, how to make it habit - and if you want to make it a habit.
Journaling is a personal written account of our thoughts, feelings and goals as we navigate everyday life. There is no right or wrong way to journal and most importantly, journaling is a personal experience and preference for each of us, and our approach to journaling can be difference each day, week, month or year. Think of it this way, one day we can be journal like a entry in our diary when we were kids, and the next day our journaling can be a list of our favorite songs or goals we want to achieve. Some people think journaling is a self improvement tool and they would be correct, others like to collect recipes or document travel experience. Journaling can make us more self aware for sure. The cool part of journaling is that we can add any thoughts we have, write and work through challenges, share our inner most feelings or secretly share personal wins. I like to journal about many things so my journal is with me most everywhere I go, someone else may keep their journal next to their bed and reflect on the day each night before going to sleep.
The benefits of journaling may surprise you, I have talked to clients who didn't realize the power journaling has on our overall health. Did you know journaling can improve ones mental well-being and strengthen the immune system? When we are writing we are releasing or letting go of negative emotions that can cause stress that overtime can compromise our immune system and all us to "get sick". I love journaling because it provides me a creative outlet to write down ideas, collect my thoughts, work through challenges and even document my goals or how I am progressing towards goals I set for myself.
In addition to some of the benefits of journaling I have already shared. Learning how to write in a journal helps us focus on the present moment and become more mindful in this fast paced world we live in. Journaling and becoming more mindful has a calming effect on our bodies and can help address emotional stress and exhaustion. But if are to reap the benefits of journaling we need to be consistent.
But how do we start journaling and make it habit?
Find the approach to journaling that work for you and don't limit yourself to one way of journaling. Maybe you like to write or perhaps you like using a computer.
Journal about what is important to you and know there is no right or wrong way. No judgements of yourself, just enjoy the process, whatever that looks like.
Starting a journal and making it a habit works better if you get into your own routine. Identify the times of the day and locations when you feel most comfortable to share your thoughts.
Being creative is often a big part of starting and being consistent with a journaling habit. Choose the type of journal that reflects your personality, like the color or shape, of the
journal. Be creative in the type of journal entries you make too.... write whatever comes to mind, knowing that your journal is your safe place and for only you to see.
Keep your journal where you can access it easily so if you have thoughts or ideas you can quickly jot them down before you forget.
If you are consistent with your journaling, take the time to reflect back on earlier writings to see how you are progressing, growing, or how you celebrated your small wins!
I often discuss the benefits of journaling with my coaching clients and I am always impressed how over time, my clients begin sharing with me other ways they have or want to use their journaling. One client recently told me she might want to give her journals to her children in her later years to share more about her life, passions and experiences.
As you begin creating your journaling habit, a great exercise you can enjoy each day would be completing the three sentences below…. (try it now if you like).
•I am grateful for….
•I will let go of…
•I will focus on…
This is the journaling exercise I do every day to help me stay positive, let go of anything negative happening in my life, allowing me to focus on what I truly want to get out of each and every day. I like to journal in the morning right when I wake up, others like to journal before bed and then drift off to sleep.
Author, Accountability Coach