Journaling can be defined as documenting your thoughts and feelings to better understand them and yourself. It is a way to clear your mind and help make sense of what is going on in your life – your happiness, relationships, challenges, confusion, etc. Most of the time, we only journaled when we were younger (think about writing in our diaries). However, reflecting on life’s happenings and writing them down can be beneficial no matter your age.
Some of the positives to journaling include lowering stress, managing depression, and also anxiety. In addition, this process can improve your mood and help you overcome obstacles. Sometimes for me, it is helpful to write something out if it doesn’t make sense in my mind. This is one example of how, through journaling, you can gain control of your emotions and thoughts, providing you better clarity and a healthier lifestyle.
One of the biggest benefits of journaling that is often overlooked is the value of self-discovery and learning more about yourself. By reflecting on questions and prompts, journaling gives a person a chance to go deeper and discover their true selves. You are able to write about your personality, likes, dislikes, values and beliefs, what works well, what you would like to change, etc. Consider some of the following questions and prompts to assist you:
- What are your favorite hobbies?
- What do you like best about yourself? What is the biggest thing you would like to change about yourself?
- What helps you relax? What makes you stressed?
- What are your greatest fears and worries? How do you overcome those fears and worries?
- What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
- What self-doubts do you have?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What words would you tell your 18-year-old self?
- What are you curious about and would like to learn?
- How are you different from 10 years ago?
- What can you let go of that no longer makes you happy?
- What type of environment do you thrive in?
- What resources do you need to be successful? How will you gain those resources?
- What are your most important beliefs that you know to be true?
- What does your life seem to lack? How can you change that?
- What things or people inspire you and why?
- What would you do if you were brave enough to do it? What is stopping you?
- Do you make choices based on emotion or logic?
- How do you feel about your profession?
- Are you a conventional or unconventional person and in what ways?
Think of it as getting to know yourself through writing. Keep in mind your answers should be honest and raw. Use the questions and prompts as a guide and let your thoughts flow without stopping. Only your eyes will be on the journal, so why not let it reflect who you truly are – the good, the bad, and the ugly. After all, the purpose of using a journal is to help you learn more and become a stronger person.
Before you begin, first make sure you have a journal that you enjoy writing in. Do you want something pretty or functional? Do you want it personalized? Think about a design and format that will motivate you to write. Then, create a schedule and commit to it. Be realistic with yourself. Start small with your journaling time and then build up to larger chunks. This way you won’t get discouraged and stop the process. The key is consistency. Don’t be afraid to change the days of the week and time of the day you write. Do whatever works best for you to have the greatest impact and benefits of journaling.
After deciding on the preliminaries, pick a few prompts and get started writing. Soon, journaling will become part of your daily routine, something you enjoy, and before you know it, you will have learned more about yourself. Happy journaling!