I’ve been working with my therapist for just over 18 months, and one of the tools that she suggested (with some resistance from me, of course) was journaling. I thought journaling was fluffy, not effective, and only used by people who weren’t serious about success. Definitely not me.
I’d never journaled of course, and my wisdom about the non-benefits of came from that darn ego of mine, and to this day, I don’t know why I felt that way. And so this was one of those times in my therapist relationship where I was absolutely wrong.
Thankfully, I was able to admit it. And since then I have filled just about two, 250 page notebooks with my overspilling thoughts around life. It’s been really powerful for me for a few reasons.
Journaling is a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth. By regularly writing down my thoughts and feelings, I gained a deeper understanding of myself and my experiences. Journaling also helped me to identify patterns in my behaviours that weren’t really serving me. Because I could go back and read what I wrote 6 months ago, I was able to identify that similar behaviour and recognize it needed changing.
If you are thinking, journaling might be something you want to try, but you still have resistance, I encourage you to keep reading.
Maybe you feel like I felt.
I felt a knot in my stomach almost every day, and it just didn’t go away. I couldn’t explain it, but I could feel it.
With some encouragement, I gave journaling a try. It was hard. Mostly because cursive writing was almost foreign to me. I got my thoughts and feelings out on paper, and made room for new thoughts and new feelings.
Ones that served me better. And now, most days I look forward to journaling, and I find it to be a very relaxing, and reflective part of my day. There are still hard moments where getting those thoughts from my brain to paper are a bit painful, but the end result is aways the same for me. More room for new thoughts and new feelings.
There are many different ways to journal, from traditional pen and paper journals to digital platforms and apps. Reflection is a platform I’ve looked at, but I still stick to pen to paper as the way that works best for me.
The key is to find a method that works for you and to make it a regular part of your routine. Some people prefer to write in their journals first thing in the morning, while others find it helpful to write at the end of the day as a way to process and reflect on the events of the day.
One popular form of journaling is called “morning pages,” developed by author Julia Cameron. This method involves writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing every morning, without editing or censoring yourself. The goal is to get your thoughts and feelings out on the page, without worrying about whether they make sense or are worthy of being written down.
Another form of journaling is “bullet journaling” which is a method of organizing your thoughts and tasks in an effective way. This method involves creating a to-do list, a schedule, and a record of your daily thoughts and activities. Bullet journaling can help you to stay organized and on top of your responsibilities while also providing a space for self-reflection.
Regardless of the method you choose, the most important thing is to make journaling a regular habit. It can be helpful to set aside a specific time each day for journaling and to keep your journal in a convenient place where you will be reminded to write. I simply have my journal at my desk, and I set aside about 15 minutes a day to write. Sometimes it’s about a book I’m reading and how it relates to life, sometimes it’s more specific and I will write down an event that happened and how I reacted to it.
Most of all, journaling is an effective tool for self-discovery, self-improvement, and self-care. The best way I can describe journaling is that I discover things I didn’t know were there, or were impacting me and my behaviour. I don’t journal for the words that I know are there, I journal for the words I don’t know are there. Things that I think about in my subconscious come out on paper when I least expect it. And for me, this has become a big part of discovery, reflection and worth.
If you want to discover more about journaling, I encourage you to download my journaling habit workbook, and find out even more about this simple strategy that promotes personal growth.