If you’re looking for a way to express your feelings, a space to discover your true self and a way to work toward your life goals in a meaningful way, all you need is an empty notebook and a pen.
For some, journaling may seem like another chore, but if you keep it simple by just writing a short entry once a day or even once a week, the rewards of writing it down will change your life. Here are 5 reasons to start journaling today.
1. Journaling provides space to process your feelings
The emotions you encounter day to day can be messy and complicated. When you bottle them up and leave them unprocessed, they can fester. Journaling allows you to vent those feelings and spill them onto the page however they may tumble out. That simple act of expression allows you to acknowledge and validate your feelings, no matter how ugly, and nobody gets hurt in the process. From there, you will actually have the capacity to process your feelings and understand their source.
2. Journaling reduces stress and anxiety
You have enough on your mind, and the daily act of trying to keep everything straight can lead to stress and anxiety. Let go of the idea that you can remember all of life’s many demands; instead, use journaling to organize your thoughts and your life. Writing down your ideas, goals and tasks can declutter your mind and relax your body. With a clear mind, you can unlock your creativity.
3. Journaling cultivates gratitude
Get in the habit of writing down things you are grateful for in life. Gratitude is life changing. If you take time to write down one positive, uplifting thing from each day, you’ll train your mind to focus on the goodness in your life.
4. Journaling shines a light your accomplishments
When you regularly write about your life, you’ll be bound to toot your horn about your big and small victories as they come. Draw a star next to those entries so on days you’re feeling discouraged, you can read past entries and remind yourself of all you have achieved. When you’re down on yourself, look to your past accomplishments and remind yourself, You did it!
5. Journaling helps you chart a path to your goals
The very act of writing down your goals has a powerful psychological effect. “The act of writing down what you are going to do is a strong motivator,” according to Psychology Today. It pushes you to visualize your goal in specific terms and figure out the steps you need to achieve it. It also serves as a record of your commitment, so when your enthusiasm wanes in the future, you can return to your journal entry and the road map you outlined, and get back in action.
The cumulative effect of journaling over months and years is transformative. When you read your previous entries with a little distance, you’ll start to notice themes, which will help you learn from the past and carve out a better future for yourself. You’ll see the mistakes you’ve made and be able to understand the circumstances and choices that led to those mistakes so you can avoid them in the future. You’ll see patterns of your greatness as well, which will help you take steps to build on your strengths and continue to achieve good things. Most importantly, journaling will help you develop a healthy relationship with yourself. It gives you space to express yourself, honor the complexity of your feelings and opinions and cultivate the kind of life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you.
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