Wouldn't it be lovely if a little fairy landed on your shoulder every time you felt down and whispered in your ear that everything would be fine? What if, everytime you are confronted with fear, doubt, or irritation, a magical book appears, guiding you step by step through the process? Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could go back in time and relive all of your favorite moments?Wouldn't it be good to have a space to be messy in this world of perfection and filters?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions let me introduce you to the world of journaling.
When you think of "journaling," you might imagine a tween girl lying in bed with her feet waving lazily in the air, writing in a diary about her crush. For adults, the word carries that connotation: it's for young people trying to figure out who they are while dealing with raging hormones and middle school drama.
While journaling can be beneficial for those goals, it's not only for "girls," teens, or tweens—for it's anybody who can write! It is a kind of self-expression that may uplift and empower people by allowing them to understand and laugh at their complex sentiments.
Although simply writing words on a page won't offer you all of the benefits of journaling, effective journaling can lead to a variety of beneficial outcomes and improvements in your quality of life.
What is effective journaling?
Effective journaling is a habit of keeping a notebook that aids you in achieving your objectives or improving your quality of life. This can take many forms for different people, and the results can vary greatly, but they are virtually always positive.
Journaling brings new situations, lessons, and experiences with it, all of which assist to shape who we will be in the future.
It is a powerful tool for identifying, categorizing, and analyzing these events so that they may be used to help you improve as a person.
How do I keep a journal?
Journaling is not the same as scribbling a few notes here and there with no rhyme or reason.
When you journal, you should devote a significant amount of time to improving various aspects of your life.
Depending on what's going on in your life, you'll probably modify what you write in your journal.
Let's have a look at some prompts and materials you can use in your journal.
Writing down your goals helps you stay on track: it forces you to consider how you might make them a reality.
Having a certain number of daily or weekly goals also helps since it breaks down your long-term objectives into smaller, more achievable chunks.
In six months, where do you want to be? a year? How about five years? ten years?
Think about where you want to be in the future and work your way backwards from there.
How do you go about achieving your objectives?
What challenges will you face?
What are the materials you'll require?
What are your concerns, hopes, and dreams in relation to those objectives?
A journal is a good place to process your stresses and emotions.
You should write about your problems, frustrations, anger, relationships etc in your journal. It provides you with a safe environment in which you can vent and work out your emotions.
That is usually a better option than inappropriately projecting your unpleasant emotions onto someone else (known in psychology as displacement).
Journaling might also assist you in recognising when your feelings or expectations are unrealistic.
We have a tendency to misread things and respond emotionally before thinking about what's really going on.
Your journal is a great place to keep track of and analyze your feelings and viewpoints.
It will also be useful for healing if you're dealing with a mental condition or a traumatic occurrence in your life.
Your physical health is another good topic to include in your journal.
Regular exercise, a good sleep routine that works for you, and eliminating bad foods from your diet are all things that will help you enhance your physical and mental health.
Journaling about parts of your physical health that you want to improve will assist you in deciding on a course of action and staying on track until you see benefits.
You may be perplexed as to how keeping a journal might have a substantial impact on your mental health. After all, how much good can placing words on a page do for you?
It turns out that this simple exercise can make a big difference, especially for people who are dealing with mental illness or trying to improve their mental health.
Future self journal
There are many other sorts of journaling you'd want to explore, but I'd like to direct your attention to this one particular type.
Future Self Journaling (FSJ) is a daily exercise that aims to help you break free from your subconscious autopilot—the everyday conditioned routines that keep you bound in the past. You can start moving forward by doing the following things on a regular basis:
- Witnessing the ways you remain “stuck” in your past conditioning-
Spend some time thinking about the following questions concerning feeling stuck, as well as the reason(s) why you could be stuck in these areas. You might be able to recognise patterns in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that keep you repeating these unhelpful patterns, for example. Exploring these as a journaling activity may be beneficial.
- Do you often find yourself unable to keep promises to yourself, attempting to make new choices or create new habits but always falling back on your old ones?
- Do you often find yourself reacting emotionally to events, feeling out of control, and even ashamed about your behaviors after the fact?
- Do you often find yourself distracted and/or disconnected from yourself and others and/or from the present moment itself, maybe lost in thought about the past or the future or feeling “somewhere else” entirely?
- Do you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed and torn down by internal critical thoughts, making it difficult to tune in to your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?
- Do you often find yourself struggling to express your wants, needs, beliefs, and/or feelings in relationships?
- Do you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with stress or any (or all) of your feelings?
- Do you often find yourself repeating past experiences and patterns in your day-to-day life?
if you replied "yes" to one or more of these questions, you're probably trapped as a result of your conditioning and prior experiences. It may appear that change is impossible, but trust me when I say that this is not the case. The first step toward change is to begin picturing a future that differs from your current and prior reality.
- Setting a conscious daily intention to change
Since it’s impossible to avoid stress and bad moods altogether, try making conscious decisions to set the tone of your day, even if you aren’t feeling your best.
If you want to try setting daily intentions to keep yourself grounded, focused, and motivated, try following some of these simple tips:
- Be specific: choose something specific that you want to focus on for the day. This could be feeling more grateful for your life, paying better attention to your emotional stress, or pausing to take 3 breaths when frustrated.
- Pick a quote: find a word or quote that can help you recall your intentions. Something simple that describes your intention is ideal so you can repeat it to yourself throughout the day whenever you need an intention reminder
- Write your intentions: a written note with your intentions is a great way to gently remind yourself to stay on track throughout the day.
- Share your intentions: letting someone else in your life (like a friend or partner) know that you are setting daily intentions is a good way to hold yourself accountable, and encourage yourself to continue setting new intentions daily.
- Ultimately setting small, actionable steps that support daily choices aligned with a different future outcome and empowering these daily choices despite the universal experience and presence of mental resistance will help you decipher and unlock who you really are and what drives you, which are two essential components for making meaningful progress and self-improvement.
To start this new daily habit you will want to grab a notebook.. Some of you might wish to devote some time to personalizing or embellishing your diary, or to planning a modest ceremony to honor yourself for making this decision. You might want to take a few moments to create an intention for how you'll use this new habit and focus on the benefits of maintaining these daily commitments to yourself.
Now is the time to start making and keeping tiny daily promises to yourself to bring about change in these areas. Keeping in mind that your journal is for you and you alone might make you feel unimaginably free to spill your true self onto the page. Give it a go! You have nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time, and you already know what you stand to gain.