Why have a journal?

I really love my old journals, they are like a gateway to my past self. The way I thought, acted and what I believed in are all stored there in beautiful pieces. One of the first things I noticed when going through my old journals is that over the years my mindset and personality have been continuously growing, never really changing. My hopes and dreams remain the same but with a bit more clarity with every flip of the year. Well that’s not even the most important part of keeping a journal. This is barely an example of what a treasure a journal can be. It produces big magic from within and helps one get away from the rush of life and take sometime to look into one’s mind, sorting out emotions and thinking more clearly.

A journal is a consistent collection or record of the thoughts and feelings surrounding your life. There’s a difference between a journal and a ordinary diary. The first comes from the contents of the two, a diary contains a record of events with a little touch of feeling that surround the happenings of a certain day or week. A journal on the other hand contains mostly thoughts and the feelings surrounding the thoughts. The second difference of the two is the mindfulness involved while writing; for a journal one should be absolutely conscious, ensuring to analyze the thoughts and feelings trying to find solutions to problems or discover yourself.

The practice of mindful journaling is very useful in our urban lives, it should feel like an escape from the daily rush and need to get things done; an allowance of peace and relaxation in our lives. For starters, it helps you clear your head. Writing down what you think and feel helps you separate these thoughts and find their causes, that way you don’t go around feeling like you have a bad life but rather you know why your mood was bad and work to fix the problem. It also helps organize the events in your mind allowing you to make important connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Studies have shown that mindful journaling can actually buffer/reduce the effects of mental illness and also make sense of trauma and your reactions.

Did you know, when you write something down, your mind lets go of the thought and allows your logical part of the brain to deal with it. Journaling helps us free our minds from processing the jumbled up thoughts and feelings thus resulting in us getting better sleep and this interestingly improves our physical health. This will definitely improve your productivity. A clear mind makes it easier to make the right decisions since the mind has space to think of the right things. A clear mind thinks smart. It takes a step back to find the solution that will easily and quickly solve the problem rather than that which will just solve the problem. An analogy is used that refers to two lumberjacks who want to cut a tree using an axe. One decides that he will hit the tree as hard as he can with his axe, land as many hits per minute as he can, until the tree comes down. This solution does cut the tree in good time but the lumberjack is so tired he can’t do anymore work that day. The second lumberjack takes time to sharpen the axe and in record time, his tree is down leaving the lumberjack with enough time and energy to do anything else. This is true for us too, if we take some time to clear our minds, we are more likely to achieve our goals in the most sustainable ways.

A journal is a very important tool in the journey of self discovery. It is a healthy way to get through your emotions and it encourages healing; this is by allowing you to process the emotions brought up by a certain event and see clearly that it is not because you are less than enough that certain things happen to you. This also builds your confidence because you start to discover how dope you are and how sane the advice you give yourself is. You get to know parts of you that you may not have known existed. As you continue to make it a routine, you connect with yourself more making it easier to choose yourself over others every time. Journaling could also be a very helpful meditation tool. While I find the space of meditation in my mind to be very serene and beautiful, it might be hard for most logical thinkers to let their minds roam in the way meditation allows. Using your journal you can meditate upon your thoughts and feelings giving you the same effect as any other form of meditation. This kind of ‘me time’ is rare and very beneficial to the mind.

In many ways, journaling is like creating a gateway to your mind, a safe space where you allow logic to go ahead of feelings. It gives you a space to rant while getting solutions rather than dampen your spirit as gossip would. You notice that I do not advocate that anyone keeps their feelings bottled up inside, but there are more beneficial ways to deal with it rather than causing a scene. The best thing about journaling according to me is how much personalization can be done to it. As you continue to discover what makes you tick inside, you could always edit how you take your records. Another thing about it is that it is very freeing and it seems to expand your world and boost morale. It slows you down to think of your thoughts, emotions and goals and how best to deal with what life throws your way. It brings up some beautiful stillness that we require every now and then.

There are many ways to keep a journal, many ways to trigger the mind to self analyze and produce meaningful results. Starting with how often one should journal, to what to write in the journal and how to practice mindfulness when journaling, it might seem like rocket science. This however is not the case and with practice it all comes together very easily. Join me next time as I take you through the “how” on all matters journaling . It will be an in-depth look at how to start and be consistent in your journal keeping. I will also suggest a few prompt questions to help in the journey of self discovery as well as some to deal with negativity or failure and others on goal setting. Until then, spread the love, share this link and let this knowledge sip into your soul. See you then!

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