Top 5 Reasons to Journal
I have nine notebooks full of journal entries that I’ve kept for years and years stacked on my bedside table. If anyone were to skim through my journals, they probably wouldn’t notice anything particularly interesting. But to me, different things stand out each time I read them.
Reading my old journals is a recent habit of mine. The last time I read them, I noticed a recurring theme—I kept writing about how I felt I wasn’t exercising enough, but not once did I set a clear, concrete goal to do anything about it!
Journaling is the key to noticing thinking patterns like this that may be impacting your personal and professional life. And there are other benefits to incorporating journaling into your life, too.
Here are the top five reasons to journal:
1. Self-knowledge is the best knowledge
After noticing my preoccupation with fitness in my journals, I was much more inclined to identify tangible ways to exercise more. I picked up my calendar and marked down what days and times I would devote to fitness every week. Just like that, I began taking steps toward a goal and freed up my mind for other thoughts.
The more consistently you journal, the better you get to know yourself. If you lead a busy life, it’s difficult to keep track of all the thoughts running through your head, and sometimes, your deeper feelings get hidden. A journal is the one space you can physically carve out for yourself that is devoted exclusively to those deeper thoughts. Start journaling to sort out your thoughts, and the rest will follow.
2. Health benefits
If getting a grip on your thoughts isn’t enough to convince you, how about a healthier body and mind? Recent studies suggest that “expressive writing” has many long-term health benefits. Such benefits include less stress-related visits to the doctor, reduced blood pressure and improved lung and liver function. On a social level, benefits include fewer absences from work, quicker re-employment after job loss and improved memory and social skills. Journaling is just one more way to improve your overall health, and its benefits will seep into your everyday life. Given the number of health benefits, it would be wise for organizations to incorporate journaling into their daily schedules as well.
3. The root of the problem
When you journal, you deal directly with your emotions and thoughts in a way you might not have the opportunity to anywhere else. On The Business Creators Radio Show, Kim Ades, President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, says that “the beliefs you have are what run your life.” The catch here, she says, is that many of those beliefs aren’t even real! So much of the time, your inability to move forward or achieve a goal is a direct result of your limiting beliefs—often ones that you invent.
By journaling, you can identify the beliefs that are tripping you up and replace them with more useful ones. This ability to bounce back is what Ades calls “emotional resilience,” a key skill for overcoming the toughest of challenges. Those who are emotionally resilient are able to see adversity as an opportunity and bounce back from failures quickly. Ades teaches her clients this skill, as it’s this skill that enables us to identify our negative beliefs and swap them for constructive ones.
4. Transferable skills
Millions of people all over the world journal for their own reasons. Everyone from Emma Watson to Oprah Winfrey has preached the idea of leveraging journaling to increase clarity in our lives. But journaling can teach us so much more. When we journal about a work conflict, we develop ideas to deal with conflict more effectively. When we write about our lack of influence over our team, we start to fine-tune our leadership skills. Regardless of the problem you’re trying to solve, when you focus on what you want to see grow as opposed to fixating on what is wrong, you begin to come up with solutions.
5. Holding yourself accountable
It can be much easier to identify our weaknesses than to identify our strengths. This is because we tend to believe that knowing what we lack is the first step to making improvements. When you journal, you are able to keep track of yourself—not just your weaknesses, but your struggles, your progress, your goals and your successes. The benefit of keeping track is that you’ll be able to spot patterns after a while, like the way I did with my fitness goals. Is there a struggle you’re writing about over and over again? Are you noticing a goal that keeps cropping up but that you never end up achieving? By journaling, you’ll identify those trends early on and you’ll be able to start changing the pattern.
So what are you waiting for? Start journaling! We offer the unique opportunity to journal daily and receive feedback from a certified coach. CLICK HERE to take us up on our offer!