Life is a series of moments, and moments make memories. If we aren’t careful, we can hurriedly turn the page on today without experiencing all that it offers. Life can be rewarding, even in the midst of a struggle if we take the time to stop and reflect. Keeping a journal is one of the simplest ways to build a time of meditation into each day. Journaling shouldn’t be intimidating or wearisome, but rather seen as a valuable means of self-reflection. Here are a few reasons why journaling is an effective way to process thoughts, events, and feelings.
There is power in writing down your thoughts. It is clarifying to write down what’s on your mind. The process helps you define your priorities and evaluate what you really want out of life. A journal not only records where you have been, but helps guide you to where you would like to go.
It’s therapeutic. Writing about your struggles may help you develop a fresh perspective. Journaling takes the fears and worries that are internal and moves them outward, so they are no longer a bottled up source of frustration. I have often found that worries melt away line by line as I put my thoughts down on paper.
You are recording history. We are all evolving, and a journal captures the subtle life changing shifts that help make us who we are. Reading journal entries from a year before may leave you feeling amazed and possibly even amused at the changes life has brought your way.
It builds self-realization. When we take the time to process our likes, dislikes, passions, and ambitions, we become more confident in our own skin. Journaling is a mirror for the soul. You may find that you like yourself much more than you realize.
How to Begin?
Pick the perfect journal. There are an abundance of options, including hard-bound journals with a beautiful design or simple notebooks in eye catching designs and colors. Select a journal that motivates you to begin sharing your story.
Journal with abandon. Starting a journal may feel overwhelming. If you are unsure how to begin, simply chronicle a few highlights from your day, or jot down a favorite quote or a few lines of a poem. You may even choose to write short bullet points that describe your feelings. There are no rules. Write anything that comes into your head.
Write regularly. Each day, make it a priority to spend ten minutes journaling. Night owls may choose to write well into the wee hours of the morning, but if you are typically exhausted in the evening, make the early hours your personal time for journaling (for many people, another form of prayer and mediation). Journaling works well-paired with hot tea or coffee, any time of the day. Find a time that works for you and stay consistent.
Keep it confidential. If you are concerned that your spouse or child may stumble upon your thoughts, take extra steps to secure your journal. Do what is necessary to give yourself the peace of mind to express yourself freely.
End each entry with gratitude. Daily, make a choice to acknowledge at least three things for which you are thankful. Gratitude is an essential ingredient for positivity. Some days it may be harder than others to think of things that make you smile. Your list doesn’t need to be profound, you may simply be thankful for the fabulous salad you had for lunch. There is magic in stopping to acknowledge the good things in your life. Large or small, happy moments somehow seems to create more of the same.