Creating a habit of journaling is one of self-care and that of great rewards. In order to benefit from journaling, you must dedicate time to developing a habit – a regular commitment of writing twice to three times weekly.
If you have a predilection for writing every day, then consider yourself ahead.
While I will share just 6 benefits of creating a journaling habit, today, know that there are residual effects as well – many of which you may notice after you’ve committed to writing for some time. Before I share the benefits, I will highlight some details to get started.
Just as there are many styles of writing, there are nearly as many approaches to journaling. If you are just now venturing into the journaling world, or are returning after a hiatus, it is very important for you to begin slow and work your way up to something sustainable.
The first step is to just start. Begin by choosing a time of day when you can give yourself 5-10 minutes to sit in a distraction-free area of your home. I will share more about the privacy of journaling later, but for now just consider a quiet time when you have a whole space to yourself.
What inspires me to write regularly is having a soft-cover journal with soft acid-free paper and a handsome looking pen. Journals and pens that have a particular awe or elegance to them might be what keeps you looking forward to using them. Decide what works for you and define your handsome when it comes to your writing utensil.
Choose a drawer, shelf, or cabinet to keep your journal when you aren’t writing in it. Remember that your journal is a private record of personal matters and must be kept safe and out of view of curious eyes.
Leave at least one page blank at the beginning of your journal. I find that leaving the first page blank is natural since it is often the one page that is glued or attached funny and doesn’t ever lie flat enough to make for a good starting point.
Where to Begin
I always date every journal entry before I begin writing. If I don’t happen to know what I plan to write about, I spend time writing the date in Month Day, Year format, even tracing the characters again on the downstroke to add emphasis; along the way something usually comes to mind that I would like to write about.
With journaling, there should never really be a force. What you will notice, is that once you connect the tip of your pen to the top line of your paper, it will be as if an electric current runs through you, spinning files in your brain, and thoughts will start to dance around you until they funnel out through the ball-point and land on the page.
Journaling really is a magical wonder that I can’t wait for you to experience.
Everyone develops a unique relationship to their journals. The approach might be the same, but the process tends to travel differently. Allow yourself to feel your way through journaling and define your relationship as it makes sense to you.
6 Benefits of Creating a Journaling Habit
1. A conversation safe-zone
When you choose to write, you choose to create a judgment-free safe-zone for conversation of any kind. It can be difficult to talk about some things with others because of the fear associated with being judged or rejected or coached at a time when you are most vulnerable and aren’t ready to seek advice.
Creating a safe grounds for interpretation, or even expressing your wildest ideas, is exactly what we should all be doing in order to solidify the comfort and trust we have with ourselves, as well as learning to dream. In journaling, anything goes.
In my experienced, I have learned that by writing down my fears, doubts, or uncertainty, I am better able to address an issue and overcome the matter that seems to be paralyzing me, leading me to the next benefit.
2. Accesses clarity
Having no restraints when it comes to journaling is the perfect foundation for reaching the under bellies of our troubles, accessing clarity from a whole new angle, allowing us to come through knowing on the other side. Writing is such an incredible resource for mastering our minds and getting to know ourselves.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to learning. The most satisfaction comes from the information we consume just from choosing the listen. Yes, writing is listening, should we choose to be open to it.
The clarity that I’ve gained through journaling has been a result of experiencing life and then having a conversation essentially with myself until I’ve laid out all the pieces and worked my way back to securing them together. Write regularly and see just how well you will be able to see the big picture and find your own resolutions and understanding.
3. Permission to be you
Much like creating a conversation safe-zone, as in above, journaling is a self expression that not only permits, but requires you to be you. Whoever you feel like you need to be during the day, you don’t have to pretend when it’s just you you’re around. The goal might even be to develop into yourself as you begin to understand yourself better and know and accept you for you.
By accessing clarity, like in benefit No.2, you have the opportunity to peel back the layers and really understand the unique being that you are. It will be an interesting journey, and if you have been struggling to understand who you are, what makes you you, then try learning through writing.
Don’t be shy. Don’t feel as though you need to journal or write for anyone else. You need a neutral place – a safe-zone – to access clarity and to rap and rhyme until you find a rhythm that speaks to you. Use plain language or exercise dramatics, but find a voice that speaks for you and let it be.
4. Fosters positive thinking
Practicing gratitude may be the obvious way of learning to direct your thoughts in a more effective manner; however, the act of contemplating a difficult idea or topic can diminish the complexities of the matter, making whatever worries on your mind seem like less of a need to worry. From there, you can dive into the clarity of the problem and uncover a solution.
By getting to the roots of an issue or complexity, you begin to feel empowered. Each of us can benefit from realizing that we are bigger than the problems in our lives. By choosing to listen, we are choosing to be open to interpretation and open to accepting the tools that can change our lives.
Journaling is an excellent habit to form in order to train one’s own mind to think on the lighter side of circumstances.
Without converting to a positive mind-set, we might be likely to wallow in our self-doubt, anxieties, and the darkness of our imaginations. There are two main roads of the imagination, but each offers a land of intensity that can either build us stronger or break us down.
5. Channels a lively imagination
Sometimes when an issue is bothering me and I turn to writing to lay out all the pieces and examine them part-by-part, I find that there are underlying elements important to address. Journaling is helpful because I can actually stop my brain from following the path of my imagination that is dark and quite unhelpful in resolving anything, let alone pulling me out of a pitiful trap.
You will find that journaling can pull you from a narrow mindset and free you unto a world of possibilities. When I start to talk about my goals and write down what I want my life to look like in x years, I start to get excited at the many different routes I can take to get what I want, to become whom I’m becoming.
All of this becomes incredibly realistic when I give myself the chance to dream. Journal a little, dream a lot.
6. Induces relaxation
When my mind is racing and I can’t seem to settle down, journaling is usually the best form of release. It isn’t always a matter of just talking to someone, but rather unloading everything from my mind. The circumstances may be more personal or even trivial to some degree (as you see it), but whatever the case is, ridding of your worries through writing can be the best route to reducing stress and inducing relaxation as a result.
Much like meditation, journaling is a powerful resource to saying to your thoughts, “this party is over,” and sending them on their way, freeing yourself from your hosting duties. Sometimes it’s just a matter of making your way into the kitchen to wash the dishes and take a much needed break from all the small-talk and the noise.
Writing at night before bed can be really great for clearing your mind before you find yourself wrestling with your thoughts and in fits before eventually becoming exhausted and fall asleep with little amounts of peace. Putting your thoughts to rest is essential to putting yourself to rest, so next time you find yourself overwhelmed by the dark side of your imagination, settle into a comfortable chair and write it down.
Anything beneficial is only good if you put it to good use. If you want to reap the benefits of journaling, then consider writing two-three times a week. A little bit of writing goes a long way, but a constant practice will empower you more than you might imagine.
If you journal regularly, what have you found to be a positive consequence of your writing habit? Let me know in the comments below & thanks for joining me!
New to journaling? What are your biggest concerns with getting started?