Journaling is a great way of ‘dropping in’ on yourself, and measuring your progress. Whenever we want to manage a new situation, cope with a crisis, clarify what we feel, or have a better understanding of ourselves, journal keeping acts as a powerful facilitator to our growth.
To get the most from your journal it needs to be a place for honest, expression of self. This may mean that you need to take steps to ensure the privacy of your journal so you feel confident that it is a safe place to be completely open and honest with yourself.
Use your journal to connect with yourself, mind, body & spirit. Simply by the way that you start your journal entry you can choose which aspect of yourself will be expressed. For example, I think…, I feel…which may express both the physical sensations of the body as well as the emotions you’re experiencing;
I guess… or I imagine… allows you to draw on your creative, wise self.
When you’re not sure what to do next, journaling can clarify or contain confusion. Once written down you may see what your next step might be. Sometimes, it may reveal that confusion has value, in that it prevents us from making rash decisions. Journaling during confusion, can help us to value the part it plays in our lives.
If you’ve written everything down that causes you joy or pain… still feeling stuck and unsure of how to proceed., journaling the following statement can help you discover possibilities. If I wanted to I could…
If this doesn’t clarify things, wait, and try again the on the following day.
Trust the process.
Journaling helps you come to know yourself more, accept yourself, and to learn to love yourself, by valuing all of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and treating them as messengers, helping you to learn. Like all relationships, growing in love & appreciation for yourself will come as a direct result of your intention to do so.
‘Shoulds, Oughts and Musts’ can steal joy from your life. Shoulds, oughts and musts, are generally the fruit of guilt, obligation & limited thinking. Psychologists call this ‘musterbatory thinking!” It can be a revealing experience to take the time to list all the things you think you should do & all the things you tell yourself you have to do. Ask yourself… are these activities really about who you really are and the life you’re here to live? Are you able to let go of some or all of these? Can you delegate any? Are you able to see that some are in fact things you ‘want’ to do and now feel free to view them in this much more joyful light?
Gratitude is a powerful transformational practise. Journaling a daily list of all you’re grateful for as often as you can will truly change your life. The more often you ask your mind to sift your experience for everything great… the more your mind will make a habit of looking for what’s right with the world. Try it and observe what happens!
Keeping a journal can also help you to heal emotional pain. Sometimes, emotional pain can manifest as symptoms in our body. Your journal you can help you clarify and work through painful memories and let them go.
An interesting exercise is list in your journal all the people with whom you spend most time. Do these people uplift, energise, drain, or deplete you. This is powerful information if you allow it to guide your decisions about with whom you spend how much time. You may be surprised by what you discover.
Do you need closure? You will know if you have any ‘unfinished business’. You can use your journal as a tool to help you gain closure. One of the journal tasks some people have benefitted from is by writing an ‘as if’ letter to the person you wish to say a psychological goodbye to… you can say anything left unsaid. It’s amazing how the simple act of writing this letter in the privacy of your own journal can allow you to feel heard, and then become willing and able to let go.
Value yourself! It is said that what we appreciate, appreciates. Taking the time for some self appreciation in your journal is a fun and worthwhile practise. There are lots of ways to do this – such as creating a success log, where you can record every one of your achievements big and small that you can remember. Make a list of all the qualities and attributes you like about yourself, no matter how small and insignificant they may appear to you right now.
Journaling facilitates your growth and prepares you for change. It helps you to visualise your intentions and goals. Journaling is a powerful means of measuring change and in valuing yourself and what matters most in your life.