Read this post if you want to know what all the hype about journaling is about and what are the benefits of journaling.
Journaling consists of keeping a written record of thoughts, feelings, ideas and anything else that may be floating in your brain.
If you’ve ever found yourself immersed in your own deep ocean of chaotic thoughts that won’t let you reach the surface to catch your breath, then a journal might be the lifesaver you need.
The first time I heard about the wonders of it was many years ago.
It’s a pretty well-known technique that many successful people swear by.
I’m a productivity junkie and I’m all about anything that can make me more productive. However, I must admit I always found journaling to be ridiculously stupid. I used to think I was too badass to try it.
“I don’t need to write on a journal like a 14-year-old, for God’s sake.”
Deep down, I was so embarrassed to even think about putting in writing what I was thinking.
I was afraid someone would find out and make fun of me or even worse, institutionalize me.
I was also terrified of being able to read my own flow of thoughts days after I thought the thought.
Journaling felt like the perfect tool to look myself in the eye and finally confirm what I’ve feared for a long time: I’m insane.
Sometimes I think about so many things that don’t make sense. Sometimes I talk to myself like I’m my worst enemy and I’m certainly not proud of that.
So better keep my thoughts where nobody could see them, not even me.
But after waking up that day, my mind was like a thought tornado. Millions of thoughts, one right after the other trying to figure everything out. It was insane.
I knew I needed to start doing things differently this time if I wanted to actually improve my life’s foundations. I was certain it was necessary to try something I hadn’t tried before. They say stupidity is doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results, right?
So I thought about it for a couple of days and finally made the decision to start. I grabbed a new journal I had lying around and set a date and time: tomorrow, 4 p.m., journaling session.
I was a little nervous, but new notebooks always excite me so I started writing the first thing that popped into my head.
At first, I felt like I was writing a book and presenting my thoughts for the whole world to see. It felt kind of tense. But then I told myself nobody had to even know this journal existed, so I started to give fewer fucks every minute.
I wrote non-stop for around 15 minutes and filled 5 pages. I described how lost and empty I felt. How much I missed being challenged in college. How bad I wanted more money. And how ready I was to do everything I had to do to feel better.
I remember feeling so satisfied after that. I soon realized journaling had to be a part of my day. And, since habits are like my whole deal, I turned journaling into a habit that has transformed my life completely.
Today I want to share with you all the benefits I’ve been getting from this simple practice and tell you: YOU NEED TO GRAB PEN AND PAPER AND START DOING THIS RIGHT NOW.
Benefits of journaling
1. Journaling gives you mental clarity
After journaling for just a few days, 10-15 minutes a day, I felt I was thinking way more clearly. It was something very similar to that coziness you feel after you’ve decluttered your desk.
Whenever I feel my mind’s a total mess that goes from thinking about the people I despite the most, to how I forgot to say goodbye to that girl I went to college with and instead turned around and walked away leaving her talking to herself, to how much I need to have my eyebrows done (and everything in between), I simply put it down in writing.
2. Journaling helps you remember everything you learn daily
When it comes to learning, I’m all in.
I love learning new things every day. Most days I learn more than one thing.
So, remembering everything can be quite challenging, but thanks to my new best friend, my journal, I can take notes of all those things I learn not only from others but also from my very own self.
Journaling can improve your memory!
3. Journaling helps you recognize patterns and recurring thoughts
After 10 days of journaling, I read everything I’d written so far. It wasn’t as shockingly horrifying as I thought it was going to be and I was surprised to find out I wrote exactly the same idea several times without even realizing it.
One of those recurring thoughts was the idea of teaching others something. Of writing. And of starting something new and exciting.
It was also clear I wanted to start a blog, so here we are.
4. Journaling helps you fight negative self-talk
As I told you before, I can be quite hard on myself sometimes. Somehow, like magic, my beating myself down stopped. I still face self-doubt and low self-esteem, but it’s nothing compared to how it was before.
5. Journaling is an affordable, easy-access anger management tool
If you’re anything like me, when you’re extremely angry you can get quite… passionate about it.
If you find yourself thinking aggressive things to say to people when you’re mad, then journaling is for you.
It’s the perfect way to vent without the huge inconvenience of hurting someone else’s feelings and damaging relationships.
6. Journaling helps you visualize the life you desire
One of the things I love to do when journaling is to imagine myself living the life I want. I also like to picture myself one, three, five, ten years from now and write down everything I see myself doing and feeling.
This visualization exercise has helped me feel motivated when I’m down. Highly recommended.
7. Journaling makes you feel inspired
If something I see, hear or think makes me feel inspired, I’m writing it down.
Sometimes when I’m writing everything I’m thinking, I start to feel inspired to create something of value and usually that feeling stays with me long after I’ve finished my journaling session.
8. Journaling helps you keep count of your small wins
If I do something right, I take notes about it. No matter how big or small, if it makes me feel great about myself, then it’s a victory. And I’m a fan of that.
This has helped me boost my self-confidence and serves as a source of inspiration, too.
9. Journaling is a great self-reflection exercise
Sometimes when I’m overthinking, I ask myself so many questions. Overthinking seems to be an endless Q&A session with myself. And I’m quite sure I’m not the only person in the world who feels like that.
Whenever a deep question pops into my head, I just write it down. This helps me let the question go and also think about it during my journaling session, which is perfect!
10. Journaling is the perfect tool to practice gratitude daily
Years ago, when I was struggling with depression, I read somewhere that it was a good idea to list 3 things you liked, every day, by the end of the day.
It doesn’t have to be anything big, profound, too important. Just 3 things you really like, that’s it. This practice was like a breath of fresh air back then.
Now it’s morphed into lists about things I’m grateful for and it makes me feel really happy inside.
11. Journaling helps you keep track of your new, shiny ideas
Whenever I have an idea, I write it down. It can be a million-dollar business idea or just a simple realization.
Then, at the end of my journaling session, I take note of the ideas of the day on a Google Drive doc I created for my ideas only.
12. Journaling helps you see how much you’ve grown
When I started journaling I was drifting through life but I was also determined to do whatever it took to find my way.
A few weeks after starting, I can already see how far I’ve come.
By keeping a journal and reading it after some time, you’ll realize how much you’ve grown!
13. Journaling fosters creativity
Journaling helps me keep my ideas fresh and it’s the main source of content ideas for my blog.
It wasn’t easy for me to start. I was honestly too afraid to try it. No joke. And now I’m a little embarrassed to admit I was scared to try something so simple that ended up being so helpful.
But today I can confidently say journaling is a life-changer (or should I say lifesaver?), so hear me out… you have to try it. NOW. The benefits of journaling are real and long-lasting.
I highly recommend journaling daily for at least 10 minutes. And, in my opinion, it’s best to use good old pen and paper, however, if you feel more comfortable writing on a Word document or Evernote, you do you.
If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ve made journaling prompts for you to start this journey. You can download them here.
In case you feel writing for 10 minutes straight is too much for you, you can try writing only one sentence a day.
However, if you’re more experienced or want to dig deeper, then reading about Da Vinci’s journaling method may be for you.
If you found this blog post valuable, let me know and please help me share it with others 🙂
Have you tried journaling before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments or tweet me at @aimlief 🙂