Why You Should Start Journaling

As part of my spiritual growth or growth in general, I’ve decided to start journaling every morning.  I didn’t start journaling when I first heard the recommendation because I felt I didn’t have much to say and I’m not a very creative person in the morning.  However, after reading more and more about the benefits of journaling I’ve decided to give it a try and this is why…

I’ve noticed that I have a lot of ideas regarding what I want to achieve in a day, but when my day is finished, I notice things are rarely accomplished.  I think part of the issue is that I do not have a clear goal about what I want to tackle first.  Basically, ideas are just flying around in my head as I’m doing my everyday tasks.  I forget about most of them or I say I will do them later.  For example, I am in the shower and I remember I have to call the Board of Behavioral Sciences.  I get out of the shower, get dressed, do my hair, my makeup, and then I get hungry.  I go to the kitchen to make something to eat and I notice the dishes are not done.  Do you see what is happening here? I forget about calling 20 minutes ago because my day went in it’s own direction.

Writing things down and making them concrete always gives me more directions.  For example, I wake up and write “Good morning blah blah blah. Today I want to accomplish all my goals on my to-do list.  This will make me feel better about myself and my day”.  Since I am doing my journaling in the morning, it makes most sense that I talk about what my day will look like and what will make me happy.  It gets me in the mindset that I need.

So what is that “blah blah blah” in the middle of Good morning and my goals? It is what I am grateful for.  I have noticed (and you will know if you read my recent post about getting through tough times) that there are a lot of curve balls that life throws at you.  Within the past couple of years, I have felt a lot of negative emotions.  I became bitter about a show I was on, angry with a toxic relationship, alone while living across the country, sad when people passed away, regretful about the way I handled my relationship with my father when he got his diagnosis, fearful about that the diagnosis meant, stressed from grad school, hurt by people at my internship, the list goes on and on.  I basically felt lost and wasn’t looking forward to what could come next.  I knew it had to stop.  So I started focusing on the good things I had and put a positive look on the bad.

For example, “yes, school is stressful, but I have a 4.0. I am proud of myself for working this hard. Hard work pays off.  I am lucky to have an uncle that will allow me to live with him rent free while I accomplish my goals”.  Once I started to put positive spins on the “bad” things, it started to get easier. So now I say things I am grateful for every night while in bed and every morning in my journal.  This is a good way to start the day positive and ready to conquer goals.

Lastly, it makes me more self-aware.  If I had started journaling two years ago, you would probably see a page full of things I did not like about my life.  I can imagine seeing “I don’t want to go to my internship.  I feel people talk down to me.  I need to work 10 hours there and then go straight to class. I have no time.”  Since I just recently started to journal, I do not have much to look back on, but I know what it would have looked like and it wouldn’t have been pretty.  If I had started journaling earlier, maybe I would have caught on to how negative I was and I could have changed sooner.  I’m not upset about it, but I do believe it’s a good tool to evaluate where your head is at.

A lot of times, we are not aware of the thoughts in our head because they come so quickly and naturally.  If we get into the habit of thinking of the bad, it spirals out of control.  I want to be a more positive person so saying the things I am grateful for every day will train my brain to stay focused on the positive.  Who doesn’t want to be a more positive, grateful, and appreciative person?

I should also add that it is said that journaling in the morning is helpful with creativity. This is because our subconscious is working while we sleep.  Our subconscious has a lot of ideas and paths to show us if we can figure out how to tap into it.  Waking up in the morning and writing immediately helps get those thoughts we are not aware of out on paper.  I have not been journaling long enough to comment on this part; however, I will write an update one day to let you know how my journaling journey is going.

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