The life-changing effects of journaling
Journaling has been described as a life-changing activity helping to:
- understand and release emotions
- enable decision making and focus
- allow our subconscious mind to provide clarity and work out problems
Friends who I know that journal have told me it has helped them through some really difficult moments in life.
I have a tendency to overthink and allow fear to stall my decision making. I hope that journaling will help me rationalise my feelings, stop my patterns of right/wrong thinking and help me be braver.
Ways to journal
There seem to be a number of ways to journal and techniques to achieve different aims.
Expressive writing involves dedicating 15-30 minutes to writing down feelings rather than events (as in a more traditional diary). It doesn’t require you to stick to a narrative, grammar or spelling to allow your subconscious mind run free.
Bullet journals combine several elements including planning, tracking and journaling arranged in an artful way. It tends to be top line thoughts and I can see how they help track goals and intentions. They appeal to the organiser in me, however, I feel I need more self-reflection.
I tried expressive writing to document my feelings six months after my Dad died. I wanted to understand my grief and try to make sense of it all. The reality was that I found it too hard to emotionally connect with the words and like I was writing a story about my life rather than recording my emotions. It was possibly too soon, too painful and I wasn’t quite ready to open myself up completely.
I’ve decided I’m going to ask myself a question each time I journal. This might be as simple as checking in to see how I feel that day to asking myself what I’m scared of.
I will report back.