Journaling leads to mental clarity and self-improvement. Remind yourself to journal from inspiration, not from obligation. Want to practice journaling but have no clue how & where to start- we got you!
WHAT IS JOURNALING?
Journaling is writing your every thought and feeling to be able to view them. This approach is excellent if you are overwhelmed, stressed, or experiencing anxiety or depression. Keeping a journal allows you to comprehend your emotions and improves mental health.
“Writing is the best form of thinking”-Jordan Peterson (Canadian clinical psychologist)
WHY IS JOURNALING IMPORTANT FOR MENTAL HEALTH?
On average, the human brain has approximately 6,200 thoughts per day. Articulating and documenting 1% of your thoughts can enable you to illustrate what’s happening in your mind.
Journaling is considered the best approach to implement in your daily life if you self-identify as an overthinker. Therefore, journaling plays a significant part in therapeutic exercise.
5 BENEFITS OF HAVING A DAILY JOURNALING ROUTINE
1. IMPROVES MENTAL HEALTH:
Time and time again, studies show that journaling aids in reducing mental stress and improves mood. It does so because documenting thoughts helps identify stress triggers in advance and manage stressful situations better.
A Harvard study revealed that 25% of the participants boosted their overall performance due to practicing journaling every day. This investigation further confirmed the work of psychologist John Dewey who stated that individuals learn better by reflecting on their experiences over learning from the experience itself.
2. HELPS ACHIEVE GOALS:
Journaling is a great technique to jot down goals. The physical act of crafting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) objectives allows you to track the improvement of the goals. At the same time, you troubleshoot any challenges while achieving the goal.
3. WRITING ABOUT GRATITUDE:
Focusing on what you’re grateful for is a fantastic mood booster. It often lifts your spirits and enables you to get out of a funk. Your gratitude list doesn’t need to be grand or complex. However, emphasis on listing things you’re grateful for rather than focusing on filling up the pages.
To start, ask yourself the following question:
Despite all the bad, that may have happened today, what are the three things that invoked the emotion of gratitude today?- it could be as simple as a statement like “I am grateful for the education and opportunity I have.”
4. DECLUTTER YOUR MIND:
Several thoughts bombard your t houghs daily. Keeping this in mind- now imagine using the method of journaling to view all your dominant thoughts. This reflection will give you peace, keep your anxiety in check and help you concentrate on the positives than the negatives.
Journaling assists in organizing and prioritizing thoughts, thus decluttering your mind. On that account, journaling allows you to frame the right questions and answer them. Thereupon it is a point of reference for your future self.
5. IMPROVES COMMUNICATION AND WRITING SKILLS:
A 2018 Cambridge article found that students that kept journals showed positive social and behavioural outcomes. The participants reported signs of enhanced communication and active memory. Therefore, thinking on paper improves your vocabulary, helps you find your inner voice and boosts your soft skills.
WHAT IS BULLET JOURNALING?
Journaling is of different types, and bullet journaling is a popular style. A bullet journal is a simple outlet for handling today’s activities efficiently. Ryder Carroll founded it. It’s often referred to as BuJo (bullet journal) by its loyal practitioners in short. BuJo is also called the “KonMari for your racing thoughts.”
This type of journaling focuses more on sections like habit tracking, daily to-do list, recording short/long term goals, maintaining weekly and monthly calendars, etc. It’s aimed more toward getting your everyday errands in order rather than writing your thoughts.
4 IMPORTANT SECTIONS TO A BULLET JOURNAL:
- Index page: This is where you make a list of all the items you wish to track
- Page numbers: Carroll recommends numbering the pages for its ease of referring back when checking the index.
- Always create a weekly/monthly/ daily summary: the whole point of a bullet journal is to be productive and stay organized. Ideally, your BuJo must be chronological. The aim is at the start of every week, you review the summary and plan your course of actions required to complete those defined goals.
- Insert a tracking system: create a series of marks that represent the status of the to-do list items. For instance, put an arrow against an incomplete task to imply it’s moved to next week. Ryder recommends adding a key to these marks on your index page for ease of reference.
THE 5 STEP PROCESS FOR HOW TO JOURNAL
1. START TODAY
It is imperative to start writing. Even if you have no idea what you should write or document, the first step is to do it and not wait for “your perfect timing.” If you are stuck and are unsure about how to start your journaling journey, we got you! We have included some journal prompts to get the ball rolling.
2. SET A JOURNALING RITUAL
It’s good practice to set aside about 5 minutes (or more) every day to get into the habit and routine of journaling. That said, please don’t punish yourself for breaking the schedule. Remember, journaling is about doing what makes you comfortable.
3. START SLOW, START SMALL
Firstly, you can start by answering the journal prompts provided in this article, by writing about your overall day, or with something simple as writing a sentence that would describe your day. Secondly, don’t focus on filling pages; instead, spend time on what you write and how that makes you feel.
4. RE-READ YOUR ENTRIES
Always date your entries and reflect on what you have written in the past. Re-reading offers insights when you need them the most. Additionally, it reminds you of how you dealt with challenges in the past and helps you make better or informed decisions in the present.
5. NO EDITS, ONLY WORD FLOW
The journaling process is and should not be equal to perfection. To avoid falling into the trap of perfection, do not allow yourself to edit or correct the spellings or punctuations. Remember that this journal is only for your eyes, so let your stream of consciousness prevail.
20 JOURNALING PROMPTS TO HELP ME GET STARTED
Journaling can be a daunting process, and sometimes you are unsure, speechless and overwhelmed about where to start.
CAREER AND WORK PROMPT:
- How do my job and work make me feel?
- Does my job make me feel like I am fulfilling my purpose?
- What part of my work do I enjoy the most and the least? Why?
- What are my career goals and ambitions?
- Do I see room for growth in my current role at my current job? How can I improve?
- What 3 aspects of my personality do I love the most?
- What matters distracts me the most? How can I fix this?
- How do I feel about myself at this moment?
- What are the things I am currently apprehensive and stressed about?
- Things are not going as planned; how do I respond?
PERSONAL GROWTH PROMPTS:
- Upon achieving all my goals, what do I want to do next?
- What drains and gives me energy?
- To keep myself focused and motivated, what should I do?
- Write a letter to my future self?
- What do I want to be in the next 5 years of my life?
CURRENT WELL-BEING PROMPTS:
- Three things you are grateful for today?
- Why am I feeling this way now?
- Am I living in a way that reflects the person I want to be?
- What’s working well in my life?
- If I could change 1 thing about my behaviour today, what would it be?
3 JOURNAL TEMPLATES FOR YOU TO COPY!
1. GRATITUDE JOURNAL
This type of journaling gives you an overall positive attitude in life. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Tim Ferris religiously follow this method, and here’s how you can incorporate the same.
2. 5-MINUTE NIGHT JOURNAL
Mini-day journaling is where you can record and reflect on your day. Look at this as a SparkNotes version of your whole day. Remember to make the template your own.
3. FOOD JOURNALING
Food journaling is not limited to collecting recipes and making a grocery list. It can help you make better food choices and meal plans and track everything you eat. Use it to understand your relationship with food. Here’s a template to help you.
overexposure and consumption of information make us feel overwhelmed, anxious and exhausted. It is better to dump this overload of data into a journal. Journaling helps categorize and review all the open mental tabs and helps you give your full attention to thoughts that deserve them. The prompts provided here are a great starting point.
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