Benefits (and downfalls) of Keeping a Journal

The Benefits and downfalls of keeping a journal

Journaling has great benefits when utilized and is a lifelong habit of mine, passed down from my mother who’s an avid journaler too. Fun fact about me, I still have all my journals from the time I was in 3rd grade till now.

Many people immediately think of the classic middle school “Dear Diary….” format with the secret lock attached to a flowery box. (If you were really fancy you had the secret password journal where you had to speak the password.) However, journaling is different for everyone and doesn’t have to be your classic narrative date entries.

Journaling can be anything from brief thoughts and phrases written throughout the day, drawing and sketches, ongoing dream boards, or a combination of everything and anything that comes to mind. Whatever approach taken, there are some awesome benefits to journaling.

The Benefits and downfalls of keeping a journal
Catharsis.

Journaling can be a great way to mind dump and unload everything that’s cluttering your thoughts. It can also be a great way to vent, especially if you’re still hashing out a situation your friends and family have heard about a million times over, or if you fear some of your thoughts might hurt somebody’s feelings.

Mindfulness.

Evoking a state of mindfulness is a great skill to have and one that journaling can help develop. It takes you out of autopilot and gives you an opportunity to really connect with your thoughts and focus.

Insight.

You’d be amazed by what comes out of journaling that you weren’t initially aware of. Journaling can help bring to the forefront something that you might have been purposefully neglecting or avoiding. The brain is wonderful at forcing important things to the forefront one way or another and journaling can be a safe outlet.
Setting goals/expectations. There are several studies that show a strong correlation between writing and speaking things and then achieving them. Basically, journaling can be the first step towards putting a thought into action.

Alternately journaling can have its downfalls. Be careful of falling for these tendencies when journaling.

Wallowing in self-pity.

Sometimes people will fill their journals with everything sad and everything that’s going wrong in their lives and then go about the rest of their day in this state of mind. If you’re releasing negative thoughts, make sure you’re truly letting them go. Write/draw/tape it into your journal and leave it there.

Self Justification.

Be careful when putting down a situation in which you felt you were wronged. Sometimes people turn to journaling to justify themselves to themselves. It’s okay to be confident in your decisions, just make sure you’ve looked at the situation from all perspectives.

The Journaling Experience.

It’s awesome to be excited about journaling and thinking “I can’t wait to write about this” or something similar, but much like taking selfies and pictures, you risk losing experiencing whatever is happening right there at the moment. Be sure to be fully present in your everyday life so when you do record what’s happened, you have an accurate replay and not a passive play-by-play.

With this in mind go find your perfect journal and enjoy the benefits! Happy Journaling!

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