Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The benefits of keeping a journal

With so much reliance on social media these days, it’s easy to lose sight of the benefits of the written word. And while blogging is growing in popularity – enabling people to share their deepest thoughts and ideas with the public at large – the self-awareness benefits of journaling could be in danger of being lost.

Keeping a journal has long been recognised as a way of building a greater self-awareness and provides an excellent tool to help us practise gratitude, both of which contribute to us leading happy, fulfilling lives.

The daily ritual of keeping a journal helps us maintain a mindful focus on the things we experience every day and encourages us to see our own lives through a different lens – enabling us to gain perspective in our otherwise hectic, busy lives.

Daily writing in a journal – even just for a few minutes – really helps us concentrate on what’s important to us. It’s therapeutic, enabling us to appreciate the positives in the everyday and supporting us as we analyse and make sense of the negative issues and events that we all encounter from time to time.

In much the same way that blogging has been shown to have positive benefits for teenagers, journaling has been found to be a great tool for improving our self-esteem and easing social anxiety. They key is to use your journal as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of your emotions and to develop a greater self-awareness. You can find out more about how negative thought patterns can cause us to feel ‘stuck’ – and what journaling can do to help us in this Psychology Today article.

When it comes to keeping a journal, there really is no right or wrong way or a one size fits all, but you may find the following guidelines helpful:

Keep your journal for yourself – just like your secret diary when you were a teenager!

If you suspect that you will be sharing what you write with others somewhere down the line, your writing won’t reflect your true self, just those aspects that you feel able to share with others. Feel free to discuss the topics that you write about with your family and friends, as you wish, but keep the written journal for your eyes only

Place some value on your journal

Set regular time aside for your writing and find yourself a private space, away from everyday distractions, so you can give it your full attention. Lots of people choose to write at the start or end of the day, but whatever works best for you, so long as it’s regular enough to become part of your daily routine.

Set some time aside to reflect on what you have written

Look beyond the words to identify your thought patterns – especially where you have a tendency to be overly negative – as this will help you put things into perspective in future. Only by reflecting on what we have written, can we shift our negative mindsets to a more positive outlook.

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