The Benefits of Journaling

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At times we all feel compelled to write things down. Whether it be a list of groceries or an idea that just popped in our head, we take the time to jot it down. In the amount of time it takes (or less) to write these things down we can also journal.

You may be thinking to yourself “Why would I take the time to journal?”

Here is my response to you: You should take the time to journal because there is unlimited potential to gain from this practice. Whether you spend 5 or 50 minutes journaling there are benefits that you will reap from this.

Gratitude Journaling in particular is a practice that will set the tone for your life. It will open your eyes and heart to a whole new world of truly being grateful and seeing the love & positivity that surrounds us.

There are many ways that one can go about journaling in this sense, but before I break these down – there is one thing they all have in common. That thing is Gratitude.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

We utilize this quality because it opens our heart – it allows us to just think and write freely while journaling.

Types of Journaling

There are many ways that we can journal – but at the end of the day it comes down to what works best for you. Whether it be organized a certain way or notes written everywhere. Find what works for you and stick to it.

Response Journaling:

This form of journaling is very straight forward. Come up with a set of questions that you will write your response to on a regular basis. I find that it is good to come up with a mixture of questions centered around gratitude and self-awareness;

Questions of Gratitude:

  • What am I thankful for today?
  • My favorite thing about the day is:
  • I thank my body for allowing me to_____________.
  • I am grateful for ______________ which allowed me to do ______________ today.

Questions of Self-Awareness:

  • What prominent emotions did I feel today?
  • Where do I feel the most tension from the day came from?
  • How did I react to ______________ situation? What can I do to improve this reaction?
  • What do I need right now?
Q&A A Day: 5-Year Journal

Quick Check-In:

This practice of journaling is one that is implemented into your daily routine. Set aside five minutes at the same time each day to quickly journal. This is your chance to record your thoughts and feelings. It is often found with this type of journaling that speaking your thoughts allows them to flow a lot easier. For this you need some sort of a device (i.e. your smartphone) to record yourself. Or just simply writing will suffice to0 – whatever works best for you.

Here are some things to journal about with your check-ins:

  • What is bothering you.
  • What has made you smile so far today.
  • What emotions have you experienced today.
  • What thoughts you are having in this moment.
  • Some observations you’ve made throughout the day.
  • Any ideas that you’ve had – so you can revisit them later.
Classic Ruled Journal

Morning Journaling:

Morning journaling is probably the simplest form of journaling. This is where you take some time each morning and just write. Not about anything specific – no reflection – just the thoughts that are swirling around in your head in that moment.

By doing this you allow yourself to kick the day off with a clean slate. All of your thoughts will be written down before you start the day – and you may even be able to find the solution to a problem that kept you up all night just by simply putting it on paper.

Through this practice you’ll find that there is no rhyme or reason to journaling – that the words just start to flow. Before you know it your journal will be filled with awesome knowledge – great ideas – words of love – and so much more.

Two Minute Mornings

Drawing:

Is drawing journaling? It sure is!

With this journaling practice – artist or not – all you do is sketch how you are feeling. This does not have to be an elaborate sketch, but if it is good for you!

Sketch your emotions, your surroundings, your worries and aspirations, your nightmares, your dreams – whatever comes to mind let it flow onto paper. Drawing allows us to unknowingly open the doors to our minds and our hearts.

Collage:

Making a daily or weekly collage can really open our eyes to the present and the future. Through this practice we give ourselves that capability to capture our day and/or week and turn it into something visual.

With collaging we provide ourselves with a visual representation not only of how we feel – but with what we are grateful for. Through this visualization we give ourselves the prime opportunity to reflect back and see first hand any trends or patterns that affect is in both positive and negative ways.

Soft Cover Spiral Sketchbook

How To Implement Journaling Into Our Already Busy Lives

In the hectic world we live in it is sometimes hard to implement new practices into our lives. Journaling like any other new practice takes dedication. If you fall off the wagon – you get back up and pick up right where you left off. Eventually it will become routine and be an important part of your daily rituals.

Maybe you are someone that does not have any current rituals. If this is you – now is the perfect time to start!

Rituals are very important. These are the practices that keep us grounded, and allow us to start and end each day on a good note. Not everyone has the same rituals as we need to do what is right for us. If something works for someone else – it may not work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Here are some examples of my morning rituals:

  • Exercise
  • Coffee
  • Gratitude Journal
  • Daily Affirmations

Along with some of my evening rituals:

As you can see journaling made it into my rituals twice. Some days I journal more often depending on what is happening throughout my day. The reason I point this out is because I used to never journal.

Journaling to me seemed like such a waste of time. I always thought that I could be doing work or something more productive. Let me tell you, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Before I touch on the awesome life changing benefits of journaling – let’s discuss how to implement journaling into our lives. Here are some tips on making this as seamless of a transitions as possible:

  • Pick a time of day to journal. If you’re a morning person – journal in the morning. If you are a night owl – journal in the evening. If you’re a somewhere in the middle person – set some time aside during the day to journal. Simple right?
  • Decide on what type of journaling fits best into your life. As we discussed there are several ways to journal. You can start with one type of journaling and if that doesn’t jive try another. Mix and match journaling styles. You are never stuck to one type.
  • Start small. For example: let’s say you decide to give Response Journaling a try. Start off with two questions to respond to and overtime tack on more. This will allow you to make an easier transition into journaling.
  • Be diligent. Just like any other practice in life, in order to succeed we have to work hard. I’m not saying spend hours of your day writing. What I am saying is to make it a point to do your best to journal at least once a day. If you get to it a little later than normal – that’s ok. If you miss a day – that’s also ok. As long as you get right back to it the next day.

Benefits of Journaling

Who doesn’t like to benefit from something!? Journaling is a great practice that has so many benefits that a whole other post can be written on that alone. For the sake of not keeping you here all day – I will touch on the three that I feel are most important.

  1. Self-Awareness: Through the practice of journaling we are also helping ourselves become more self-aware each day. For every journal we write/speak/draw we are allowing ourselves to be fully aware of our emotional state.
  2. Mental Health: Journaling allows us to write words that we refuse to speak. It gives us the opportunity to put into the universe the struggles we face, the opportunities we have, and more – all while still keeping these things to ourselves. Just being able to write down some of our internal battles allows us to get our ducks in a row and see how we can better face these struggles – or at minimum hopefully see where our they are stemming from.
  3. Openness: When we journal we allow ourselves to open our hearts and minds. Eventually this will spill into other areas of our lives and create an open mindedness in many different aspects. It will allow us to approach situations with a different mindset than we normally would and ultimately helps us see things in a more positive light.

Gratitude:

We already discussed gratitude in the sense where we can not journal without it. But why is this important?

When we implement gratitude into our lives it will open so many doors for us. Being able to see the positive in an overall negative situation – being truly grateful for life itself will allow us to be the positive force not only behind our own life but behind the lives of those we love as well.

Reflecting on these moments in life with our loved ones – and even total strangers will set in gear our practice of journaling. The more we can reflect on what we are grateful for the more we will want to journal – making it so easy to implement this practice into our lives.

Having the courage to open your heart & mind – even if it is only to journal – will give you the courage to face everything else life throws at you. It’s all about taking baby steps and becoming more and more in love with yourself each day. As your practice grows – so will your attitude for gratitude. ❤

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