How Journaling Will Change Your Life For The Better
When you think about journaling the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is a bunch of pages of writing starting with ‘Dear diary…’ followed by a rant about their day. However, journaling isn’t just about b*tching, there are other elements to it that could improve the quality of your life over time. Keep reading to find out some of the benefits of journaling, hopefully, you’ll find a reason to start keeping one for yourself.
What is Journaling?
Before we get into the benefits of journaling it would be a good idea to properly understanding what journaling is.
In short, all it is is the act of keeping a record of your daily activities, thoughts, feelings, plans, or goals. This could be done through writing (probably the most popular method), audio, or video recordings (i.e. Snapchat stories).
When it comes to journaling (through writing) some people like to write in paragraphs, others prefer bullet points. For that reason, some benefits may be less applicable to some styles and more to others, it all depends on your preference.
1. Expanding Your Vocabulary
For a lot of us, we get to a point in life where we hit our vocabulary peak. We stop learning new words and just recycle the words we know. Or use one word in a hundred different ways to mean a hundred different things i.e. f*ck. But the problem with having an average lexicon is that at some points in life you may not have the right words to properly express yourself or articulate your point.
As you start journaling, after a while you’ll start to get fed up with using the same words over and over again. There’s one thing repeatedly saying a word but when it comes to repeatedly seeing a word, eventually you’ll start to feel like your writing is a bit ‘vanilla’, so you’re going to want to spice things up a bit. Get ‘kinky’ with the words you use in other words try new things, broaden your horizons. The best way to learn new words is by using them, so why not use them when no one’s looking, before you know it you’ll be using it everywhere.
2. Invokes Mindfulness
For an individual who constantly has a lot on their mind trying to hold everything in can lead to anxiety and overthinking. Why not take some of that weight off your shoulders?
Journaling can ensure that you properly process all your emotions and thoughts, taking time to properly analyse how you feel and why you feel that way, something many of us fail to do effectively hence why we have issues that never seem to go away.
Think of journaling like a shopping list. If you don’t make one, your shopping trip is going to be a lot more stressful than you need it to be because you’re going to spend more time racking your brain trying to remember what you intended to buy. But once you really think about what you need and make a list, you take that weight off your shoulders.
Looking back, that analogy was trash, all I’m saying is stop trying to solve everything in your head, put it down on paper.
3. Improves Emotional Intelligence
The more you write in your journal, the more patterns you’ll notice in yourself that you didn’t know before. From that, your emotional intelligence will begin to grow.
You’ll become more self-aware, recognising how you feel without giving it much thought, and from past experience, self-regulation steps will begin to take place. You’ll have more self-control, become more aware of your tipping points, and be able to adapt to situations based on what may have worked last time.
For me, during motivational slumps, I noticed that whenever I spent time browsing for watches or cars and reminded myself of what I was working for, I’d feel a new wave of energy or motivation. So now rather than letting the ‘sadness’ brew, the first place I head to is ‘Watches of Switzerland’ or ‘AutoTrader. For you, it might be different, you might get a boost of energy from spending time with friends and family. So make sure you find what works for you, I probably wouldn’t have noticed my patterns if I hadn’t written them down.
4. Builds Your Self-discipline
If you set a dedicated time to journal i.e. right before bed, you’re going to need the discipline to maintain that routine. As you stick to your routine of journaling, like sticking to any other routine, that self-discipline will transpire into other aspects of your life. Maybe you’ll start getting into bed at a certain time so you can finish journaling by a certain time.
5. Remind Yourself of Your Goals
When we set goals for ourselves we set them, almost certain that we are going to achieve them. A week later we’ve forgotten what we’ve set ourselves. However, if every night (or whenever you journal) you write about the steps you took towards achieving that goal and what you intend to do next, it becomes almost impossible to forget what your goals are.
So if you’re someone who constantly writes goals and forgets them. Why not try writing them but also writing about the journey (the good and the bad)? It will not only help with your productivity, but it’s great to look back on in the future and see the progress you’ve made.
6. Boosts Memory
If you’re writing about how your day went, even if you are b*tching, this is a good way to improve your memory as your brain is constantly trying to remember details of the events that occurred as you’re writing. Later in life when you read back on pages from your journal, your brain is then tasked with trying to recall the images of the events that took place. Something like an intentional Deja Vu.
7. Sparks Creativity
When you’re journaling you might find yourself switching things up a bit, especially if you’re journaling forward i.e. writing about the day ahead of you (common with those who like to journal in the morning).
A lot of people that journal first thing in the morning tend to write about ideas they have, plans they hope to fulfill, or just a general prediction of how they expect their day to pan out. Usually what happens is they just write whatever first comes to their mind not really giving too much attention to whether or not what they’re writing makes sense. This is a great way to spark your creative juices first thing in the morning and an effective way to get your brain active without thinking too much about what’s really going on or being said.
But even if you’re not an AM journalist, you might decide to switch up your journaling format. For example, I’ve recently switched from just outright writing to beginning with 5-8 things I’m grateful for, writing about how the day went, then writing affirmations with whatever space is left. Be creative with your journal there’s no right or wrong way of doing it.
8. Reduces Stress
This is the main reason I prefer to journal before bed. As your day comes to an end the chances are you’re either stressed out or probably tired from a long day. So for me, journaling is a great way to relieve stress. It’s basically like a brain-dump. Releasing everything that is stressing me out rather than keeping it in your mind. Once you’re done you’ll probably come to realise that things weren’t as deep as you made them out to be.
9. Documenting Your Life
Journals can be exciting both when you’re writing them and when you look back at them later on in life. You get to see how you’ve leveled up and how far you’ve come from all sorts of challenges. If you keep your journals long enough you might even decide to pass it down to your kids or make a book out of it. You never know.
At the end of the day, the way you journal really depends on what you want out of it. You might choose to have journals for different things or occasions. Some people journal daily, others choose to journal weekly. It’s all a matter of preference. As a result, in the next post (after the next Hustlers post), I’ll be breaking down different journaling styles that might suit you.
But in the meantime, I hope you were able to gain something valuable from this post. If you were, share it with a friend or two so they don’t miss out on the value. Thank you for reading!