You have no idea the resistance I have had to the idea of journaling. For years I have struggled with writing in my journal. And I have had several excuses. The #1 reason was that either my life was too boring to write about – or writing about it, was boring.
But when something significant did come up, my next excuse was that it hurt my hand too much (true, a broken thumb from years ago makes writing painful plus a small amount of arthritis that I’ve inherited). So yup…..I’ve had my excuses! Did I mentioned that I always “lost” my journal when I felt slightly inclined to try and write. Journal writing for me in the past equaled total disaster!
But I’ve changed my tune over the last year. First of all, my biggest breakthrough came when I learned about all the journaling software that is out there. Although you can certainly keep a journal on your computer with just a word processor (like WORD) and of course the traditional method of a hand-written journal…. what I like about the computer journal that I can see a listing of my entries by date or topic. Plus I can also do a “search” with different key words. I have “multiple” journals (within the program) such as a “spiritual journal”, “events journal”, “ideas journal”, etc. I’ve used several different programs and my current ones are Evernote and Penzu. Here’s a short list of other programs that fit the bill:
The Journler (Mac)
The Journal (PC)
Penzu (FREE or $19 for PRO)
They range in price but typically hover around $39.99 and most have a 30+day trial.
Many people use their journals only to record life events. I don’t bother with that too much (I plan to get my personal blog re-started again for that!) I actually use my journal as a powerful personal development tool. I’m going to list some of the many benefits that I have found in regards to journaling:
- Through journaling, you can bring everything you want to ponder, change, develop, prepare for, or accomplish into the conscious part of your brain where you can do something about it. It’s a place where you can bring yourself out of your “automatic” thought patterns, behaviors and habits. Journaling is one of the most effective self-accountability tools you will ever use because it makes you consciously aware of and responsible for nearly every aspect of your life.
- Have you ever been burdened with a problem that you just can’t seem to get out of your head? Journaling is a great problem solving tool…a way to think through complex decisions until you reach the point of clarity. I’ve found that journaling can help me crystalize my thoughts to work through problems.
- Some problems are just too big to fully understand in our thoughts alone. We can only focus our conscious minds directly on a small part of any given problem. Even though our brains are fairly powerful, our conscious minds are still limited in their ability to hold onto multiple simultaneous thoughts. While journaling can’t overcome the major limitations of our conscious minds, writing things through is at least a step in the right direction.
- Via your journal you can also uncover and then get rid of negative thoughts, feelings and memories that have been tormenting you for years. For whatever reason, when you take the time to write out worries, negative feelings etc. they somehow begin to lose their power over you! When this baggage is cleared out, your health, success, and energy substantially improve. Journaling helps you resolve them and move on.
- As you journal, amazing ideas and insights about all aspects of your life will come to mind, and you’ll ask yourself, “where did that answer come from?” Through journaling you may receive inspiration and then you will have a written record of that inspiration so it’s never forgotten. I have always believed that there is an energy and spiritual power all around us. It is there for us to tap into and receive! But we can only do this when we take time to shut out the noise and distractions of the world.
- Looking back on our lives, there are so many important experiences, insights, lessons and events; they are far too numerous to count or recall. Imagine having a record of your feelings and insights during your trials, challenges, and triumphs…they are all part of your life story!
- After journaling for several months, you will have opened up extensive neural pathways to the right side…or the creative side of your brain. As a result, you will find significant increases in your intuition, not only during your journaling but at many other times during the day and night.
I’ve used journaling as a tool for creating content for my LifeVision. It’s just a way of identifying specific aspects of “The Ideal Me and My Ideal Life”. And in turn, as I listen to my LifeVision, I discover feelings I want to journal about…it’s like 2 interlocking rotating circles!
I’m excited to be developing this new habit. I try to write for a minimum of 10 minutes everyday. Ha…I even had to set a timer in the beginning to that I wouldn’t get sidetracked! But I’m truly beginning to see the benefits of this valuable experience and process!
How many of you journal? What is your method? What benefits have you received from journaling?