Journaling? Seriously? Yes, I Do And These Are Some Benefits.
I wonder, do you and I have this in common: an obsession with office supplies? More particularly – leafing through stacks of blank journals and never buying them? If you do, then this article is for you! Indulge me, will you for just a few minutes, and let’s talk Journaling? Seriously, Yes I do and these are some benefits.
My weird obsession with office supplies
Do you know that office supply stores, stationery stores, and even certain aisles at the big box stores are good for your soul? Merchandise like paperclips, matching file folders, markers, and calendars fill the shelves. These products come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Office supplies are useful, they don’t give us blisters and are never too tight. Buying office supplies gives us a feeling of power and triumph, as they help us to feel in control of our desks, offices, and ultimately our lives. There are many lovely products to choose from as we go from aisle to aisle. However, the item that fascinates me every time I pass it, is the journal.
These mysterious books come in all types of configurations. Some are tiny, even pocket-sized. There are sleek moleskin journals without lines, and there are fancy ones that come with sticker packs. Journals can have writing prompts (which will help you if you are stuck on what to write) or a thought for the day. These little blank treasures come in just about every shape, size, color, and thickness to fit every writer’s need. If the selection isn’t good at a particular store, you can quickly go to another one. There is no shortage of journals.
You probably wonder, how do I know so much about these secret keepers. Simply stated, I am obsessed with them. Seriously, each time I wander into an office supply store or bookstore, my feet take me right to the journal section. It is like a weird radar. I pick one up, leaf through it, and examine the pages for my writing preferences. Standing in the store, I imagine myself deep in the pages writing my most sacred thoughts.
Funny, there was a time that I wouldn’t buy a journal. Maybe pride, embarrassment, or guilt made me put these little treasures back on the shelf. Yet, each time I left the store without a journal, I felt a little incomplete.
Finally, in 2014, the day came. I broke down and bought a journal. Still today, I consider my first journal one of my most important purchases. Hopefully, you will read on and discover a few benefits I experience through journaling and how it might benefit you too!
Journaling is an excellent way to create a beneficial habit.
We can all agree there are habits that are beneficial to us and those that are not. Incorporating more useful habits into our lives helps us to be more vibrant. Time and time again, highly effective people discuss their daily practices and how important journaling is to their routine.
So how does journaling reinforce a healthy habit? Easy. Committing to writing in your journal each day takes little to no effort. Wake up, write for five minutes, and boom task complete! Instant gratification on a job well done. No need to sweat, or wake up an hour early, or even put on pants. All you do is grab your pen, your journal, and write a few thoughts down.
There is no right or wrong way to journal. You just pick up your book and write for 2 or 3 minutes. The key is you must start somewhere. This practice is about creating a new useful, healthy, beneficial routine. Healthy habits begin with intentional practice, and repetition reinforces those patterns.
If you are having trouble starting, just put your pen to the paper and begin composing. To be quite honest, sometimes I have no idea what to write. Thinking that we need some great revelation or some mind-blowing trauma to record is a lie. A desire to compose is all we need and then take action and jot your thoughts down on paper.
There are days that I draw a blank. That doesn’t stop me from journaling. Sometimes, I write entries like “I got nothing today”…or ‘BLAHHHHH”. Why? Because I am building and reinforcing my desired habit of journaling.
Journaling is a great way to gain clarity.
If you are like most people, you may, from time to time, carry the burden of a head full of thoughts. What should I do, when should I do it, and why in the world did I do that? “What if,” ” oh no,” and “I can’t believe this happened,” are all part of the constant nonsense going on in our heads.
Do you like it? No, I didn’t think so, and neither do I. So, silence those pesky voices from screaming in your head. Write something down, even if it’s not in complete sentences. Just write your thoughts or whatever pops into your head. Clearing your mind of the jumble through journaling is practical and easy.
Think of it like you would your shopping list. Why do you scribble a list before you go into the store? Jotting your list on paper gets information out of your head, leaving more room for more critical thoughts. When you take a minute to download your mind into your journal, you clear your mind and hopefully lessen the load you carry.
Journaling can help you make essential decisions.
Making contrasting lists helps me organize my mind clutter, especially when faced with an important decision. On one side of the paper, write your do’s or likes and, on the other side, write your don’ts and dislikes. Listing potential outcomes, reasons, or even costs allows me to evaluate my current situation more logically. Examining the compiled data, I find it much easier to define my objectives. In other words, I can evaluate my thoughts more clearly.
Over these last few years, I acknowledge that responding to data and logic is more productive than reacting emotionally or even irrationally. Downloading my thoughts into my journal is my way of sorting out the noise and formulating a much better decision.
Journaling is a sure way to express gratitude.
2014 was an incredibly dark time for me. Our family had significant turmoil, and through that, I began my journey to find myself. Journaling and reading are two of the habits I adopted. It was during that time that I started reading books by Dr. Joseph Murphy, Ekhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, and Abraham Hicks.
These authors all have a similar message. Practice gratitude, stay present, and joy will be your portion. They all agree that the more you find you are thankful, the more you will have to be grateful. The more you find joy in your life, the more pleasure you will experience.
The search began
So, with those thoughts, I began to investigate this for myself. Somehow, the book, The Magic by Rhonda Byrne came across my radar. I was familiar with her teaching as I had seen her documentary, The Secret, a few months prior. In the book, Byrnes encourages the reader to engage in some practices at the end of each chapter. One of these tasks is to write 20 statements of gratitude every day for a month. So, for the next 30 days, I did.
Honestly, it was a tough exercise. My outlook on life was bleak, and I felt miserable, even depressed. Our home life was falling apart. Most days, I could hardly get out of bed and walk down the hall to our office.
I did the assignments anyway. My lists included things like being thankful for having an infinite supply of promotional ink pens to appreciating the morning sun coming through our eastern-facing office windows. Eventually, around the second week of this painful lesson, expressing gratitude became easier. Every day, I had at least 20 different items on my list. I realized that expressing gratitude becomes contagious, and my reasons multiplied. The point is that we all have so many reasons to be grateful.
Practicing gratitude is one super-easy way to journal. I challenge you to start with this and see how your gratitude increases. Just commit to writing three statements of appreciation for a month. Let me know how you feel at the end of the month.
Journaling helps to unlock creative thoughts.
A few months ago, I ran across an article by James Altucher. In this post, Altucher talks about exercising our creative brain muscles. He equates our mind muscles with our physical muscles in that the more we use them, the stronger the muscles develop. In the same way that we attack sudoku and crossword puzzles, to strengthen our minds, we can also make our creative minds stronger and unlock creative thoughts.
Altucher challenges himself to write ten answers to a particular subject or question each day. Some of the topics he uses are; What are ten new ways I can make money this week, and What is the title of 10 Books I could write? Although he doesn’t necessarily act upon his lists; instead, he uses this exercise to help keep his creative mind sharp. These prompts are a super fun way to get your imagination rolling. Try a couple of Altucher’s prompts or come up with a list of your own as a way to get your creative mind-muscle moving and strengthening!
Journaling gives me a five or 10-minute break from the world.
Seriously, taking a five or ten-minute break from the world is the most beneficial reason I journal. Just a few minutes away from the noise of the world and concentrating on myself is my saving grace. My journal holds my secrets, my failures, my wins, and my dreams.
Getting to know me and trusting myself through these practices is liberating. Journaling, by far, allows me a safe space to be creative, honest, and unrestricted. My daily journaling routine helps me to be more in tune with myself and the world around me. I genuinely believe that as you embark on this journey into journaling, you too will experience the benefits as well.
The next time you are at the office supply store, allow yourself to buy a journal. Try writing for a few weeks and start clearing your mind. You have some beautiful thoughts, dreams, and visions. Write them out and record them. You have a story to tell!
Just give it a try out for 5 days or so. See if you notice any new thoughts.
I’m looking forward to hearing you say “Journaling? Seriously? Yes, I do And These Are Some Benefits.”
Motivational great Tony Robbins says, “If your life’s worth living, it’s worth recording.” So get started today!
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