The word journaling seems to invoke an immediate, visceral response from everyone. The first group has the “aha” look on their face and immediately dive into a story of how much journaling helped them through a major event in their life. Group 2 gives the immediate eye-roll and says how journaling is not for them. Here is what I know, journaling is the best form of free therapy that anyone can do. The habit of journaling daily is essential when I work with any of my clients and the following 3 reasons are why.
Find Your Patterns
Life is busy and trying to remember what you felt two days ago is extremely difficult. An example of this is a driver that cut you off on the freeway and your reaction was to get angry and put you in a bad mood for the next 30 minutes. Another example is you listened to your favorite song and it immediately put you in a positive mood for the next 30 minutes. These are called triggers and the best way to recognize them is to write down how you felt and what happened to create that. By simply documenting the act and how you felt, we can find those patterns and recreate the good more frequently and learn how to offset the bad triggers.
Organize Your Thoughts
Researchers have put our average thoughts at approximately 50,000 to 70,000 per day. This means that we have approximately 35 to 48 thoughts per minute per person. That is a lot going on upstairs and it can make it feel overwhelming to express what we are really trying to say. Take the time to write down the most prevailing thought and explore if we are creating something that does not actually exist. It will also help when you go to explain your thought to your desired audience, allowing them to understand what you are trying to say.
Writing down your feelings or doing a “brain dump”, where you put your fears, anxieties and stresses on paper is therapeutic. You will come to find that a lot of those fears and anxieties were not even real. The feeling is real and anyone that deals with anxiety knows how crippling that can be. Journaling will help you realize that “it’s never as bad as you think it is”. Releasing these emotions from your body and transferring it to paper is a huge step toward you feeling less weight and pressure.
There is no right or wrong way to journal. People ask me all the time about what to write about and my answer is the same, “write about whatever is on your mind”. You can certainly journal 3 things you are grateful for, how you are feeling and/or what are your triggers or you can just write to get it out of your head and on paper. I think Brad Wilcox said it best when he said, “A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to become. It is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember and dream”. In all my years of coaching, I have never met one person who was upset because they decided to journal. Pick up a pen and paper and discover for yourself.
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