4 Reasons to Start Journaling

start journalingStart Journaling, here’s why…

This time of year tends to have us reflecting on the past year and what we have done.

Sometimes it can leave us feeling like we missed the mark.

We had things we wanted to do.

Not seeing the results we anticipated can have us forget what we did accomplish!

We tend to forget the little steps we have taken and don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit.

This is why when you start setting goals, you also need to start a journal.

As you progress in your personal development, you’ll have something that gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Do you feel like your emotions are complicated and confusing?

Journaling can help you appropriately identify why you feel or react the ways you do, and increase self-understanding.

This is a no-judgment zone.

This is a tool to express yourself, and learn how you can do something different next time that will have a more positive result.

Once you learn to identify and deal with your feelings in acceptable ways, you have truly mastered self-understanding.

By simply jotting down what’s going on with you and how you feel about it, you can get a handle on your emotions.

Allow yourself to feel the emotion, for what it is, again no judgment.

Feel it, acknowledge it, and let it go.

Day by day, week by week, you’ll start to see the changes.

And, you’ll have a record of the improvement that you’ve been making, this is a good reminder for the days you feel like you’ve made no progress.

Alright, here we go with the four reasons/tips to Sart Journaling that I promised you.

Writing your feelings in a journal helps increase self-understanding in four ways:  

    1. Journaling compels you to think about and process a particular situation or occurrence.

When you write about an event, you automatically process the event through words and description.

Recording the situation in writing can lead you to notice details you hadn’t noticed when the event took place, thus increasing your insight into the situation.

While journaling, put aside other thoughts and just focus on the situation.

  1. Journaling allows you time to identify feelings about the situation. 

    Chances are you may not have time to analyze every event as it occurs throughout the day. This is why it can be helpful to do this at night before bed. Especially if you have a tendency to lay down for sleep but ponder the day, and what you should’ve, could’ve, would’ve done, instead of getting a good night’s rest. However, if you pledge to journal, you know that you’ll later take the opportunity to reflect on important occurrences and consider how you felt about them. Labeling your feelings leads to a better understanding of how you respond in certain situations.Use “feeling” words when describing your emotions about a situation or event. Examples of feeling words are, “pumped,” “annoyed,” “ecstatic,” and “angry.”

    A helpful sentence structure to use in your journal is, “I felt __________ when ________ happened.”

  2.  Journaling helps you see why you felt the way you did.

    Journaling provides an opportunity to fully explore your emotions about an event or situation and come to a conclusion about your feelings. Writing about your feelings can even assist you in changing negative feelings in the future, once you figure out why you felt the way you did. Knowing why you responded in a certain manner increases self-understanding and also allows opportunities for change. When completing a journal entry, consider all the reasons why you may have felt or responded in the way you did.Theorize and decide which theory best fits to explain your feelings and behavior.

**Warning: DO NOT confuse this with over-analyzing, or over-thinking, we can get caught up in all the what if’s if we aren’t careful, there are variables and you have no control over many of them.

Remember: you only have control of yourself.

     4.  Re-reading your journal sheds light on your progress. 

When you process situations through journal writing and read about them later, you’ll likely see patterns of emotions and responses that recur in similar situations.

You might want to learn to more openly express your emotions upon identifying these patterns. Or maybe you want to work to change your pattern of responding.

Re-reading your journal might reveal unhealthy reactions to certain situations. In this case, these reviews of your entries could help you make a commitment toward more positive and helpful reactions.

Take notice of your progress over time in responding to situations in positive ways.

Regardless of whether you choose to accept your feelings or make a change, you still increase your self-understanding by reviewing your journal.

You might feel confused at times and be at a loss to explain why you responded in a certain way.

Accept that. However, you can improve insight by reflecting further if you see patterns of similar reactions.

Feelings can sometimes be deep-rooted and go back to an incident that happened many years ago, so similar situations now trigger similar feelings.

Writing and reflecting on your journal entries may help you remember the previous incidents so you can understand your feelings and decide if they benefit you now or if you wish to pursue more positive outcomes in the future.

Try journaling today to explore how you feel and respond to life events. When you do, you’ll increase self-understanding and live a healthier, fulfilling life.

TIP: Use a good old-fashioned pen/pencil and paper for your journaling. Research has told us that this is far more effective than simply typing.

We’re going to get more into goal setting, and add that to journaling, as we move into the new year.

When the excitement of New Years’ Resolutions wears off we often fall back into old, comfortable habits.

Stayed tuned to learn how you can make real changes that will last beyond January!