Only a few years ago I wasn't a big fan of journaling - I simply didn't believe that there are any benefits to it! But after talking to many different people that were journaling on daily basis, I decided to give it a try. I started journaling may be once a month, then it turned into weekly activity or after a difficult day, and meanwhile I journal every single day. I don't invest more than 10 minutes a day, but I have come to recognize that it is an extremely powerful tool.
Before I get into all the benefits, I want to clarify that journaling can be anything really - you can keep track of your goals, your nutrition, your emotional state, your fitness......or a combination of all these! I personally use it as a combination of many different aspects - nutrition, workouts, daily goals (according to my short and long term goals), sleep, hydration, gratitude, physical and mental state, etc. As skeptical as I was a few years ago, I have discovered the following benefits:
- gaining clarity - through journaling, we can understand much better a difficult situation, our emotional reaction or state in relation to that particular situation. By writing down how we feel and our thoughts, we get the opportunity to understand our emotions, our reactions, and the relevance of the particular situation.
- encourages mindfulness - when focused on writing down your thoughts and emotions (or whatever it might be!), you are living right in this moment! You are taking a moment for yourself, to be by yourself, to focus on yourself and your wellbeing!
- set clear goals - journaling is a great tool to set goals - it can be yearly, monthly and then broken down into daily goals.
- being proactive - when you have put down your goals on a piece of paper, then you are also much more likely to take an action and actually achieve them. You are much more likely to be proactive and make a plan of how you are going to achieve your goals.
- track progress - once you have set goals, and a plan of how to achieve them, it is a great tool to track where are you and the progress that you are making (or not!)
- discovering patterns - especially when it comes to nutrition, hydration and sleep! By journaling all your meals (it sounds like a huge time investment, but it is not!) you will be able to recognize some unhealthy patterns, that you weren't even aware of. Or by tracking your sleeping hours, you might discover that you are not getting enough sleep 80% of the week, for example. On another hand journaling helps you discover a pattern of how you react to certain situations, or your emotional state.
- gratitude - one thing I started is practicing gratitude by writing three things I am grateful for in general when I get up - this sets up a completely different perspective and light on your day. I do the same in the evening before going to bed - I write three things down that I am grateful for in that happen in that particular day. This way you automatically go to bed with a positive mind and sense of appreciation.
The biggest advantage of journaling is that you can personalize it any way you want. Meaning you can focus on the areas that are important to you, and take it from there. There are many different types of journals out there, but as I have not found a format that fits my needs I am currently working on developing my dream journal. Can't wait to share with you......and until then make sure that you share your experience with journaling.
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