It’s been a weird few months for us all. And as many of us have taken up practices to help cope with the ongoing pandemic and its myriad implications, reflective journaling has seen a huge resurgence in popularity. An active expression of your thoughts and feelings that releases habits that aren’t helping anymore, bestselling author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Robin Sharma, recently called journaling “meditation on paper”. When you can separate the thoughts in your head from your identity and can clear your mind from stress, you’re better equipped to handle life.
So what could change if we learned how to talk to ourselves? Many of us grew up so focused on external things, like grades or what other people told us was important, that the skill of interacting with your own mind wasn’t even something we considered.
Maybe, that is, until we’re filled with stress, worries, and anxiety – wondering what’s going on.
While many things like lifestyle changes, reaching out for professional support and meditation have mental health benefits, there’s something else that the top creatives, leaders, and personal development junkies use to decompress, work through challenges, and plan their futures. Journaling.
3 Ways Journaling Can Benefit You – Today
1. Reduce Stress
By putting pen to paper you’re able to take on all the things that are stressing you out – what researchers call ‘intrusive thoughts’ – and give them airtime. These can be anything from the small worries to the deepest fears and anxieties you haven’t told anyone or fear to say out loud. This practice of seeing your thoughts for what they are reduces stress and enables you to look at them more objectively.
2. Feel More Creative
Thanks to reducing your stress and giving your intrusive thoughts room to air out, journaling creates a new experience where you feel lighter. And what comes when we’re less stressed? New, creative, ideas. Journaling can help you find creative solutions to the problems that are worrying you because you are now relaxed enough to think in a new way. Better still, it harnesses the ability to listen to your intuition.
3. Build Your Confidence
Being able to interact with yourself – your thoughts and ideas – means creating a relationship with yourself you never had before. You’ll discover where some of your habits came from, where you hold yourself back, and the things you’re proud of and love yourself for. When you become clear on who you are and why making decisions gets easier because you’re no longer worried about what other people think of them.
The best part about a journaling practice? It’s free and you don’t need to be a ‘writer’, have perfect grammar, or even know what to stay to start.
Ready to give it a try?
Start small: Give yourself five minutes every day to write something. Start with, “Right now I feel _____ because ______”
Don’t edit: Write the first thing that comes to mind and go with it. Eliminating the habit of trying to be perfect helps you build trust in your intuition.
End with ‘Thank you’: Thank yourself for taking these 5 minutes to get to know who you are.
You’re worth it.
Rachael Lynn is a Dubai-based author and journaling expert.