It’s 2018, and yes you may have a host of New Year’s resolutions already sought out for … but if you could add one more item to your list, consider the daily practice of journaling. It doesn’t have to be an hour power writing session on the daily, but perhaps a few minutes scheduled into your morning or evening routine.
Many influential philosophers, artists, and world visionaries throughout history i.e. Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, and Mark Twain have documented an account of their daily lives, thoughts, and feelings through journaling. Now besides name dropping, WHY exactly should we keep a journal?
There is a multitude of benefits that this keystone habit offers:
- A clear mind – When you record and organize your thoughts and feelings, you are freeing up mental space to focus your attention and think more creatively.
- Personal growth – Journaling can help track personal growth by assessing your behavioural, emotional, cognitive patterns. You can look back to take note of negative influences to be avoided, progress towards goals, and situations that could have been approached differently.
- Stress reduction – Cathartic writing can serve as a great tool to cope with life’s stresses and anxiety. Once journaling has become a daily habit, the amygdala (our emotional control centre) begins to identify journaling practice as a safe space for personal reflection, non-judgement, and healing.
- Better memory – Documenting your day to day experiences can help with encoding information and memory retention. Writing for the purpose of expression may also improve working memory (Klein & Boals, 2001).
Ready to start journaling? Develop a strategy by first selecting your preferred medium: electronic or paper. Start by dedicating 5-10 minutes a day to write about your recollections of recent events, or free flowing thoughts from your conscious mind. If you don’t know where to start, consider purchasing a journal with writing prompts. Interested in journaling about your work experiences? Refer back to our post on keeping a work journal.
Have any journaling tips or insights? Share in the comments below!
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