Though many might picture a teenager lying in bed with a puffy pen, a distant gaze, and the words “dear diary” when they think about journaling, journaling is a habit that everyone should partake in, regardless of age and gender.
Journaling, or the simple act of putting thoughts into words, can be greatly beneficial for your personal and professional lives. The best part of it is that you only need a pen and paper or your smartphone in order to get started.
But, how do you even start? And do you really need to?
Though you might feel like you won’t benefit much from journaling, we disagree. You don’t need to write page after page every day. In fact, you can start journaling simply by writing down a few bullet points when you wake up or right before you go to bed. Eventually, those bullet points will become sentences and those sentences will become paragraphs that will provide you with valuable insights and health benefits.
5 Reasons to Start Journaling
1. Clear your mind and organize your thoughts
Whenever you’re experiencing strong emotions, it can be hard to keep your head straight and think clearly. Putting feelings into words and jotting down your thoughts can help you get a better sense of what you’re going through internally and help you make a better choice.
2. Increase creativity
Writing activates the right side of the brain, which is associated with creativity. Writing about what you’re feeling or about what’s around you will eventually improve your creative thinking skills. There are various writing exercises that seek to improve people’s creative skills simply by having them write about objects around them. Eventually, you’ll go from describing a brown, wooden dresser to describing a cedar wood, light brown dresser with 3 drawers and rough edges that contains shirts, sheets, and towels.
3. Achieve goals
Writing down goals sends signals to your brain that this stuff is important. If you regularly write down your goals and ambitions, then your brain will begin to identify relevant opportunities and resources to achieve said goals.
4. Emotional intelligence
This goes in hand with #1. When you are able to better understand your thoughts and feelings and what triggers them, you’ll be better equipped to deal with them. Emotional intelligence is the ability to discern and manage your emotions, the more you know yourself, the more you will be able to understand others and relate to them as well.
5. Improve your communication skills
Writing is a form of communication. When people don’t practice writing, what they write can come across as jumbled and confusing. However, the more you practice writing (in this case with journaling) the better you will become at putting thoughts and ideas together and connecting them correctly. This skill can be later transferred into your personal and professional lives, making you a more efficient and successful communicator.
Journaling is a process, it takes time, effort, and discipline. Start by giving yourself at least 5 minutes each day to write something down, it can be about what you dreamed, how your day went, your favorite or least favorite part of the day, a problem you have, etc.
It doesn’t have to be a work of art or a perfectly written page, it just has to be authentic, raw, and unedited.