How do you start a journal?
Since the 1st of January 2018, I’ve been keeping a journal every day.
I’m not writing long elegant depictions or poetic verses, sometimes my day is summarized just in a few sentences.
But by writing about what I’ve been through, I’ve started to appreciate the days when life felt dull and at the same time enjoyed the days when life felt fantastic, even more.
Here are 9 reasons why you should start a journal today.
These are the same reasons why I keep a journal every day and will continue to keep it for as long as I live.
I can promise you, once you have started you will look at your life with completely different eyes.
9. Feel more satisfied with your day
Small things often dictate our emotions and overall impression of a day, such as feeling annoyed in an overcrowded subway or feeling irritated by a slow Wi-Fi connection.
A journal will offer you a valuable perspective on your life.
By allowing yourself to go through your day from beginning to end you will find that you actually experienced lots of fun and interesting things, that you accomplished stuff, and that your day, after all, was pretty good.
8. Improve your writing skills
Practice makes perfect! By committing yourself to write something every day you will become a lot better at communicating with the written word, even if it’s just a couple of sentences.
Writing is a key skill in many jobs and if you are a student, writing essays or reports is often a recurring duty.
By keeping a journal you will have a cheap, simple, and easy way of improving your writing skills, to get that job or score a good grade on your next writing assignment.
7. Lighten your heart
Life is sometimes an emotional roller-coaster.
Each day will provide you with new amazing and sometimes not so amazing impressions. However, if these impressions are left untreated and not reflected upon they can build up within you causing stress, emotional turbulence, and a heavy heart.
Use a journal to put these impressions on paper.
Treat them as your uncooked ingredients and boil them down into concrete words. Be sure not to leave any raw ingredients on your plate when the day is over. This will lighten your heart and gives you control of the roller-coaster.
6. Improve your memory
What did you do exactly one week ago? One month ago? One year ago?
To be honest, before I started keeping a journal I even struggled to remember what I ate for breakfast.
A journal will help you collect and keep track of all the things you experience. By going through your day in a journal you will automatically practice your recall ability and hence improve your memory.
The more detailed you are in your journal, the better you will be at remembering details, which of course will benefit you in several ways – everything from remembering people’s names to remembering funny jokes and plays at your next party gathering.
5. Sleep better
After a stressful day with many impressions, it’s finally time to get some well-deserved sleep… and suddenly your mind is trying to solve all kinds of world problems.
Do you recognize yourself? And do you recognize the stress of not being able to fall asleep?
One easy way to relive your mind’s chatter before going to sleep is to outlet your thoughts on paper.
This way you won’t have to keep every stressful or interesting thought in your mind. Your thoughts will be safely recorded in your journal and you can instead relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep, which you of course deserve!
4. Practice gratitude
The feeling of gratitude is like an antidote against depressive thoughts and self-pity.
According to a study conducted by Emmons & McCullough, participants who used a diary to record the things they appreciated in life “reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events”.
A journal is an excellent tool to practice gratitude.
Take the time to note just a few things you appreciate and value in your everyday life and start to enjoy the amazing benefits it brings.
3. Less stress
After a long stressful day, your mind might feel like a huge mess. Too many things to do, too many things to consider, too many decisions to make.
A journal will provide you with clarity in all the mess life throws at you.
Keep your thoughts organized and make the sources of stress concrete and not as abstract feelings in your mind.
Be honest in your journal and record your activities as well as your feelings towards them. This allows you to deal with the challenges in your life in a more conscious way.
By disclosing the sources of stress you can prioritize what is important and less important in your life and organize your days to involve less stress.
2. Design a great day
What sums up a great day for you? A day when you go to bed and feel like WOW, I wish I had more of these.
For me, it would be a day full of awesome interactions, meaningful conversations, a creative outlet, some breathing techniques, a great workout, and an effortless feeling whatever I get my hands on.
But how do you get these days more often? We have so many responsibilities we cannot run away from. So many things we have to do but dislike doing.
The solution is to rate your days in the journal, for instance giving each day a score from 1 to 5 of how great it was overall.
By doing this every day you will over time build a record of ratings where you can browse activities and experiences in your life which you enjoyed and want more of.
By knowing what makes a great day for you and how you previously integrated such activities and experiences in your life you will have all the tools you need to design a great day at will.
Of course, the longer you keep a journal, the more stuff you can take inspiration from. So don’t wait.
Start a journal right away to design a future great day!
1. Make better decisions in life
Keeping a journal over time will provide you with all sorts of important life lessons.
Looking back to the things you experienced a month or even a year ago will give you a better understanding of your current life situation.
Discovering your past decisions and how they affect you today will serve as excellent tools for achieving the changes you want for your future self.
Your journal will in a sense become your own personal coach, helping you to learn from mistakes and refine your best decisions to become the person you want to be.
Thanks for making it to the end of this post. I hope you had an inspiring read and that you start a journal today to enjoy all the benefits!
Now we are excited to hear your thoughts on the topic.
Will you start a journal?
Why, or why not?
What benefits have you experienced and what struggles do you encounter?
Start learning, start growing, start a journal!
Your buddie André
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