3 Awesome Benefits of Journaling
How a Journal Practice Can Help Make Sense of Your Mess
So far, my 40’s have brought me lots of changes. Weight gain, hair loss, breast cancer, hormone fluctuations, and a whole lot of feelings that I’m not even sure I can succinctly summarize. I’ve been overwhelmed by life more times than I can count. So in order to try and make sense of it all, I journal. There are many benefits of journaling.
Journaling keeps me (somewhat) sane. Journaling help me makes sense of this midlife nonsense. Through journaling, I am able to sift through the mess and find gratitude for all of the beautiful things.
Journaling brings me joy.
I’ve always written in some form or another. I’m one of those people with a million thoughts running through my mind, every minute of the day. I have to get them out. So I write them down.
I have dozens of notebooks stored in bins with my thoughts and ideas. At at any given moment I have 8 – 10 journals and notebooks scattered around the house.
But in the past few years my need to sort out my thoughts and feelings has intensified. I’ve made a concerted effort to journal more frequently. I have to say, journaling has been very benefical for me.
I decided to write about about the process of journaling because it might be helpful for you, too. Especially if you’re in a place where you’re trying to make sense out of a life situation, or just life in general.
Journal because you have things to say. Because it’s therapeutic.
Because it can be fun if you let yourself really go. Because your story matters.
Journal because you want to sort things out and process all the things that run through your head like a freight train. We all struggle with overwhelm, at least sometimes. Writing can help.
We have too much to do with too little time to do it. And while journaling might feel like “one more thing to do,” taking the time to write it all out has benefits. I promise.
Benefits of Journaling
There are numerous benefits of journaling. The benefits are probably a little different for everyone, but here are some basics:
Journaling can clarify thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling stuck, it’s hard to work through it all, maybe because of overwhelm or conflicting emotions.
On the fence about a big decision? Writing out the pros and cons can help you figure out which direction to take. Simply put, writing helps you find answers to problems.
Journaling leads to deeper understanding and self-awareness. Writing your thoughts and feelings deepens self-knowledge while identifying you values and priorities. It’s like a conversation with yourself….your deeper self.
It’s the self that gets shoved back in the corner because you’re too busy doing all of your “shoulds”. But you know what? That “self” has some things to say, I promise. You’ll be surprised about what kinds of things come out when you stop silencing that part of you.
Journaling relieves stress. Sometimes just getting the feelings out provides tremendous reprieve.
Imagine a pressure cooker. Think about the pressure builds because the pot is sealed. The pressure has no place to go until the valve is released. And when it’s released, it comes out hot and fast.
We are all like little pressure cookers now and then. Life happens and pressure builds. Then, we gotta let out that steam. Writing can release the pressure.
Diary vs. Journal?
Yes, they are kind of the same. But a diary is a more straightforward account of your day. You’re documenting what happened.
You went to a movie. You worked out. You visited with an old friend. It’s basic activity.
But a journal, that has the magic. It’s where you really dig deep and let feelings and emotions flow onto the page.
What made you giddy? What made you sad? What made you mad?
And then you can explore whey these things made you giddy, sad, or mad. Maybe you won’t even know why you felt these feelings until you start writing. It might take lots of writing to figure things out.
And then one day, you’ll have an AHA moment. You’ll realize that your son’s first grader teacher triggers you because she reminds you of the mean teacher you had in elementary school.
You might realize that the reason the mom down the street really gets under you skin is because her carefully crafted comments take you back to the mean girl days of high school.
You’ll have that AHA moment, and it will all make sense.
It could be anything. There are a million little things that you probably need to work through. Journaling will help you with that.
But here’s the thing. The process is never over. Because we are all going through experiences and emotions that create opportunities for growth and awareness. Journaling helps you to connect the dots. It’s soul work.
What do I write about?
Write about whatever you want! You can write about your bad childhood haircut, or about the moms that don’t have proper school drop-off line etiquette. Rant about the piles of laundry or your uncertainty about what you are doing with your life.
Write about your crazy family.
How to start journaling.
You get a notebook and a pen. Then you write. You can get a spiral notebook at Target for $2.79 or you can spend $40 on a fancy guided journal. Write on your computer or in the notes app on your iPad.
Schedule some time each day to jot down your thoughts and feelings. That’s the hard part. The schedule. You have to make the time. You have to make yourself a priority.
If you like guidance, there are some great books that talk about the process of journaling:
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Bottom line – I encourage you to journal. Take some time as part of your self-care routine to write your feelings. No self-care routine? Then read this.
No matter where you are in life at this moment, if you’re looking for some clarity, or even just some peace of mind, give it a try!