The art of journaling

If there is one habit I can point out to and say it has helped me in endless ways and shaped who I am, it would be journaling.

I have been wanting to write this post for ages but never ended up doing it. This week I had so many revelations about myself and my thought patterns that play on repeat that I have never identified before, and this was only possible through journaling. So here is a post dedicated to my love for journaling. For those of you who don’t journal, read this with an open mind.

First things first, let’s get one thing straight, a journal is not just a leather book with parchment paper you buy at a fancy shop for $30.85. It could be anything! You could write on sheets of paper you carry with you, or napkins in a cafe, your memo on your phone, or an email to yourself. You could also record voice messages or videos for yourself. Do what feels right for you, there are a lot of ways you can do this. I’ve tried them all, but the written form works best for me. I guess I express myself better when I write than when I talk. But everyone is different, so give it all a go to see what works for you.

Here are all the ways journaling helps me:

Journaling lets me “vent” without venting

How many times have you said something horrible about someone and covered it up as “venting”. I’m not judging, I’ve done it one too many times to judge. When I’m venting, I say awful things cause I’m mad and then feel extremely guilty that I let it all slip without controlling my tongue. I feel bad that I actually said it out loud to someone else when in reality I was just upset and didn’t mean most of it. The best thing about journaling is that you don’t have to say things you will regret to anyone else. Writing it out would get it out of your system, without involving another person. Then you can see how harsh it might have been and change it around, without involving or negatively influencing anyone else.

Journaling creates a link with my subconscious

I love how I can open up my mind like emptying a tank, pouring out as much as I want, whatever I’m feeling. There is something about journaling that helps me pull out feelings and thoughts I am not able to face when I’m just thinking about it. I find repetitive patterns in my behaviour or the way I feel. It is one of the only times I am able to find this link between an insecurity and a problem. It unravels things that are just under the surface. This can be so crucial to overcoming any problem that I’m facing. 

Journaling helps translate thoughts into a language

This also happens when I am plainly talk something out. When I write something, like an email or a journal entry or talk it out, something that has been bugging me for so long. Once I say it, it makes more sense all of a sudden. This happens to me all the time and this is because I have all this “stuff” swirling around in my mind but they’re not concrete things. Sort of like just feelings of uneasiness, doubt, anger but nothing is concrete. Then one day when I let it out, I have to convert my feelings into words (a language) which makes it much more understandable. And once it is understood, it is easier to solve.

Journaling helps me map out how I’m feeling and gives me a better perspective

Once I journal, this is something that doesn’t happen when I talk it out with someone, I can read it! I can read my problems and why I feel like that. I am finally able to slip out of my own head and just spit it out and all of the things would make more sense. 

What is great is, I am able to link it to bigger things in life which gives me a big picture perspective. For example, if I am being extremely whiny while journaling I am able to also see things that are going great in my life and reset my mindset with gratitude which always helps when I’m going through a rough time. 

It is a great tool for self-reflection

I cannot express how much journaling has helped me reflect on myself, my actions, my negative thoughts, my insecurities. It’s confronting but amazing!
I don’t think I would know myself like I do without this time to reflect and write it down. Every time I have self-reflective thoughts, I forget within days of what revelations I’ve had. I need to write it down cause it goes back and forth and the picture gets clearer over time. Journaling helps me peel through surfaces rather quickly thinking of a solution, and now because I’ve done it for so long I am able to understand my motives quickly and understand why I am going through whatever is bothering me.  

Journaling is a Great way to see how far i’ve come

This is just the most amazing thing about journaling. You have accounts of your life and your progress. I have endless sheets of paper and napkins I’ve scribbled on, emails and online journals saved for almost a decade. And every time I want to feel inspired I just read one entry and feel so good about how far I’ve come. It is one of the best memorabilia you can keep, even more than photographs in my opinion.  

Journaling helps me come up with ideas

I feel like I come up with some of my best ideas when I’m journaling. There is something really therapeutic about journaling, it gets me so relaxed. It’s like a creative exercise in itself. And we all know creativity breeds more creativity.  There have been so many times I’ve come up with an idea when I am journaling, I literally have to keep my journal aside and work on the idea immediately.

Journaling makes me more independent like I’m my own best friend

We all have one or two people we talk to understand what’s going on in our minds, and if that works for you, by all means, keep doing it. Some people can talk to anyone to get the stuff out and that’s cool too. But for this point, I just want to emphasise how I’ve felt personally. If I have those one or two people I depend on, to talk out my everyday issues with, I tend to get dependent and needy. I need them to be available all the time, especially when I’m going through a rough patch. It also burdens and sort of hijacks all our time together by just talking about problems and feelings. 

So since I’ve been journaling, I no longer have that desperation to talk to someone about my problems. Yes, I still share things. But I’m not entirely dependent on them. And to be honest it is the best liberating feeling I’ve ever felt. It makes me more confident, sort of like I’ve got my back and can be my own best friend. 

 I hope these benefits would influence you to journal, I honestly think it is one of the best habits you can develop in life. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist and stress out about writing it perfectly and with impeccable grammar, I would encourage you not to worry too much about it. You don’t have to write or say things eloquently to express how you feel to yourself. It’s just a tool to gain some perspective, don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Do it like a fun exercise and you will realise even the worst scribble with bad punctuation can be life-changing. 

Agree? Don’t agree? Share your comments below! 🙂

Feature Image by Designed by Jess

2 Comments

  1. Janet says:

    What an article….hats off to you…..so minutely you have expressed it all.
    I think I should try this out. It’s late to try now but there’s always a beginning. Thank you.

    1. Lorraine Ashrita says:

      Thank you Ma 😀
      Means the world coming from you :*
      Yes try it! Never too late.

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