I have been thinking about activities that help me to relax and release; these are just a few of the benefits of journal writing.
I handwrite in my journal and I write for just myself. It is not a record specifically for my kids to read, although I won’t mind them reading them later. My journals are real, raw and unapologetic. I need and want a safe place to express my thoughts. My poetry professor called this kind of writing stream of consciousness writing. Freedom from expectation (internal or external) is certainly the key to this cathartic journaling. I write whatever comes to my mind, especially the thoughts that feel trapped or suppressed in my mind. I’m not required to have trim paragraphs and I don’t have to have a theme. I am free to write whatever I want. It really does feel like free therapy sometimes when I write in my journal. Have you ever tried writing without any limitations or expectations? Trust me, it is lovely. I am often surprised at how much I write and how much better and lighter I feel afterwards. Try it!
I like to read what I am thinking. It makes my feelings more real when they are written down. It also helps me to sift through my thoughts and take an account of my mental state. Have you ever read back on a journal entry that had strong emotional undertone to it? I have plenty of entries that exhibit sadness, anger, frustration, happiness and nearly every emotion you can think of. I analyze my thoughts and try to find ways to improve my thinking. This is what experts call mindfulness. It is also proven that language development and intelligence (IQ and emotional types) are boosted in journaling.
Record of Miracles and Renewed Faith.
I cannot deny God’s hand in my life as I read through my journals. On a day-to-day basis it is easy for me to miss some of God’s tender mercies, but as I see my life recorded through the years, I am truly amazed at the guidance and comfort I have been given. My faith in God is renewed and my confidence is increased because I see that with God all things are possible. I like to see progress in my entries and I mourn when I see wasted time or energy in some of my past decisions. It is helpful to remember these losses so I can make better decisions later.
Assess and Assign.
Journaling helps me to assess how I am doing mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. After I assess, I always give myself assignments or goals to help me improve. Writing down goals is a vital step in fulfilling them. My goal recently is to post my goals somewhere I will see them everyday and to read them aloud each day.
Because I write without a specific intention, I get creative as I write. Beautiful words and phrases are born in some of my journaling sessions. This is especially true when I am getting ready to write poetry. Ideas for poems and words and images are created more when I am journaling without fear of “getting it wrong”. I like the idea that it is not a question of whether or not we are all creative beings, but that we don’t always know how to let it flow in and through us.
Questions for you.
What other benefits do you get from writing in a journal?
Do you let others read your journal or do you keep it private?
Who is your audience? Others or yourself?
Handwritten or electronic journal?
I would love to hear how you keep a journal and why you keep one. The time and effort you take in keeping a journal will be worthwhile. I challenge you to write in your journal this week and or read back on a journal entry from the past and see what you learn!