A few years ago, I started keeping a journal. Again! After a long, long time. So, if you wonder: “Why should I keep a journal?“, well, let me tell you why!
Why it’s good for you to start writing in a journal daily. What are the benefits of it and how to do it so that you get the most out of this beautiful ritual.
1. The Art Of Thinking Things Through
Or Triple-T as I like to call it. I don’t know if you have ever tried to say things out loud or to write them down. If you have, you’ll have noticed that it gives you a different and better perspective on things. It helps you to focus on the real problem.
Why? Because writing something down requires you have to understand it first. It has to be specific. It can’t consist of abstract thoughts anymore. It has to be a solid problem/situation/event with details.
And now that it’s defined, now you can see the pros and cons of it. Now you can see possible solutions. You have all the data and you can work your way to the best solution if it’s a problem or to the best decision if you have one to take.
Worst-Case Scenarios: Are They So Bad?
If there is something you want to do and you’re afraid of failure, write about all the possible ways this could go wrong. After the initial freaking out you’re bound to do, you’ll see that things are not so terrible. Now you can have backup plans for anything that could go wrong.
Let’s say you want to travel to a foreign country. Something bad that could happen is to have your things stolen. Well, you’ll have to cancel your cards, get a new passport, buy new clothes…
Is it bad? Yes.
Is it the end of the world? No.
Now, you can have backup plans for these problems. Have extra money with you in case something goes wrong – preferably in a different place. Get copies of your passport and have them on different bags or jackets. In case of need, you’ll have these until you get a new one.
Writing about the situation you’re in and all the worst case scenarios that could happen calms you down in the end. After all, even if one of the worst-case scenarios does happen – which doesn’t often happen – it’s usually not that bad. Most problems get solved one way or another and in a year, nobody even remembers them. And if we do, we’re like: “Was I so concerned about something so meaningless?”.
2. It’s All About That Stress
Stress is one of the problems I have to deal with a lot. And I’m so full of people saying to me: “Hey, relax! It’s not that stressing over something will make it better.”.
Well, thank you! Now, that you told me not to worry, I won’t. How didn’t I think of this before?
Yeah, it doesn’t work like this. It’s not something you can control easily. But I have noticed that when I write about things that happened and made me feel stressed, worried or angry, I get calmer.
I’m not so sure why this happens, but if I had to guess, it does because you let things out. It also works partially when you say out loud what bothers you. But I’ve noticed that when I do, I keep saying the same things over and over again and obsessing over them.
When I write them out, I write them down once and then I feel lighter. I stop thinking over things that happened in the past. I believe that it’s like when you have a lot to do and you write them down. It’s on paper, so when you close your journal, the thoughts are out of sight, out of mind. 😉
Relax, It’s Travel Time!
Something else that relaxes me is taking a break every once in a while. I take my journal and a book I want to read with me and I go on a trip somewhere close.
So if you want to de-stress, grab a book and your journal and go somewhere you’ve wanted to go for a while but never did. Maybe it’s just a walk in the park or on the beach; it doesn’t matter. Turn off your phone, get comfortable and sit there.
Write anything you want down in your journal. For an hour at least, write everything that comes to mind. Maybe it seems like a lot of time, but after starting, you’ll have more and more to write. Write about dreams you have, goals you have, things you want to change in your life. And after you write them down, find ways to make them happen, to get a step closer to where you want to be in your life.
And when you have this plan ready, relax. Now that you have everything out of your mind, calm down. Open the book you want to read and have at it. I’d suggest you get a book that you haven’t read before, but of course, you’re free to have an old favourite with you, as well.
If you could do it for a whole day, it would be great! It’ll do wonders for your mental health! You’ll feel way better when you return to your everyday life. And hopefully, you’ll get back with more energy and motivation to make your dreams come true.
And if you’re like me and you stress a lot, you definitely need to find ways to let it out. Stress has a lot of negative effects on your health.
Only if it was so easy to relax… Well, now you know a couple of ways!
3. Want More Out Of Your Life? Check Your Progress, Check Your Progress, Check Your Progress!
It’s great when you go back and reread your journal. Seeing how much progress you’ve made in the last year makes you feel incredibly well.
And if you’re not where you wanted to be when you were thinking about it a year ago? Well, that’s great! You can sit down, check what you’ve done with your life and see why it didn’t get you where you wanted to be.
Then you make a new plan, you follow it and check the results from it. That’s how success happens!
Yes, sometimes it can be disappointing, but only if you haven’t learned anything from it. If you have, then it’s not called failure, but experience…
4. Give Me 10 Minutes, I’ll Give You The Truth About Your Inner Self
Writing down what happened through the day, what you want to do in the future, your dreams and your plans helps you learn what you want in life, what your goals should be and, down the line, what kind of person you are.
This is something all of us have to do in our life. We have to meet our demons, understand them, face them and eventually defeat them. That’s how we become winners in life!
And it’s nice to focus a little on yourself every once in a while. You can’t run all day, be stressed all day, be miserable all day, every day, without this having a negative impact on your health.
It doesn’t work this way. It’s going to catch up with you in the worst possible moment and you’ll crash out. Every day, focus on yourself and try to be the best you can be!
5. Be Honest Like There Is No Tomorrow
In everyday life, we tend to tell a few small – or big, occasionally – lies to ourselves. Sometimes they’re useful, or that’s what we like to believe because they make our life easier at the time, but long-term, they’re not beneficial to us. Writing everything down is a great way to realise these lies and stop them.
Writing something down takes more time and effort than saying it out loud, let alone thinking about it. So we make our brain think about it more.
This way, it’s easier to find out when something is a real explanation or just an excuse that you tell yourself because you’re too afraid to deal with a difficult situation or to chase after your dreams!
And yes, some of these “reasons” you tell yourself to justify why you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do are just excuses. And it’s ok, for a while, as long as you know it. Maybe you’re not ready to deal with it yet. But you should be aware of it.
Here’s a video about being more self-aware:
6. Complain Like An Olympian
This is your journal. Your haven. You can write whatever you want on it. And writing down any complaints you have is cathartic.
So complain all you want for anyone. Family members, co-workers, friends, “friends” – yep, there’s a difference – boyfriends, girlfriends or just someone you met today and ruined your day. No one’s going to judge you for this. Just for this, I think that keeping a journal is incredibly useful! 😀
And I repeat: No one is going to judge you for what you write. So feel free to write WHATEVER you want. It’s a little annoying that we have to filter anything we say in our everyday life. When you are alone with your journal, you should be free to write what you think.
Not only will you be more relaxed after you do it, but you’ll also be able to keep yourself in check the next time an idiot tries to ruin your day!
7. Make Your Memories A Reality
Unfortunately, our brain is not perfect. Or fortunately in some cases, because who would want to remember the worst moments of their life perfectly?
But this way, we don’t remember perfectly the good ones, too. A great success, a wonderful party, the first time you saw the love of your life? All gone partly. Sure, you’ll always have some memory of them, but memories fade over time.
Well, not if you put them on paper. This way, you can go back and reread them as many times as you want! And it’s like you are there again because you can read what you felt and what you thought about it.
And something else I like is reading some of the not-so-nice memories when I wasn’t sure about a decision or a situation. When I see where I am now and how I got over it, it makes me hopeful for what I’m going through now, because I know that it’ll pass, the way it always does! 😀
8. Believe In Your Writing Skills But Never Stop Improving
Skills you’re going to need pretty much no matter what you do in your life. From writing a book to writing manuals for video games, you’ll need good writing skills.
Keeping a journal helps you keep up with the flow of your thoughts. You learn how to express your feelings clearly and how to write a story that you have in your mind in a way that makes sense.
And the more you practise, the better you get at writing. As usually!
Fear? Not If You Keep Your Journal The Right Way!
Warning: I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t tell you the ONE reason why it’s dangerous to keep a journal.
You have to be careful where you put the journal. If you’re sincere while writing, as you should – keeping a journal is a great way to be honest with yourself, as I said above – then there are going to be things in it that you don’t want people to find out.
So be careful! If you don’t live alone, find a place to hide it where it won’t be easy to be found. You can even write in your journal in a foreign language that the rest of your roommates/family do not know or in a secret code. (I’ve done it sometimes and I have to say it was a fun game even if my journal was in a safe place, anyway!)
Now, if you live alone, you’re a lot safer. Just don’t keep it in an obvious place where a curious visitor could find it and open it (by chance or not) while you’re in the bathroom and can’t stop them. 😛
I still remember my mom finding the journal I kept while I was a kid. I had some things to explain… And I was 8; it’s not that I had that much to hide! I remember that I’d written about a boy I liked and my mom had her this-is-cute look while asking me about it.
She wasn’t angry, she was amused, but I was so embarrassed and I tried to cover it up – I think by saying that it was not mine? Yeah, I wasn’t that much of a liar; I don’t think she bought it. So embarrassing…
But believe me, this is not a situation you want to find yourself in. It was so bad an experience that I didn’t keep a journal for the next 13 years!!!
And that’s it. These are the 8 most important reasons why you should keep a journal. Give it a chance if you haven’t already and I’m sure you’ll not regret it.
And if you do, I’m sorry someone found your journal… 😳
If you don’t have already a journal, here are some suggestions. Check them out!
So… do you keep a journal? If yes, what do you like the most about it? And if not, what stops you from starting?
If you liked this, check more topics about books & reading!
Any suggestion is welcome! So, if you have any topic you’d want me to talk about, feel free to write it below!
Don’t forget to have fun!