Let's be honest: when it comes to talking about critical self-care practices such as journaling, you can often be met with a good amount of pushback from people who do not understand the benefits that a journaling routine can have on your everyday life. Journaling can not only be therapeutic, but also have a lasting impact on your own self-worth and how productively, creatively, and presently you move about your day.
Putting down all of your thoughts in one place is like having that one friend you can always count on to listen to your problems and never judge you (does this friend even exist in real life?!) Self care begins with yourself, and one of the easiest and simplest ways to get in touch with that inner wisdom is having the ability to be completely honest with yourself, and check in daily with how you’re feeling and thinking.
1. Increased Mindfulness
Mindfulness is defined as "the state of being conscious or aware of something." When you take yourself out of your mind and racing thoughts and onto paper, you are presently aware of how you are feeling in that moment. At S+S, our favorite way to practice journaling is by first taking a few minutes before writing to meditate or simply focus on your breath, bringing you into the present moment and away from your thoughts. In doing so, you go into writing with a clear mind and simply allow whatever is on your mind to flow onto the paper. In focusing on writing down your thoughts, feelings, and goals you are being completely honest with yourself and bringing all of your attention to the present moment. *Flow state*
2. Increased Self-Awareness
Through keeping up with a consistent journaling practice, you are constantly checking with yourself to observe how you are feeling, and how you change and grow day-to-day. Taking time to become aware of how you are feeling is the ultimate and easiest form of self-care. Allow your journaling to be a delicate practice! We are all moving through life at different speeds and it is important to check in with yourself each day and see where you’re at and how you’re feeling. By cultivating this through your journaling practice, you consequently become more self-aware in your everyday activities.
3. Strengthened Memory (& Patience!)
It seems like it would be common knowledge that, of course, if you are jotting down many of the experiences you have each day that you would remember them better! However, journaling does not have to be simply recording the events of each day (although this is a great way to unwind at the end of the day). Research shows that becoming more self-aware and allowing your thoughts and experiences to manifest and flow onto paper help to strengthen your memory. For example, many people have reveled the benefits of keeping a dream journal and how this has, over time, strengthened the recall of their dreams and dream experience overall. *S+S Tip: Try to begin a practice where as soon as you wake up each morning, instead of reaching for your phone, reach for your pen! Write in your journal for 10-15 minutes of whatever flows out of mind and onto paper.
4. Improved Relationships & Emotional Intelligence
Sometimes it can be extremely awkward or uncomfortable to look at someone and tell them everything you are feeling, or even how thankful you are for them or something they do for you. This becomes easier and more natural through cultivating a daily journaling practice where you can freely acknowledge the aspects of your life you are thankful for! In doing so, you create and improve your relationships based off of gratitude and love. Emotional intelligence is defined as "the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically."
5. Increased Organization & Productivity
Everyone has been at the point in his or her life before where it feels like there is so much going on externally and internally within you that you cannot focus on a single thing (except maybe laying down for a nap). Taking time to rest in the midst of your crazy everyday routine is so important, and journaling can be one of the best ways to do so. Even after feeling overwhelmed and laying down for a nap or watching some Netflix, you will wake up or return back to your routine feeling just as lost and out-of-touch. By taking time to sit down and organize your thoughts, you can carefully articulate your short-term for each day and long-term goals for your life. By keeping track of these goals through journaling so they are present on your mind each day, they are more likely to manifest in real life.