Journaling for awareness and understanding is a tremendously useful tool to support personal growth and empowerment.
Essentially, journalling is using writing to reflect on your inner life. It provides a way to observe and listen to yourself.
Self awareness and understanding are key foundations for personal power.
Keeping a reflective journal is different to keeping a diary of events. A diary tends to be a record of what you did, where and with whom. In journaling the focus is on exploring yourself and how you live in the world.
Journaling is a particularly effective way to gain insights and to better understand your Self. You write about your thoughts, your feelings, your hopes and concerns. You examine your reactions and behaviours with various people and experiences. It is an opportunity to explore how you handle different experiences. You can better understand how various people and experiences effect you.
Your writing can be an unstructured freely flowing stream of consciousness. You literally write about whatever comes to mind.
Many people write ‘morning pages’ taking time each morning to write 2 or so pages. It can be so rewarding and ‘addictive’ they take their journal on holiday.
An alternative to free flowing writing is to focus on a particular issue. Useful topics are stress, or overwhelm. Various fears and concerns. Relatiionship with the people in your life. Lack of confidence.
Spending time noticing your beliefs and self talk has exciting payoffs. We carry around a vast programme of thousands of beliefs. Most of the time these are running on automatic. Beliefs and habits are the key drivers of human experience. For better or worse. Developing a clear awareness of your beliefs is the first step to changing them.
You may like to analyse a particular theme in your journaling. Such as your emotional life. What do you feel most commonly? What is going on when those feelings arise?
Useful themes are “what holds me back from pursuing or achieving my goals and dreams?”
“What expectations do I have of myself and other people?”
Exploring specific questions is particularly valuable for helping you to effectively address whatever is bothering you. For example “how come I was so angry when Jo left this morning?” Or “what, exactly, is causing me to feel so unhappy at work?” What are the triggers when I go into beating myself up?
There are a multitude of benefits that come from a regular practice of reflective journaling.
Some of the benefits from regular journaling include:
- Increase your self understanding and gain insights
- Increase your self awareness
- Clarify your needs
- Become clear about what is truly important to you. This applies to life generally, or in particular situations or relationships
- Discover specific targets for change that will improve your quality of life or effectiveness
- Gain relief from feelings and better understand your feelings
- Prepare how you want to handle a particular situation or relationship issue
- Sort out confusing or conflicting feelings and experiences
- Problem solving and decision making is easier when you can see how all the factors inter-relate
Some people write every day, from a few paragraphs to several pages. Others find it useful to write intermittently as various situations or issues arise.
Journalling can assist you to live your life in more effective, enjoyable and masterful ways. You will find many posts here to give you ideas for writing. There are a few posts on values as this is such a vital area for happiness and well being. See Congruence With Values, Taking Care of Values and The Power of Values.
To understand more about how you process information read Accuracy in Communication.
To help explore feelings see Manage Your Feelings and the Your Emotional Baseline.
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