Self-discovery and clarity of purpose are two of the many psychological benefits journaling has to offer. Its the cheapest and most convenient therapy to heal, transform, grow and accomplish.
Effective and consistent journaling has many benefits such as:
- Organized thoughts and emotions.
- Increased focus and ability to stay in the present.
- Journaling gives an insight on your mood, wishes and overall personality.
- Boosts creativity.
- It hones long term goals and increases motivation to work towards achieving them.
- Helps in prioritizing.
- Stress relief by venting out anxious thoughts and stressful emotions.
- It helps to embrace and relive positive experiences.
- Increased positivity and optimism.
Research shows that journaling is beneficial for mental health because it activates the left hemisphere of brain which is the rational and analytical side. So while the left side is occupied, our right hemisphere which is creative and emotional has the ability to flourish. To put simply, we are able to access our calm wise self only when our inner critic and ego quiets down . Its a route to awareness and clarity of purpose.
Here are few tips on writing a journal but there are no fixed rules. Journaling is to make you feel light, happy and relaxed. It should not feel like a task, so pick a time that suits you. You can use apps or electronic journal but i prefer good old pen and notebook.
1 Write everyday
Journaling benefits the most when its done consistently. You can write as soon as you wake up, before going to bed or while commuting but try to write something everyday. Write twice a day if you can even if its only for 5 minutes.
2 Set a calm environment
Before you start writing make sure you have enough time to write and there aren’t any distractions. Calm the mind down by taking 3-4 deep breathes before you start writing. Play some soothing music if you’d like to.
3.Write in a non-judgmental way
Your journal is private, its only for your eyes. Do not censor your thoughts or judge them. Don’t worry about the sentence structure and spelling mistakes. Write whatever you are feeling, whatever you want to say but can’t. It a source to make you feel light and relaxed. Be as honest and as genuine as you can be.
Read what you’ve written to reflect on your thoughts. Analyse your feelings like a third person. This will bring clarity and make you more self-aware.
5. Set a timer
It is recommended to set a timer for 10 minutes and write till it goes off. This does not work for me as i feel pressurized by a timer. But again if it suits you, go ahead and use the timer.
Journaling ideas for self-discovery and clarity
Now you know how to journal but the bigger question is what to write in there?
Here are few prompts to help you start journaling
- What is your ideal self?
- What is your ideal day?
- Your dreams and goals.
- Where do you see yourself in 1, 3 and 5 years?
- What is it that you like or dislike about your current situation and how can you change it?
- Your fitness goals/ career goals/ relationship goals.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Is there anything stopping you from achieving your goals, if yes what is it?
- Write about your loved ones, how do you feel about them and describe your relationship with them.
- Describe your personality in 3-4 sentences.
- Describe the best moments in your life.
- Is there anything you do for self-care?
- What are your daily habits, do you want to change any of those and what new habits you’d like to form to achieve your goals?
- Make a list of your hobbies and passions?
- When do you feel the most happy?
- With whom do you feel most happy?
- Who is your ideal life partner?
- Jot down your childhood experiences?
- Your regrets and good decisions.
- What would you do if given a second chance?
- How do you feel about your financial and emotional state or current relationship?
You can be as descriptive as possible, for example when you write about your ideal day- start with what time you wake up, what are you having for breakfast, what are you wearing, at what time do you go for work, what kind of work are you doing and so on.
The above prompts are just to give you a direction, you can be as creative as you want to be and write whatever you truly feel like writing.
More tips on what to write
If you don’t want to answer the above questions, it’s completely OK. Here are few other tips to get you started.
Affirmations- You can write daily affirmations like ‘I am confident’, ‘I am healthy and energetic’, ‘ I am positive and hopeful’, ‘I am talented’ ‘I am wealthy’ ‘I am happy’. Affirmations are very powerful statements. Write 4-5 positive affirmations everyday. They can be about anything you want to manifest or the way you want to feel or become.
Gratitude- Write whatever you are thankful for. You could be thankful for your loved ones, for the food you eat, for the house you live in or for the air you are breathing. Psychologists state practicing daily gratitude can boost our well being immensely.
Have fun– One some days when you don’t feel like writing, draw pictures make doodles. Express yourself the way you want to.
In our busy modern day lives sometimes our inner voice gets lost in the noise. Our deepest needs go unnoticed and unfulfilled. Writing helps in establishing that connection with oneself. Its a kind of mindfulness exercise that keeps you in the moment and creates self-awareness.
You are not obligated to dig up negative experiences all the time. The process is to relax and make you feel light. Write, Reflect and review.
Start journaling today, not only for self-discovery and clarity but to improve overall well-being and quality of life.