I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of keeping a journal, so, just thought I would share some observations on the benefits of journaling:
What you write you are more likely to achieve
Spending time reflecting, setting goals and intentions is a great idea. I especially like the idea of setting intentions for the day, this is a really empowering tool. I saw this great post by Linda at Adjusting my time frame, on the power of setting daily intentions, I really can’t improve on Linda’s advice except to add that setting intentions gives my day a positive focus, I don’t always do it but I do know that it has proven a useful tool in bringing order and intent to my day when I do. Intention setting, nicely dovetails gratitude journaling, which aids perspective and improves overall wellbeing.
I have found gratitude journaling fantastic for maintaining a positive outlook, and contributing to mindfulness, it seems to aid overall well being, it certainly helps with a positive outlook and overall satisfaction. Simple to do, you just end your day reflecting on what are three things you are grateful for that day. Sometimes it can be big things but a lot of the time it is simple things for me, like watching the fairy wrens in the bushes in the garden, or the pleasure of a rainy night, even the luxury of a quite cup of coffee in the company of a good book before going to work. Reflection on what I am grateful for makes me more mindful in my day to day activities, it also puts me in a positive frame of mind and combined with daily intentions sets me up to make the absolute most of the day. I used to think gratitude and intention journaling was a load of so much new age fertiliser, but when I actively tried it, during a particularly down period, I found that it had a positive impact on both my mood and my productivity.
What you write you are likely to learn from.
Reflecting on our experiences lets us examine behaviours, outcomes and results, it is incredibly empowering tool for learning, it can help you develop your interpersonal skills, as well as examining what works and why . It lets you theorise and try out alternatives. It is an essential tool in your life long learning arsenal.
A journal is a great place to not only record information but to actively engage with it, by doing so, you are improving your capacity to think critically, you are strengthening neural pathways. Want to improve cognitive function, engage actively with information and a personal journal is a great way to do that. I recently stumbled across a reference to curiosity journaling for adults. The curiosity journal is a tool familiar in education, it is useful in generating active learning and self directed learning, but why should kids have all the fun, you can add a curiosity element to your journaling at any age, the pay off is enhanced life long learning and improved cognitive function. One way to actively add the curiosity element is to reflect on one thing that you were curious about that day. Approaching life with a sense of wonder and curiosity is one way to stay young. Recently curiosity itself was something I was curious about, (that is a whole other blog post). Jotting down what causes you to wonder can be a great way to nurture and encourage your curiosity.
What you write you are likely to remember
Memory can be unreliable and slippery, written reminders are invaluable, if you have a great experience, like a travel experience or a positive work experience it is nice to keep the details of that memory alive with written reflection, so a journal is a great way to keep your lived experiences current and growing with you. If you write a travel blog, keeping a journal is an essential tool to remembering the information you need to transform into a blog post, but it is more than that. A journal can become the most meaningful keepsake of an adventure or a life lived well, something to look back on when the adventure is past.
So if you journal or would like to start;
What are your intentions for today?
What do you feel gratitude for?
What are you curious about?
A journal can be great for fostering creativity and if you blog, it is a great incubator for blog posts. It does not have to be a flash hardcover book with expensive high quality paper, any old notebook will do, in fact the simpler the better, especially when you are just starting to develop a journal habit. An inexpensive, simple notebook is less intimidating. Or journal onto your computer if you prefer, although personally I feel there are advantages to pen and paper, but do whatever helps you get started.
I am uncertain as to the value of these posts, so please leave a comment, both the positive and the negative are always welcome.
And so do many everyday people.