Journaling falls into the same category as goal-setting. It appears to be a good idea, but for some strange reason, we never get down to it.
However, when done with a modicum of dedication, journal writing can lead to unprecedented success in life. Journal writers, like goal-setters, can correct misconceptions about reality based on the wisdom of hindsight, revise their course of action, and finally, head in the right direction to achieve their dreams.
If journaling appears to be a good idea, why don’t more people do it?
There appear to be three primary blocks to journaling, and people thinking about journaling have three questions: Is it safe? Why does it work? And is there any proof it works?
Is It Safe?
It may appear to be absurd asking if journaling is safe. After all, journaling does not require the use of inflammatory materials and only enough physical dexterity to put your thoughts down in a notebook or on a writing app in your computer.
However, people who raise this question are concerned about psychological safety.
They have two primary fears: First, the fear of loss of data; and, second the fear of loss of privacy.
Loss of Data
If you’ve poured your heart and soul into your journal and collected brilliant insights over a long period of time, you realize what a loss it would be to lose it. You may be even more concerned about it if you are using an electronic journal. After all, hard drives do crash now and then.
The solution is to backup all your data to an external device or cloud storage. If, in the worst case scenario, your computer crashes and your backup did not work, then you can always use remote data recovery services to get all your data back.
Loss of Privacy
While there is some risk that someone can read your ideas, especially if they are self-critical of yourself or others, this is an occupational hazard you have to be willing to take.
If you don’t journal, then you suppress your thoughts and feelings about something or someone. These vague perceptions about what’s going on within you because of your unwillingness to even think about it at length leads to a growing sense of self-doubt and confusion. You sense that something is wrong because you have uncomfortable feelings, but you’re not quite sure what’s bothering you.
The solution is to use a password-protected journal app.
Why Does It Work?
While there are dozens of reasons why you should journal, here are four powerful reasons to consider:
1. Journaling increases your verbal, logical, and intrapersonal intelligence.
Intelligence is not fixed and you can be much smarter tomorrow than you are today. This occurs because of neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to grow neurons to encode the new things you learn. By journaling on a regular basis, you stimulate your ability to use language (verbal skills); your ability to develop a clear line of reasoning (logical reasoning); and your ability to understand yourself better (intrapersonal intelligence.) It’s not hyperbole to say that journaling stretches IQ.
2. You begin to notice meaningful patterns in your life.
We are often too busy to reflect on how our lives are unfolding. One thing seems to follow another in a day, a week, a month, or a year without the breathing space to digest the full significance of major life events. Moreover, when something significant in your life happens, you might not recognize it at the time. It’s only by looking back that you can see how one cause set in motion a whole chain of events that created your current experience. By noticing patterns, you can stop doing what’s not working and start doing things that have a greater chance of success.
3. You increase your emotional awareness.
When you journal, you process your emotions and this increases your emotional awareness. Over time you get better at recognizing your emotions, what events triggers them, and your default way of reacting This can be highly useful in diffusing negative emotions that can create a downward spiral if left unchecked.
4. You develop your intuition.
Sometimes you can know about something without knowing how you know. By cultivating self-awareness, you develop a knack for recognizing what is right and wrong for you without any evidence. You might, for example, get a bad feeling about a product that you want to buy even though the salesman is sincere and truly convincing. Listening to your intuition, you decide not to buy the product although it is being offered at a deep discount and it’s exactly what you need to solve a pressing problem. Months later, you learn that the product had to be recalled by the manufacturer.
Is There Any Proof It Works?
There is a vast body of knowledge on the mental and emotional payoffs from journaling. Besides anecdotal reports, there are scientific studies to understand the many therapeutic benefits of journaling. In fact, the evidence of the healing benefits is so overwhelming that psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors routinely recommend journaling to their patients. Journaling has so many benefits that it is worth spending the time to do some journaling on a regular basis. The biggest mistake you can make in journaling is to fail to do it at all.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.