Do you ever have one of those vacations where you don’t necessarily come back feeling refreshed? It just happened to me. Don’t get me wrong, the time spent with my husband and visiting family and friends was highly enjoyable, but with all of the running around and other chores that needed to be done, it didn’t feel like much of a recharge. I’m sure this happens to many of us when you end up fitting a lot in to a short period without any real time set aside to just relax. But something else dawned on me after returning. While on vacation, I neglected something that might have improved the way that I felt about this time off – my journal.
After some time away from it, I came to realize how beneficial the few minutes a day spent writing in a journal have become to me. I missed it while I was away, and I felt a bit different without it as a part of my daily practice. As I look back on the week’s events, I believe that if I had taken the time each day to reflect on some of the vacation moments, I might have felt differently when it was all over. I now resolve that there will be no more vacations from the journal!
There are so many reasons to pick up a pen and put your thoughts to paper, and just a few of my favorites are below. Please share your comments if you have a favorite reason to journal that I’m not covering here, or something else that might add to the discussion. Also – pick up a notebook and commit to spending a few minutes with it each day, if you don’t already do so. You won’t regret it.
Top Five Reasons to Embrace Journaling
- Achieve Your Goals/Desires/Wants. Now, this isn’t some magical process, but the act of writing out your goals and the things that you want most in life acts as a trigger for your brain to recognize that this is something important. In doing so, it creates a sort of map or blueprint for these goals and promotes the greater likelihood of achieving them.
- Problem Solving and Mental Clarity. When you are faced with a problem at work, at home, with people, or in just about any situation, writing it down allows you to focus and see past all of the other mental clutter. In doing so, things become clearer and easier to understand or interpret.
- Improve Self-Awareness and Personal Growth. Writing in a journal is the best way to have a conversation with yourself. You may start to see new insights about your life, and certain patterns or themes might emerge that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed if you weren’t documenting them. Many times the act of writing these down will help you to examine the tough questions and ultimately impact your future decisions and perhaps even set you on a different path.
- Increased Self Confidence. Writing often about positive experiences gives your brain the opportunity to relive them, which can ultimately boost your mood and overall well-being. It’s also good practice to utilize your journal to remind yourself about your positive attributes and qualities. Training your brain to recognize these cues can lead to greater self esteem and you just might find yourself holding your head a little bit higher as a result.
- Relief of Stress and Anxiety. Of course, I saved the best for last. Transferring feelings to writing can be both therapeutic and a means for an emotional release. It forces you to unplug for a few minutes, dump out all of the negative thoughts, and recharge in the process. As an added benefit, if done in the evenings, you just might sleep better, too.