If you have been part of the wellness community for five minutes you have probably heard that you should be journaling on a regular basis, but do you know why? I recommend journaling regularly to my clients for three main reasons:
1st- Tracking Your Progress
Whether it be tracking emotions, mental state, exercise, food, or really your growth in any area, tracking your progress can be important as it gives you awareness of patterns, habits, and mindsets over time that you can look back on and track your progress over time. Also we, myself included, can often negate, ignore, or even downplay the progress we have made, therefore tracking our progress also can be used to reflect on how you were ACTUALLY thinking, feeling, and doing in the past. It can take looking back at your older journals to see where you were and how much your behaviors, habits, mindsets, and skills have changed over time. If you maintain a consistent journal you can look back and look at how you were thinking, feeling, and doing in the past in a reality rather than remembering how things used to be, which is often not the full picture of how things truly were. Having this data can be useful in seeing patterns like how you handle stress and allows you to make realistic plans to grow and improve areas of your life that you wish to improve.
2nd- Mental and Emotional Dump
To grow you have to be aware and sometimes we get so busy with our life that we don’t always get the time and space to process our mindsets and emotions. Journaling can help by providing a safe place to dump, process, and move through things that we may otherwise try to push away from or distract ourselves from. However, by pushing away from these challenges we miss the lessons that can be learned from them and hamper our growth. Again it’s harder to grow when you are not aware of what you’re working with. There have been many times when I have been faced with a challenging mindset, life events, or even times when I got in my own way. Where journaling has been key to me moving through and coming out the other side learning lessons and closer to being the best version of myself.
3rd- Shifting your Mindset.
I almost always include a mantra or inspiring saying, stating the goal I am working towards and three things that I am grateful for. These help shift your mindset, clarify what YOU are working towards and what headspace you wish to face the world with. If you really want to develop your headspace in which you face the world there are four questions that I have found helpful ( I honestly forgot the source, for these questions, if I find the source I’ll tag it below).
- How do I want to feel today?
- Who do I want to be today?
- What do I want to give today?
- What do I want to receive today?
I have been working on my journal format for a while and have come up with a way that allows for reflection, planning, mindset, and gratitude. You can find the printable journal format below, and test it out for yourself.
I prefer journaling in the morning while I get ready to face my day, but there are no rules as to when to journal. What is truly important is that you use it as a tool in your tool belt to cope with stresses, and as a tool in your toolbox. Journal, especially when processing events, emotions, and what’s happening between our ears is done when you feel like you need it. Yet if done consistently you are better able to identify patterns, progress, and growth.