This is a new series that I am starting that will detail healthy habits and why you should consider adding these habits into your healthy lifestyle. This month I will be discussing journaling. Journaling has been a habit that I have recommended for many of my clients and it’s a coping mechanism that I have leaned on many times. There are three keys when it comes to journaling that make it such a healthy habit.
First is that it helps you process the event that happened from a bird’s-eye view. I have often found that through the process of writing down the event I can glean a deeper meaning and a better understanding of my emotions that have come up as a result of these events. After getting clear on my perspective, I can then gain a better understanding of the other’s point of view of the event. This is of course true in stressful times but also in happy times. To gain this bird’s-eye perspective we need to set up a journaling method that allows for thought and emotions to flow freely from your mind to the page. There are so many lessons that can be understood better through the free-flowing writing process of journaling. To allow for the free-flowing writing process I prefer handwriting rather than typing, but that is a personal preference. As long as your thoughts flow smoothly without too much thought on spelling, formatting, or technical issues. The less thought that goes into the process of writing the better, let the words flow and you may be surprised by what comes out.
The second is gratitude. This is rooted in studies done in positive psychology that found that daily practices of gratitude can shift the way you view the world as overall negative or working against you to more positive and working in your favor. Recognizing the good things that you have in your life or the positive outcomes or lessons that came out of events in your life can help with your personal growth and understanding of what we want more in our life. Although it can be challenging to find the positive in even negative life events it can be really important in the process of healing and grieving. This helps you recognize that the world is still good even if you are going through something that is perceived as “bad”.
The third is data collection. Journaling at its base is writing down events, thoughts, emotions, and other data points depending on the purpose of the journal. You can have a fitness journal, food diary, book journal, outdoor adventure journal, training journal, and so many more. Some people even track the weather in journals. Now not all these data points might be meaningful to you. However, this is where the goal that you’re working towards is important. If you are training for a triathlon, a food and training journal may be really important to track your improvement, injury, recovery time, calorie intake and calorie output are all important data points. Yet, if your goal is for better mental health, journaling your emotions, habits (like exercise, time with friends and family, and self-care), and your response to stressors can then be equally as important to your goals as the training data for the triathlete. It may be my analytical view of the world but being able to look back and track your process, what went right and what went wrong are key to future growth and long-term maintenance of the goal.
If you have been following along with my blog for a while you may remember that I wrote another article about journaling with a journaling template included, if you enjoyed this article you will likely enjoy that one as well and the helpful tool included.
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