The Benefits of Journalling

Putting pen to paper has so many benefits

Journalling is one of those habits that lifestyle gurus often recommend. Is it something that you’ve thought of doing, but decided that it’s too much of a chore or can’t see the benefits? I’ve been writing in a journal for over a year now and so I thought that I would share my thoughts with you about my experiences.

No rules

You choose what you want to write about. It can be as deep or as superficial as you want. I often start out talking about what I did the day before or what I plan to do that day. When I am journalling I find that is a good start, particularly if I don’t know what to write. This almost always leads on to an exploration of my thoughts and feelings about the previous day’s events or that upcoming day. Sometimes you might feel as though you have nothing to say. Just start writing, ‘I don’t know what to write today and the words will flow’.

Journalling provides time to reflect
Sharing thoughts and worries

If there’s something on your mind then you can write about it. Often I feel reluctant to face my fears, but find that once they’re down on paper they don’t actually look so bad. I can then explore ways in which I am going to address them. Perhaps it’s not even a worry, but just thoughts about a situation. You can use your journalling time to reflect on your thoughts.

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Planning

As you may know from this post I love planning. I’ve often got an idea in my head about how I could improve my productivity or rearrange my schedule. Putting that down on paper in my journal gives me the opportunity to explore that idea more fully. It also acts as a reminder. I often read back over the past month and I often find that I haven’t followed through with my ideas, either because I’ve forgotten about them or I haven’t had the time. Reading them again gives me that nudge I need to make time to put them into practice or decide that they weren’t a good idea after all.

Dreaming
Use your journal to dream about your next big trip

We all like to dream about our future. Our next big holiday, where we’d like to live, getting your ideal job. When you’re journalling your imagination has the freedom to think big and explore the options. You can jot down wild ideas which may come to absolutely zilch or may be the start of a big adventure.

Reading back and seeing how far you’ve come

As I mentioned above, I often read back over the past month when reviewing how I’ve spent my time. It’s amazing what you forget. Thirty days can sometimes seem like a lifetime ago. You’ll realise how much you’ve achieved in that time. In the Simple household we are still doing a lot of work on the house and the list seems endless, but when I read back over what’s been done I realise that we’ve come a long way.

Your journal becomes a record of your life
Provides a timeline of your life

As well as being able to consider the past month, if you make journaling a regular habit it becomes a record of your life. Last Christmas I took the time to read through my journal entries for that year. I made a list of all the interesting and significant events and shared them with Mr Simple. Sometimes he gets overwhelmed and a little down about what he sees as the slow progress on the DIY front. I was able to remind him of all the changes that there had been and the activities that we had enjoyed together during our time off from work.

Can just be a few words or several pages

Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages a day, which she calls morning pages. I allocate 30 minutes every morning and once that time is up I stop writing. In fact, sometimes I stop before that if I don’t feel that I’ve got anything more to say. As I said, there are no rules, you can do whatever suits you. It can be a few lines or even bullet points or it can be several pages.

You don’t have to do it every day

It’s not often that I journal on the weekend and when I’m taking some days off from work I don’t always write then either. It just tends to be Monday to Friday and work days. It just depends on how I’m feeling. Yet again, there are no rules. Just don’t let any gaps mean that you don’t return to it.

If you want some journaling prompts click this link to head over to Natalie Bacon and subscribe. You’ll then get 75 Journaling prompts free. That should keep you going for a while.

2 Replies to “The Benefits of Journalling”

  1. HI Sam

    I have to admit to being a journalling cynic in the past, having tried it a few times in the past, without seeing any benefits.
    Interestingly, I had a session with my career coach at work who suggested it and put my foot down, saying it just wasn’t for me. Then something prompted me, I picked up an old journal (blank) and started writing. Loving it this time around.

    Another tip – In the past I invested in fancy pens, and fancy journals. The fancy pens kept breaking down (i know, expensive AND impractical. They may work great in outer space, mr astronaut, but they are pretty useless at my dining room table). This time around I used a moleskin that I haven’t used yet (ok, not cheap, but it was just lying there) and a plain old bic that my partner had on his work desk here at home.
    Instead of focusing on making my fancy pen work i focused on my thoughts and feelings. Also my cursive writing is improving every day.

    Thanks for your inspiring post and useful links.

    Shaun

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