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Do You Journal?

Journaling is a powerful tool for self-discovery. In personal growth, self-discovered learning through journaling has excellent utility for individuals who want to learn about themselves. More importantly, journaling is person-centered, making use of real-life experiences.

At first, the suggestion or idea of journaling your thoughts and feelings may seem like an exercise in futility. It may even seem not very comforting. You may even ask yourself, what is the purpose of such an exercise? Think of the many times you sat down for a moment of peace or lay in your bed trying to fall asleep, but your mind wandered from topic to topic or from one distressing thought to another. Despite your best effort to quiet your mind, the thoughts only intensify.

Research has shown that journaling is an effective stress management tool and facilitates growth after experiencing a traumatic event. Journaling is an opportunity to author your story in a meaningful way. It does not always mean you perceive the experience accurately, but the willingness to engage with your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic.

Types of Journaling

There are several types of journals, and your reason for journaling directs the one you select. Listed below are some of the kinds of journals.

  • Reflective Journaling – is probably the most popular type of journal. It allows you to reflect on your life experiences; they are used in therapeutic and educational settings.

  • Daily Journaling – documenting your daily experiences.

  • Illustrative Journaling – using sketches to document your thoughts and feelings (like a comic strip). The illustrations do not have to be perfect; the focus is recording your story with drawings.

  • Gratitude Journaling – is written to show appreciation.

  • Bullet Journaling – used to organize your thoughts, track appointments, create a to-do list, … brainstorm.

Getting started

The method you decide to use to journal your thoughts is your choice. You can:

  • Use pen and paper.

  • The notetaking app on your smartphone.

  • Use your tablet or laptop to begin writing.

  • You can dictate your thoughts onto a take recorder.

  • Purchase a journal with writing prompts to get you started on your journey.

  • Determine your prime time and the best time of day for you to concentrate thoughtfully on your writing.

  • Identify your quiet space where you can focus uninterrupted.

The benefits of journaling

  • To benefit fully from maintaining a journal, you must be thoughtful in your writing about your experiences and the influence of these experiences on how you live.

  • Journaling consistently can be rewarding, provide a deeper understanding of yourself, organize your thoughts, become aware of your inner strengths, and grow in your self-acceptance.

  • It is an opportunity to take the lead in self-care and explore the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

  • Allows for person-environment interaction inquiry.

  • Journaling is an excellent alternative to interpersonal communication when you are not seeking advice and want to process your thoughts and feelings privately.

The journal is a personal account; it is an opportunity to speak in your voice about your needs and interests. Conclude each journal entry with a continuation signal to indicate more writing to follow.

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