Journaling increases your self-awareness and leads to improvement, growth, and self-discovery.
Although it seems intuitive, here are some tips that will help you journal for growth.
- Put pen to paper. Handwriting activates a system in the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS increases the clarity of your information as you write it down. Think about it as a filter that only allows the most pertinent information through.
- Focus on both thought and emotion. Journaling helps you process the emotions on paper.
- If figuring out what to write about is difficult, just close your eyes and let your thoughts and feelings come to you. Open your eyes and write them down as they come.
Journaling is a habit where the benefits compound and multiply. In fact, multiple studies have been done on the positive effects of keeping a journal.
According to the American Psychological Association, journaling:
- Helps people find meaning in trauma
- Relieves stress
- Increases immune system functioning
- Assists in stress regulation
- Improves interpersonal relations by increasing self-awareness
Additional benefits are:
- Better conflict resolution
- Solving problems
- Clarifying emotions and thinking
- Greater creativity
- Improved intuition
15-20 minutes of continuous writing
Journaling helps you get in touch with yourself, your desires, your needs, your goals, and your dreams by allowing your unconscious thoughts and emotions to come forth. The process of putting pen to paper without self-editing increases awareness of our own thoughts. This is called metacognitive thinking.
If writing about traumatic events, there might be an initial triggering of negative memories, emotions, or flashbacks.
- Be completely honest with yourself and your journal.
- Keep your journal in a secure location. These are your own personal thoughts and no one should read them unless you allow permission.
- Date everything, and reread your entries. This helps you gain perspective on who you are, how you’ve changed, and the evolution of your goals and dreams.
- Do not edit your thoughts. Grammar does not need to be correct, nor does spelling. The most important thing to remember is to write continuously. Try not to think too much.
- Journal in the same location. It should be a spot where you feel uplifted, comfortable, and inspired. Smells should also be considered. Using incense, aromatherapy, candles, or flowers is helpful.