Have you ever reached the end of a day and wondered what you were thinking about the whole time? If you actually had a revolutionary thought and just missed it? If this sounds familiar to you, one simple habit could change your life forever.
The leather bound book that sits on my desk is one of my most sacred possessions. It contains my spiritual revelations, emotional reflections, and deep, vulnerable thoughts. The things that I value and know are so important but are sometimes so hard to say out loud. Why is journaling the most important habit you can have? Because understanding others starts with you. We can’t shape the world until we learn to intentionally shape ourselves.
Journaling is an opportunity to discover self-awareness
“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.”-Anne Frank
Often we experience things, but we may not truly understand them or how they shape us until we take time to reflect on them. Anne Frank experienced many difficulties during her short life disrupted by the atrocities of WWII. But her journals allow us to look back on her experiences, and see what it was like to live in hiding, but with courage. We all have something to contribute from our unique experiences. We can better understand what that is when we take the time to deeply reflect on what our experiences are and how they have shaped us.
Journaling is an outlet
“But what am I to do? I must have some drug, and reading isn’t a strong enough drug now.”–C.S. Lewis
Lewis wrote this in A Grief Observed, a harrowingly vulnerable reflection on his wife’s death. Lewis is honest about his anger towards God and his confusion as to why God felt so absent at a time when he needed comfort the most. Journaling is a safe haven for processing difficult emotions, dark feelings, or even thoughts we are too afraid of expressing in the open just yet. By recording that process, we may be writing words that will resonate with and help others later on.
Journaling is a space to create your self
“In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.” –Susan Sontag
When I open my journal and smell the pages, something shifts in my brain. Somehow my mind becomes clearer, my thoughts organize themselves, and metaphysical feelings become concrete expressions. Journaling allows me to communicate when I would otherwise feel isolated in my own experience. It empowers me to transform the life I imagine into the life I live.
Journaling is a diverse medium through which to accomplish these goals
Because journaling is so important to me, I always notice the unique ways other people keep a journal. Whatever it looks like, it is your unique bridge into your inner self, allowing you to understand what you really think, feel, and sense.
Journaling doesn’t have to be something you do every day. It can be a
How can you incorporate this habit into your life? Here are a few ways that I have found to be extremely effective:
Designate a special place for journaling
Use a journal and pen that you like. Because journaling is so diverse, there are TONS of options out there. Find something that fits your personality and gets you excited. The words and the look of the journal should represent you.
Re-read your journals.Whenever I go back through my journals, I become inspired to keep writing and keep growing. It’s amazing to see how much I learn by taking a few minutes to write out my thoughts.
Now it’s your turn. Turn inward, open your mind, and explore. What is it you have to say?
Media by Di’Mond Salmond.