Get it all out on paper and don’t worry about the spelling
“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.” — Virginia Woolf
About a year ago, my husband and I decided to start journaling our days. Nothing fancy, just a short summary of our day, along with any thoughts or ideas we might have. At first it was fun writing to myself as if I were another person. But after some time it became more therapeutic than anything, and I realized that it was a great momento to pass on to my future children.
After a few days, I realized that journaling was doing more than just making me a better writer; it was actually opening my mind to thoughts that I had never experienced before. If you’re already someone who journals daily, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But if you aren’t, maybe these points will inspire you to pick up that pen — or tablet — and start journaling.
Here’s why you need to start writing:
1. Writing makes you grateful
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky we are. We go about living our lives and take everything for granted — our partners, jobs, friends, parents, pets, etc. Writing your daily thoughts on what you did, how you felt, where you went, can really give you a deeper perspective on your life. When you write details down you start to get an appreciation for what you have — it’s right there in front of you, starring into your eyes.
When you write down the things you are grateful for, you start to subconsciously feel happier without even knowing it. You’ll be amazed at how much you actually have by just writing them down. And in turn, you will start to not only feel a whole onset of internal emotions, but will also benefit in so many areas of your life — just by writing down all that you are grateful for!
You will be: happier, healthier, more confident, a better friend/partner, more productive, less stressed, efficient, and the list goes on.
Journal what you are grateful for and you will see a tremendous difference in your overall emotional state and attitude.
2. Writing makes you productive
Do you ever wonder why some people create to-do lists? I used to do this in the mornings or at the beginning of each week. It allowed me to organize my thoughts on what I needed to get done that day and what I would like to get done that day. People love these kinds of lists because it signifies a road map of their goals.
So, why not use your journal as a to-do list as well? You’ll be surprised at just how much flows out onto the paper. Having your goals and aspirations written out means you’re already one step closer to achieving them. Write them down every morning and they will soon start to haunt you to the point where they become your priorities.
3. Writing makes you creative
There’s a reason why Elon Musk comes up with his best ideas in the shower. The quiet, alone space allows for a distraction-free environment to think. If you’ve ever thought of something brilliant in the shower, that’s why.
Similarly to the shower, journaling in your own distraction-free zone allows you to access the creative part of your brain that you normally wouldn’t use when you’re doing your daily hustle. The ideas and thoughts will start flowing out of you once you start writing, and you’ll get lost in your words.
We are so consumed with what others are doing on a daily basis that we don’t spend much time thinking about our own ideas/goals and following our intuitions. I’m sure there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t know how to get there. Start writing those ideas down daily — it soon will manifest itself into action.
4. Writing challenges you
We all have judgements on certain things. It’s hard not to in the world we live in.
When you journal about your day you are indirectly challenging your thoughts. How? Well, think about it. Every thought, idea, emotion is spilled onto that piece of paper. So, it’s all out there now for you to explore. It’s not going anywhere.
I’ve gone back to past journal entries and couldn’t believe I wrote what I did.
5. Writing helps you clear your mind
Relax. Relax. Relax. You and I both don’t do it enough. The outside, material world consumes us. We get so lost in what’s happening with the Jones’ that we lose track of what’s most important: ourselves.
I actually found that the time of day I journaled really made a difference. As mentioned above, journaling in the morning helped me map out my day. But journaling in the evening had a completely different impact. Journaling at night will allow you to unwind from the day. Writing everything that happened that day provides a sense of clarity and understanding that you may not have experienced if you didn’t write at all.
Journaling relaxes the mind and eases the soul, creating a total zen-like atmosphere of just being present. So, do just that. Be present.
“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” — Pat Conroy
So, if I haven’t made it perfectly clear, I think you need to start journaling. You’ll become a better person for it. I promise.