Taking time out as adults can be something often seen as a luxury, cue kids, husband, work, family commitments....... but it can give us an invaluable insight into life and shed a new perspective on where we are at. In those quiet moments of reflection writing offers us the opportunity to express feelings and concerns, develop creative ideas, explore the past and the future and put life into perspective.
"Our notebooks give us a way, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparenct, shamelessly, the implacable "I"," writes American essayist Joan Didion, in her essay , On Keeping a Notebook, in Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
Regardless of our motivation to keep a journal, writing on a regular basis is to have an ongoing conversation with the self, which takes place between the world as an experience and an interpretation of it.
Begin journaling and begin experiencing these benefits:
Clarify your thoughts and feelings.
Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
Know yourself better.
By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
Solve problems more effectively.
Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
Resolve disagreements with others.
Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.
In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows you to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time. When current circumstances appear insurmountable, you will be able to look back on previous dilemmas that you have since resolved.
So what do you write?
Begin with a routine, a time set each day to journalling, start with 20 minutes a day : begin with recording things like your diet, your sleep patterns, your exercise or even just exploring memories.... it begins with creating a habit and building from there.
Explore more on journalling in one of our upcoming workshops. Check out our events page on Facebook to stay up to date.