“Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted—it is an intimate date with yourself.” ~Paul TP Wong
When you hear the term “journaling” – It’s simple.. You either love it or hate it(or have no idea what it’s all about.. No be oyibo man things?)
Even If you’re one of the select few who like it because you know and understand it’s benefits,
You might still struggle to carry it out with valid excuses like “I don’t have time”, “I’m lazy”, “I’m afraid of what I might uncover” “I finally get to face my fears on paper” “I have to come face to face with demons I try to shut out in my thoughts” – I used most of my excuses here..but you can relate
The truth is, most of us don’t understand what journaling is and that’s why we see it as “hard work”… What journaling really is.. a self awareness tool – used to uncover what you’re really thinking or feeling.. Or what you really want(or don’t)
Do you always have to write?
According to Sandy Woznicki, a former anxiety-riddled, insomniac stress-aholic turned coach, who created free resources like the Stress Detox Mini Course to help women to take back control of their lives and live more fully and freely.
“You don’t necessarily have to write down the answers. Just like to get healthier, you don’t have to go to the gym three times per week. Sure, it can help get you in shape faster, but you can also park farther away, take the stairs more often, or do a few squats waiting for the microwave to beep.
There are different paths for different people.
So don’t fret if you think you need to dedicate an hour a day to writing down your deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings.
And if you want to do that, more power to you!! ”
This means you can “think” on certain thoughts if you have a “phobia” for writing.(but why should you? If you can talk, text, tweet..think.. You can write)
Does Journaling REALLY help?
Ever been so angry you feel like your head is about to explode!??
You can feel the rage build up inside you, your heart starts beating faster, your hands clench up and ball into a fist.. You’re one “push” away from hiroshima on a human scale.
How about when you feel like crap… when you feel so down you want the world to just disappear or want to disappear yourself.. It doesn’t matter the events or people that must have caused this
What happens after a little time has passed.. Say a few hours to a few days.. We find out that what we were feeling at the time was grossly exagerated… The events leading to your “blowout” look small now that you are looking at it from a distance.. The world didn’t end.. You survived “just fine”
This is where journaling helps. It gets you to see the mountains you’re making and “put them down to size”. As human beings, strong emotions tend to consume us. They cloud our vision when we are enraged. They make us behave in ways not in tune with our values.( You can look back on some of your past actions where you acted or said something in the heat of the moment that you regreted later..)
Our emotions manifest our thoughts – it’s how we physically experience the thoughts in our head.
When the emotion is strong and loud, it’s hard to pinpoint what thoughts are really driving them.One minute you are okay and the very next you feel “off”.. Pissed and irritated..yet don’t know why.
Journaling helps, and with prompts, it’s easier to get started as it helps clear through the whirlwind of emotions to dig up the stories you’re telling yourself.
Journaling takes all the “noise” out of our brains and puts it on paper so we don’t have to keep getting drained from thoughts screaming like mad monkeys.
Research shows that thinking literally takes energy and burns calories!(But this is not a healthy way to lose weight)
Unchecked, these thoughts can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression – being so hard on yourself, while your subconscious habour a constant barage of negative self talk, bubbling just under the surface.
When they(negative emotions) are down there, there’s not much you can do to change them as your mind makes it so big you’re scared to face them head on.
Bringing them to the surface in order to see them, question them, challenge them, or change them is what journaling helps us achieve
Where do you start?
First, set aside a 5-15 minute window everyday that you intend to start practicing this new habit… Lets say every 10pm before you go to bed or every morning when you have woken up.
Take one of these prompts and have a go… Think or write
Do this for a week and see how you feel…
1. Three things you did right this week.
2. Two flaws you can forgive yourself for.
3. What are five things you’re good at.
4. Three times I was courageous.
5. Picture someone who you feel judged you by and what you feel that person has judged about you. Then write down all the reasons that opinion of you is wrong.
6. What are two habits are holding you back and you need to let go of?
7. What are five things your past self would love about your current self?
8. Write yourself a permission slip to be imperfect.(Human)
9. Write down something you think you failed at, and what you learned from it.
10. What is one thing you want to stop doing, and what is one thing you can do to take a step in that direction?
11. What is something you’re procrastinating on, and how would you motivate yourself to take action(whats the price if you do it)?
12. What is one way you’re being mean to or unfair to yourself, and what would you say to motivate and support yourself with kindness instead?
13. What is a compliment you received and brushed off because you didn’t feel you deserved it? Now practice fully accepting and appreciating the compliment.
14. Write down a few little memories from this week that made you smile that you would have otherwise forgotten.
15. Write a letter to a person in your life that you have found to be draining of your energy. Avoid excessive negativity – simply say goodbye to them and focus on committing yourself to spending more time with people who give you energy.
16. What is something you want to do but haven’t because of fear? Are you over-exaggerating that fear? How can you overcome it? What steps?
17. What do you wish you didn’t have to do today? Write about why it won’t be as bad as you expect it to be and how you’ll feel once you’re done.
18. What are your absolute favorite items in your closet? Conversely, what are some items you find yourself rarely wearing or feeling uninspired by?