I have been writing ever since I was little, but I did not start actively journaling until the latter end of high school. As someone who struggled with anxiety and a busy schedule, I knew I needed a way to stop and take time to engage in a little self-therapy and care. By journaling a little bit each day, I truly experienced its restorative and healing power.
Journaling can be and look different for different people. The first step is to assess your individual needs and desires. Do you lack motivation or struggle with negative thoughts? Do you need a place to rant or dump your thoughts and feelings? Are you seeking order, structure, or even some control? Once you find what it is, make an intention for yourself. For me, I knew I needed a place to share my thoughts and to start my off day with peace and positivity. My intention for journaling was to explore my emotions and inner self by writing down my thoughts daily. I also made an intention to journal a gratitude list every day to foster positive thinking.
I found it very calming and beneficial to set a time and place for journaling every day. I prefer to journal after breakfast in the morning either outside or at my desk. Once you develop a time and place, journaling will start to become a daily practice. There will be good days and bad days, but try to write through whatever emotions you are feeling. Be open, honest, and vulnerable. This is the best way to grow and connect to your self.
One thing that I discovered through my journey was how I grew to become more aware and conscious of my emotions and thought patterns. Journaling brought me to the present. Wherever I was or however I was feeling, I could come to the page. After writing for a while, the deep stuff I was experiencing mentally began to surface. I could identify the roots of problems. I was able to better understand and deal with my emotions. When you look back at your old entries, it is inspiring to see how you have improved and changed over time.
In addition to self-awareness, journaling boosted my mood and memory. By working through my emotions, a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I always felt lighter and calm afterwards. My daily gratitude lists helped me to start my day off with positive thoughts, shaping my perspective and equipping me to manage stress. Writing also sharpened my cognitive thinking and working memory.
If you are looking to explore yourself on a deeper level or to gain emotional intelligence and insight, I highly recommend starting a journal. It is truly amazing to experience progress from such a simple act. The journey is worth the destination.