Updated: Apr 29
Journaling is a powerful tool that can support self-care and achieving one’s health goals. When I first heard about this habit I was hesitant to start. And then l I tried it…
Journaling is the practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings, keeping track of issues or information, setting down goals. It differs from keeping a diary in that it is not simply a record of one’s day or time.
The the process of journaling is a mental exercise but one that can affect all areas of health: mental, physical and social. The very act of writing down your thoughts allows you to process and articulate them better. This leads to having a clearer vison of what you want to achieve or greater understanding of what you have done. Planning will become more effective. Tracking one’s progress, reflecting on accomplishments and failures is useful and ultimately can boost long-term growth and self-confidence.
My own journal tends to be factual: goals to achieve, tracking my progress, how I feel after my exercise sessions. At it’s most simple a string of numbers, my workout routine and how I felt afterwards. I try to focus on my thoughts rather than my emotions. This helps me to properly understand what is going on with my health. I make note of times when I have succeeded AND failed in my goals, to analyse what happened and make improvements in my plans. I get a better perspective on myself and not beat myself up over mistakes but rather to learn from them. Sometimes it is all too easy to get lost in everyday stresses and concerns. It can help to keep a note of the good things in one’s life - gratitude journaling – to offset the negative. At times my journaling of the ‘simple’ black and white things in my life allows my brain to reveal deeper thoughts that I might not have previously been aware of and new directions for action. This is all valuable.
I prefer to have a physical journal, to write with pen on paper. That's not to say that I don't use my phone to keep notes, I do. Moving away from the small screen, often related to work or mindless scrolling, allows me to focus on the specific task and skill of writing. In turn thinking more about what I am trying to write. It's all part of the process.
Go to a store and find a journal or decent notepad. Make it your own and use it. Write, sketch, doodle, staple in clippings. You will find that more you journal the easier and more effective it becomes.
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