The past year has been fraught with uncertainty, isolation, fear of illness or death, and more. Our usual routines were interrupted, altered, truncated, or completely wiped out. With all of that swirling around me, I revisited why I journal every day. I think I am living proof of what the scientific studies say: Journaling relieves stress.
Reveals what’s already in my brain
I love this quote by the great American novelist, Flannery O’Connor.
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Long ago, I realized that the only time I really understood a disease, a patient situation, a treatment, or anything else was when I wrote about it.
I don’t deal with a professional topic every day. Some days, I just want to know what Marie is thinking today.
Enhances my creativity
The scientific world agrees that repetition is the mother of habit. And, in my estimation, habit is the mother of creativity.
Our brains don’t expend much energy to do familiar, repetitive tasks.
Notice, I’ve been blogging regularly every Tuesday and Friday for about 5 years. (Blogging — the very word means “web log” — is just a public way of journaling!) When we repetitively do a creative thing like writing, we don’t spend many calories figuring out the mechanics of the act. Hence, we’re more creative.
Even on the days when we don’t feel like it, we benefit from journaling. Which is another way of saying that one reason why I journal regularly is that creativity springs eternally when we stay in the creative groove.
Gives me a safe space
Sometimes, I want to growl at everything and everyone.
In his book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty said that journaling is a great substitute for “venting” to others. It prevents me from adding to the negative junk they are already mired in.
Gives insight into thoughts, feelings, and actions
I’m knee-deep into learning about and coaching others on the Enneagram.
In The Road Back to You, Enneagram expert Ian Morgan Cron emphasizes, over and over, the need to be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Honestly, there’s lots of stuff floating around in my psyche. I wouldn’t be aware of if I didn’t write it down, so that’s another reason why I journal almost every day.
While journaling, I ask myself and then answer, “What am I learning?”
And, I answer that question that in writing.
Builds a bank of Ideas
I write down lots of ideas that come to my head. I know full well that they may bite the dust.
That’s okay. Most of those ideas are bunts or pop fouls. A few are an “out” at first base. But indeed, one will be my next home run.
Keeps me focused on being grateful
There’s a whole body of literature to support the “attitude of gratitude.” And someone told me once that it’s impossible to be grateful and hateful at the same time.
In each journal entry I answer the question: “What am I grateful for today?”
Keeps me focused on my goals
A primarily reason why I journal is because it connects me to my goals.
Whether it’s basketball, hockey, or golf, players are focused on a clearly visible goal. If it’s swimming, there’s a record to beat. If it’s the Indy 500, it’s a finish line to cross. Why wouldn’t we want to keep our eyes on the goal in life?
Without a goal, we’re drifting. We’re like a ship without a rudder.
Facilitates my goal achievement
Strangely enough, I’ve achieved more goals in the last year than ever before. For openers, I earned recognition as a Certified Online Training Professional.
I kept my business opened, and I kept my team employed during a year when over 100,000 businesses closed forever.
That’s goal achievement.
More reasons why I journal
Journaling makes me think, prompts me to learn, and gives me a chance to hear from people like you (A-HEM! You can feel free to leave me a comment below!) And much more.
Do you journal? Do you agree with the reasons I journal, or do you have additional reasons? Share your tips below!