Journaling: The Importance of Getting Your Thoughts on Paper
We all do this - we are so exhausted after a long day at work that we cannot wait to hit the pillow and sleep. But, it never fails that once we are actually in bed, our mind starts racing with a million thoughts about all that happened that day and what needs to be accomplished tomorrow. It can be nearly impossible to turn those thoughts off! However, there is a solution, and it lies in a simple journal.
I'm sure a lot of you grew up with a diary or journal, and you might be scoffing at the idea of getting back to that practice. But hear me out - journaling can be such an amazing tool to help clear your mind and put all of your thoughts into perspective.
Journaling is the perfect way to start or end your day (or both!). Starting your day with a bit of journaling helps you set goals and intentions for the day. What do you want to accomplish that day? How do you want to impact the people you come in contact with that day? What are you grateful for that morning?
On the other hand, journaling at the end of the day helps calm the mind. It gets your thoughts on paper. It allows you to put to rest the day that you just completed and focus on what you are grateful for that day, what went well, and what maybe you could work on the next day.
No matter which option you choose, journaling is a must, especially if you also struggle with worry, anxiety, or depression. Sometimes, it feels like our thoughts overwhelm us - we simply can't seem to get away from them! But, when we physically write the worries or anxieties down, we might find that it gives them less power over our minds. It gives them substance, and when we read back over them, we might realize that they weren't realistic or worth worrying about.
Plus, journaling is the prime opportunity to write down what you are grateful for every single day. This is a practice that really can bring joy back to even the poorest of days. Remembering all that you have been blessed with is the best way to start or end any day, because it leaves us feeling comforted and loved. Sometimes, it's more of a struggle to list off the things we are thankful for, but other times it comes more naturally. Either way, the more your practice gratitude, the happier you will become. I promise!
It doesn't have to be hours of journaling or a fancy journal. Grab a $1 or less notebook, stick it by your bedside, and make a commitment to writing in it for just 3 minutes each day. Follow this simple outline if you feel stuck:
1. List off 3-5 things you are grateful for in that moment
2. Write down one thing you would like to do that day (if journaling in the morning) or the next day (if journaling in the evening) that is different than your normal routine or would help someone else out
3. Put into words your intention for the day/next day (it can be simple "I want to clean the closet" or more complex "I want to make my husband feel appreciated")
4. List off any worries or anxieties that are circling in your mind
That's it! Simply write whatever is on your mind. Getting your thoughts out on paper can be one of the most healing and powerful tools - and it's free!