I'm big on self-development; just ask my husband about the piles of "self-help" books that I have lying around the house on varying topics; mindfulness, finding your passion, success, de-cluttering, confidence, discover your destiny...need I go on? To add to these piles my new passion is reading about entrepreneurship and business. One common topic that keeps appearing across these books is the positive affects journaling can have on your life and your business.
Oscar Wilde did it, Lady Gaga does it, Charles Darwin did it, Eminem does it, Andy Warhol did it - they all keep or kept a journal/diary.
I am going to explore the topic of what is a journal and the different types of journals in another post but for now let's just use the dictionary definition of what a journal is: "a daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary or a book in which you write down your personal experiences and thoughts."
Planning & Goals:
So by writing down your thoughts, plans or goals, you are emphasising their importance to you, it is spurring you on to take steps to achieve these goals. Not only this, but if you also record your progress and hurdles or mistakes along the way you are recording lessons learnt. You are making a commitment to yourself to move forward and progress.
Creativity & Self-expression:
Self-expression in the form of doodling, drawing, painting, calligraphy etc. can also be a form of journaling which increases creativity. Giving yourself a creative space where you can express yourself in whatever way you choose but it is totally private and you know no one will judge lets you express yourself more freely. Also forms of journaling such as Bullet Journaling and Art Journaling encourage you to be more creative and learn or try different styles of writing, painting, decorating with washi tape or stencils, brightly coloured pens and pencils, it's all great to stretch your mind and boost creativity.
Calming the Monkey Mind:
You might have heard the expression the monkey mind, it is used a lot in Yoga and Meditation, it is a buddhist term meaning, restless, unsettled, uncontrollable. It is often thought of as the constant chatter that goes on in our heads. We have a lot of junk in our minds and journaling is one way to get rid of this junk or chatter, and put it on paper rather than have it keep replaying in our minds. Dedicating a certain amount of time to journaling your monkey minds chatter allows you to address any concerns the monkey mind might have, to make lists of things you need to do that are causing you stress. It also means you can calm it at other times knowing that you acknowledge the thoughts at the dedicated time.
Journaling also helps emotional intelligence. Being successful quite often means you lead a very stressful life, so being an expert at managing stress and emotions can be very advantageous. Journaling has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and increase happiness.
Another useful way of using a journal to be successful is be grateful. Keeping some form of gratitude journal or just add it to your Bullet Journal or diary, can really have a positive effect on your general well-being. When you slow down and think about what you are thankful for in your life you find it relieves stress and anxiety, and is also thought to bring more positivity your way creating a cycle of success.
Not only this but on a practical level it can keep you more organised, improve your memory, improve your IQ, keep you healthier if you keep a food diary, meal planner or record exercise and steps. There is evidence that journaling can strengthen immune cells and reduce the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
A journal is a cheap, easy way to really improve your well-being. All you need is paper and pen to get started or a computer or phone if you fancy trying an electronic version. Try journaling now for 30 days and just see what happens :-)
You can buy a Journaling Starter Bundle which is a kit of great stationery to get you journaling, check them out here.