Friday, December 31, 2010

Journaling ~ The Benefits & How To's

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Journaling is a term used for the practice of keeping a diary or journal to explore your thoughts and feelings attached to the events of life.  To get the best benefits of journaling you have to do more than just keep a "log" of the daily events in your life.

Journaling is an ancient tradition dating back to at least 10th century Japan and has been a tool for many successful people throughout history.

There has been scientific evidence showing that journaling can provide many unexpected benefits such as:

*Growing in your spirituality by using it as a prayer journal/study journal
*Strengthening your immune system
*Decreasing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
*Clarifying your thoughts and feelings
*Knowing yourself better
*Reducing Stress and negative effects thereof
*Solving problems more effectively
*Resolving dissagreements with others
*Tracking patterns and trends over time
*Tracking your improvement and growth over time.

The act of writing accessess your left brain, which is analytical and rational.  This leaves your right brain free to create and feel.  Writing removes the mental blocks and allows you to use your full brain to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.

How to Start:

1.  Buy A Journal.  I use a simple composition book.

2.  Set Aside Time.  I usually journal with my morning devotions and then again at bedtime.

3.  Start Writing.  There are no rules.  No guidelines that you have to follow.  Each journal entry can be completely different from the last.

4.  Write About Thoughts and Feelings.  Again, you don't just want to log the daily events.  Although some nights, if I'm really tired, that is about all I can manage for that day.

5.  Keep Your Journal Private.  You don't want to have to worry about someone reading your journal because this will probably make you censor what you write.  You want to be able to write honestly and about any situation without the fear of repercussions.

Tips:

1.  Try to write each day.

2.  Writing for 20 minutes is ideal but if you only have 5 minutes, write for 5 minutes.

3.  If you skip a day or 2 or 3, don't quit.  Just pick back up when you can.

4.  Don't worry about neatness or grammar.

5.  Don't self-censor.  Just write what comes and not what you think you "should".

A Few Things I Do:

1.  I do my devotions or read scripture first and then note a specific verse at the top of my journal entry with any thoughts I might feel about the verse/topic.

2.  Ask for quiet.  Sometimes I have to actually kick family members out of my bedroom so I can be alone.

3.  Have a good pen.  I can't stand it when my pen skips.

4.  I journal in the morning with my morning thoughts for the day and then again at night to empty my brain for a good night's sleep.

5.  I also use my journal as a prayer journal.  Some days I just write to God.

6.  I use it as a memory journal also.  I can staple/glue in any special pictures from the kids, cards, sermon notes, bulletins, programs, ticket stubs etc.

7.  I set aside one composition book per month and start a new book on the 1st of the month even if there is space left.  This keeps me from feeling like I have to condense my thoughts so that one day will fit on one page.  I'm anal like that!  lol

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This has turned out to be a much longer post than I had originally planned but I wanted to share all the information with you today so that you can start your journal on January 1st if you so choose.  Although, it doesn't really matter.  You can start anytime.  Again, anal!  lol

It really does help and I'm finding that I really enjoy it.  I actually look forward to getting up in the morning to do my devotions and journal.  At night I make sure I have a set time to get ready for bed so that I can have my quiet time to journal.

Do you journal?  Would you like to start?  Now would be the perfect time.


Resources:
Psychcentral.com
Stress.About.com

12 comments:

  1. Excellent tips on journaling, Colletta. I have been doing it for a few years, and find it beneficial to look back on experiences that I have had and might have forgotten otherwise.

    I also have a "thankfulness" journal in which I record at least one thing each day that I'm thankful to God for. It's amazing how much He does!!

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  2. I appreciate your post a lot. I have dipped my toes in the water of journaling but haven't dived in yet. What an inspiration!

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  3. These are excellent tips. Thank you so much. I have started keeping a journal. So, I need all the helpful hints available.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  4. I'm a list maker by nature so my journal looks like a book of lists mostly. I do not journal on a regular basis, only when inspired to do so. I'd love to be more structured and consistant, I've tried, but never succeeded...yet.

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  5. Visiting from Spiritual Sunday... You offer some good suggestions. I've kept a prayer journal for years, and it's amazing how therapeutic it is! I also have a "memories" journal, and I started a journal of letters to my grandson the day he was born.

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  6. Visiting from Spiritual Sunday. Great tips. Thank you so much.
    Wishes for you and yours for a Happy New Year.
    Much Blessings,
    Virginia

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  7. Thanks for linking up with Sassy Sites-Free For ALL Friday! I just posted my new party for the month of January... Operation Organization. Come by and check it out! Happy New Year! xoxo

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  8. This is such great advise of starting a journal. Perfect timing,thank-you.
    God Bless and Happy New Year,
    Ginger

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  9. I've kept journals and it really helps me stay focused. Thanks for this great advice.

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  10. I wonder - does journaling on the computer count? Ever since I learned how to type - way back in the dark ages (1950s) I have not liked to write anything in long hand. My mind goes faster than I can write. I can type almost as fast as I think it. Anyway, I think journaling is a wonderful thing to do. Thank you for these excellent tips.
    Blessings and happy journaling in this happy new year.
    Charlotte

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  11. I used to journal about everything but then my mother passed and my DIL (50 years old)sat on the floor after her funeral reading excerpts out of some of moms writings and mom's words were so hurtful to us all that I went home and destroyed years of my writings. None left. I'm glad she was able to vent but I don't want anything in writing. I would keep a prayer journal for reflections though.

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  12. These are great journaling tips!

    I've been mindful of how my words may impact others after I'm gone. If I'm dealing with bitterness, I will write in a place (loose-leaf notebook) that can be easily removed and destroyed once it is dealt with. I once burned a whole notebook (that felt GREAT!). No ugliness left behind that might hurt others.

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