Writing a daily diary or journal is a great way to record personal events, family history and special memories, but it can offer a lot more. Writing is a comforting release and in your own journal the laws of language don't have to apply; you can say it your own way. Here you can vent anger, express fears and anxiety, and release all kinds of emotions. There are a whole range of benefits from daily journalizing. Let me share a few key ones with you.
Self-knowledge and a better sense of identity are probably the most important benefits of journalizing. As we go through life, we hit many obstacles, detours and crossroads. These different challenges threaten our sense of wellbeing and can make us doubt who we are. They help with our personal growth but they can also be very frightening and isolating. At times, we can't describe our feelings to even our closest loved ones - but we can tell our diaries. By writing about it, we gain the precious gift of perspective. There's a certain power in just writing something down, for example, have you ever experienced the relief of making a list when you feel overwhelmed by a swag of chores?
If you get into the regular habit of writing down your deepest feelings and anxieties; insecurities and fears don't have a chance to take hold and intensify. You will begin to gain a greater clarity about yourself, your life and the things that affect you. This builds up self-knowledge and self-esteem so that if life suddenly gets a bit rocky, you will have a solid foundation to lean on.
Your journal is a permanent sounding-board, one that is the perfect, non-judgmental, accepting listener. You can be totally honest and thus get to know yourself in a way that helps you cope with change, relationships, decision-making and crisis management. Reading back over your journal is an enlightening way to gain further insight, mainly because we see the progress we've made and the lessons we've learned.
Releasing emotion by writing in your journal is particularly beneficial if you don't find it easy to verbalize your feelings. Having the freedom to express anger, jealousy, hatred, fear, sadness, conflict and so on is incredibly valuable. Best of all, you can gain insight into the pain beneath these emotions which often mystifies us and causes us to become confused and unhappy. By dealing with these emotions in writing, we confront them in a non-threatening way. If you need to act on these feelings, you can do so in a much calmer, clearer fashion.
Anger management is an important life-skill, but because most of us are not taught this in childhood, we're quite poor at it and generally handle anger in negative ways like drinking too much alcohol, drug-taking, violence and aggression. Writing is a very useful tool in positively handling anger. Instead of lashing out at the one(s) who have angered us, we can own and deal with our own responses. By the time you've written down what made you angry, you'll feel calmer and able to better see both sides of the argument. Your anger might not magically evaporate, but it will have reduced and you'll have gained the precious commodity of time-out where heated feelings can cool and thoughts can resume correct proportion.
Handling stress is a vital skill in modern living. Emotions are a key element but balance of lifestyle, prevention, and self-knowledge are all equally important. Through journalizing, you're able to objectively assess your lifestyle so that you can prevent stress overload and live a more balanced life. Achieve this by writing down your daily plans, set goals that are realistic and learn the habits, routines and schedules of your life that are either creating a pressured environment or a fulfilling one. Writing makes clear the patterns and thereby you can avoid the stress traps and pitfalls. Specific events and people that stress you can be identified and then adjusted for a more comfortable fit. Building more and more awareness is a crucial tool but also just writing about what's stressing you provides relief.
All relationships are challenging, principally because people are different. Ideas, values and opinions clash and dealing with these conflicts creates tension. It's far better to vent your anger towards a person or group by writing in a journal than to lose your temper, attack or verbally abuse. Also, sometimes we assume we are right in our thinking or in our side of the argument, but writing about it gives us a fairer and clearer perspective.
Apart from this, there are times when we cannot resolve a disagreement with the person or group directly. This is where journalizing really comes into its own. For example, if someone has hurt you in the past and you no longer have contact with them, or they've moved away or perhaps died. Closure is viable through the expression of your feelings about these events.
The journal is an unbiased, unquestioning and totally supportive friend. By writing regularly, you become your own best friend. The practice becomes a form of meditation, allowing us time to think about our lives, plans, feelings, relationships, failings, ideas, desires - we can then build on the positive ones and discard the negative. It's also a forum for acknowledging your own achievements, resolving to improve areas of weakness and giving thanks for all that we have.
Moreover, journal-writing is a great way to let go of all the emotional baggage we accumulate just by daily living. As we write, we can forgive, understand, release, make friends with the past, accept, find humor in and love. We are then able to say goodnight and goodbye, making way for a new day ahead, unsullied by old grudges, anger, resentments and self-doubts.
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