I've never been consistent with journaling, I'm a bit of a dabbler, but I've recently picked it back up again and, this time, put a little thought into why do we journal?
Why We Journal
Journaling helps us tie the inside voice to the outside results. We all have that committee inside our head -- sometimes advocate, sometimes critic, sometimes saboteur -- journaling gives us the opportunity to figure out if that committee is right or wrong, gives us the opportunity to quiet the noise, cultivate gratitude, and set our intentions. For some, journaling is an inward journey, deeply personal & introspective; for others, it's all left brain, analytical & rational. Either way, clearing the clutter & the noise & gaining clarity can help us move mountains, or at least help us take simple steps forward.
My journaling is a mix of left & right brain. I start out left brain copying some notes or conference aha's and then shift to a little commentary & introspection. I almost had to give myself permission to be left brainy with what I was journaling ... it was a little like note-taking or studying or reviewing of material or re-writing of quotes & inspiration ... it almost felt like journaling cheating. And then I just gave myself permission to do whatever the heck I wanted with that pretty journal.
When I do go introspective, as a writer I have this self-imposed pressure to be poetic & wordsmithy, for it to actually be really good writing in my journal. Lord, I wear myself out sometimes. So I coached myself out of that corner & just gave myself permission to do whatever the heck I wanted with that pretty journal. It's not like other people are reading it, right?
A really easy way to start if you've never journaled or want to pick it back up, is simply list 5 things you're grateful for that day. That could be your entire journal and you would certainly raise your vibe by getting in to that specific gratitude habit.
Lately, I am simply reviewing coaching & class & inspiration notes from the last year and then writing out the highlights in to my journal. That puts me in introspective mode on tidbits, aha's, & insights from last year. It starts left brain (re-write some notes) & then goes right brain (introspection on said notes). If these were my aha's from meaningful experiences last year, I think this specific journal exercise helps give them legs into this year ... at least that is my goal, help imprint these gems in my grey matter.
Your Cells Listen
I am incorporating more journaling into my classes, asking my agents, my audience, to consider embracing the journal exercises as an opportunity to further feed the information into their cells. We are all wired a bit differently. You may be an auditory learner (Audible & in-person is your jam). Someone else is a visual learner (read, read, & read it again). Someone else a kinesthetic learner (you gotta touch it). And all of us have some of each because all of us have a brain that is wired with all of those parts. So if you are an auditory learner, a little journaling on the side will reach a different part of your brain. And the more we get the good stuff into our brains, different areas of our brain, then the more accessible the information.
The Good Stuff
Who am I to suggest what to journal or not. But remember the your-cells-listen point. If you're journaling on the negative stuff, you may be giving it more residency in your brain than it deserves. Now, some stuff just simply needs some working through and journaling can facilitate that. But I do know that foundational thing about the brain and us as humans ... load up on the good stuff, my friends!