Monthly Archives: August 2017

Journal Writing – Voyage to Self-Discovery

One of the easiest and most powerful ways to self-knowledge is through journaling. Journaling is the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores your innermost thoughts and feelings about life events. Journaling is a good problem-solving tool. For many people, problems are easier to see when they are written down.Journaling also provides clarity and helps track progress. A great time to turn to your journal is when you’re just not clear about what to do. Things tend to become much clearer when you explore them in writing. When you’re frustrated that your life doesn’t seem to be working out as you’d like, go back and read your journal. This will remind you that, although it feels like you’re running in place, you are in fact growing and changing.To get the most out of your journaling experience, do not focus simply on what happened during the day. Use your journal to look inward at how you are affected by your daily struggles. Your journal will give you a place to express your joy, pain, frustration, and fear. As children’s author Anne Broyles notes, journaling, “…frees us to explore the rooms hidden in our hearts, making meaning of our lives… and (of) how God is at work in all aspects of our lives.”

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Journaling is meant to be a gratifying experience and an effective tool for emotional and spiritual growth.Principles of Effective Journaling
1. Be spontaneous and refrain from self-judgment. Write quickly and be honest about what you really feel, want, and believe.
2. Write deeply about what is most important to you and explore the larger context. What you write is not meant to be objective truth. It is simply your way of looking at the moment and working toward understanding it in a larger context.
3. Don’t worry about your grammar or spelling. Your journal is for your eyes only unless you choose to share.
4. Express your emotions and how you feel physically. Journaling can sometimes bring tears. Let them fall.
5. Write farewells to people, places, things, and activities that are no longer part of your life. This is part of the healing process.Journal Starters
1. My biggest struggle right now is…
2. The thing I most fear is…
3. The thing that keeps me from moving on is…
4. I smelled a smell, saw a sight, or heard a song today that reminded me of…
5. Part of the past that keeps haunting me is…Testimonial
I suffered from an emotional wound that took 15 years to heal. My best friend from elementary school, Shelby, and I did everything together and in high school, we joined the yearbook staff together. We critiqued each other’s work, attended workshops together, and filled in when the other was out. I, and the rest of the yearbook staff, was certain that Shelby and I would be named co-editors for the next year, our senior year. The last week of school is generally torturous because students are eager to start vacation, but it was even more agonizing as I waited to learn who would be named editor for the upcoming year.With bated breath, I waited for the yearbook advisor to announce that Shelby and I would be co-editors. The announcement never came. Instead, without ever making eye contact, the advisor pronounced that Shelby alone would be editor. My emotions were a murky mess. I was hurt, sad, angry, disappointed, and confused. I spoke to the advisor after class and she said my writing skills were lacking. This threw me for a loop considering that I had been a staff writer for two years and had only received compliments. I ended my friendship with Shelby after I learned that she had slandered my reputation to the advisor in order to become editor and I stopped writing.

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This bad experience haunted me for 15 years. After journaling, I realized that I was angry, not because I wasn’t named editor, but because someone I had trusted had deceived me. Journaling about this hurtful experience helped me to explore and release the emotions involved. Through journaling, I was able to forgive Shelby and my former advisor. By this forgiveness, I was also able to heal myself and restore my passion for writing.To quote speaker/educator Christina Baldwin, “Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”

Why Keep a Journal?

Here are just a few of the many advantages and benefits.Whether you write a few lines or a couple of pages, only through journaling do you record and track both the events and the emotions you felt during your life. Let’s face it, you can only remember so much and you forget so much more. With your journal or diary, you can actually see what you were thinking at that moment in time because your thoughts and experiences are right there to jog your memory. When you commit to writing down the events and your emotional feelings, you have put your thoughts, emotions and experiences into a solid reference form… something that will tell your generations to come who you really were and how you felt.Below are some more examples of the benefits of keeping a journal.Journaling reduces stress – Journaling is a proven outlet for the thing in life that cause us stress. The true benefit of getting it all out of us and onto our stationery is that of reducing the stress. Once you’ve tried journaling life’s stressful events, you don’t carry as much with you on your shoulders or within you. It is on the paper stationery or in the digital computer stationeries. By journaling, you give yourself a very powerful form of self-expression, and you’ll find that it’s through that expression you find clarity, release, and your calm.

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Journaling to set goals and problem resolutions – As humans, it is only as we put our words on stationery paper in physical form that we begin to finally see and to better understand what it is that we truly want. Then, and only then, do we see what is most important to us, and how we really feel about things in our lives. Journaling is one method to help us do that. Once you can get your thoughts, ideas and plans down on paper, it’s easy to create your goals and find the resolutions to your problems at hand. Then, it’s simple to support what you are thinking by writing about what you need to do.Journaling to organize our messy lives – We talked above about journaling your goals and putting in writing what you want to accomplish for the day, the month, the year, or within your lifetime. This is also an excellent tool to help you get all those things done. Simply create a personal checklist on a clean page of “things to do.” Be sure and place deadlines next to them… it helps us accomplish more with less wasted time.Journaling helps keep our focus – You’ll find that the act of writing in a journal creates more personal awareness of both our feelings and everything we have going on around us. This increased awareness is what keeps your focus on the issues and tasks that are most important to you.Journaling as a time for just you – Spending time that you set aside for yourself to journal is quality ME TIME! Everyone needs a little time to themselves, especially busy moms and dads. Taking just a few minutes a day to add to your journal can make you feel better by gaining the benefit you feel from doing something specifically for yourself.The simple journaling process:You can start your journal on any day of the year, it doesn’t have to be the beginning of the week either. Journaling is something you can start today – the sooner you start, the fewer the memories and emotions you have to lose. You can always stop tomorrow and pick up again next week or next year. You can start and stop as often as you want. You can skip a day at any time… It is your journal. But, it takes 21 to 30 days to make a habit, so you may want to block off just 10 minutes each day, maybe just before bed, for the next month and commit to recording your daily thoughts and feelings.Journal entries should record the day, date and year, tracking your life. When keeping your personal journal, you’ll want to record as many of your experiences, dreams, ideas, desires, thoughts and more each day as you can find the words for. You’ll find it’s a great tool for reflecting on now, as well as in the future. You are telling your life’s story to yourself. Don’t miss any of the good stuff 😉

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You’ll soon find that your journal has become one of your most treasured keepsakes. Just add a few photos and you know have a written life’s story scrapbook. After all, your journal is a catalog of your memories and feelings. Over not too much time, your memories become an irreplaceable treasure trove that can be passed on years from now, if you wish, to your children or others you want to know who you truly are.Don’t forget that Journals are also great gifts for friends, and especially for close family. So, if you’ve never journaled before, consider starting. If you have journaled, but gave it up, look back on what you used to accomplish and consider starting a journal again. Even if your handwriting is no longer legible, digital stationery journals are the next best thing… and the digital stationery pages can be printed on your printer in as many copies as you need.