By: Lauren Beth Kelly
Studies show that journaling can actually boost your productivity and well-being. But did you know that it can also help manage stress, enhance work performance, and even improve overall health? In fact, prominent figures including Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Leonardo Da Vinci, and even Maya Angelou all kept journals.
Although there are countless ways to journal, there are a few methods that can be used effectively, especially if you’re just starting out. Read on to learn about such methods and how journaling can benefit you!
Some forms of journaling can be nothing more than a series of non-judgmental stray thoughts, without any editing. While using this type of stream of consciousness method, try not to filter or censor your thoughts for grammatical errors. Here, the mind should automatically take on a more defined flow or theme. So be patient. Don’t force yourself to think.
In other cases, journals can be composed using more of a record or logging type of format. For example, athletes can keep track of daily workouts and accomplishments. Upon reflecting back on all the work you’ve done, confidence is gained for the big competition. With this journaling style, you might also indicate goals, both long and short term.
Journaling can also be composed using that of a diary format, where you include more structured entries. Here, I recommend recording the day and time of each entry. Begin by describing your current emotional state. You can then discuss any significant events and how your emotions relate to them. Conclude with a final remark and what your future plans are with respect to the event(s).
Other effective tools when journaling can include the use of a prompt. For example, write what comes to mind with the presentation of a word such as gratitude. Now, make a list of 10 or 15 things you feel grateful for each day.
Regardless of which method you choose, any type of journaling can also serve as a valuable therapeutic tool. For example, if you’re simply ranting, or using incomplete sentences with no particular structure, any mental rumination that is present can be released via being composed into subject matter.
If fact, there are even journaling apps for your computer. Journey, for example, works across several devices that include Android, Web, Mac, and Windows. It also allows syncing to update your entries on Google Drive. It exports to multiple formats and provides passport protection.
Many different types of journaling can be effective. However, there are ultimately no rules that dictate its form, structure, method, or purpose. You can even use it as an excuse to purchase a new notebook or planner. Or you might want to keep a word document. But the ultimate goal is to motivate you so that you can make journaling a routine practice.
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