“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” – Mina Murray
For most of us, journaling is a creative hobby involving the penning down of memories and experiences in a diary. However, in reality, it can be much more profound. When employed in the right way, journaling is a powerful technique of self-reflection and improvement. Writing down one’s experiences is not only about recording what happened but exploring the phases of our personal growth. Mental health practitioners consider journaling to be an important therapy to unburden your mind and stay happy.
So, you may want to give journaling a try. The regular practice of noting down your experiences helps to work through difficult emotions and keep stress at bay. This practice comes with many benefits such as the following:
- Minimizes the daily stress level
- Simplifies the thinking process and redirects emotions in the right direction
- Allows exploration of your hidden emotions and effective navigation of feelings
- Helps in successful self-analysis
- Reduces negative emotions like sadness and anger as well as calms you down
- Helps in self-reflection and critical thinking
- Improves problem-solving skills
- Improves self-judgment, which in turn helps resolve disagreements and cultivate understanding
- Keeps you focused on your goals and helps to track improvement
When practiced in the right way, journaling can help you sail through tough times. Also, it is a very effective tool to come to terms with yourself and adopt a healthy perspective towards the outer world.
However, if you’re a skeptic who relies on evidence alone, science is there to back the benefits of journaling too.
What Science Says
According to an investigation on “the effect of journaling” by psychologists at the University of California, those who pen down their emotional experiences experience more activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex of their brain. This activity, in turn, helps to relax the senses, which calms the mind. As women are more expressive in nature than men, the latter were found to benefit much more from journaling. Also, writing by hand was found to be more relaxing than typing on the computer.
Apart from boosting your mood and improving your emotional well-being, writing out your feelings benefits your physical health as well. Mental fitness can help keep you energized and motivated, thereby encouraging you to take the necessary steps to heal your wounds and injuries faster. This, therefore, ensures the overall well-being.
Journal Prompts for Seeking Your Purpose
Writing in a journal also helps you to determine a sense of your being and the deeper purpose of your life. However, to make the most out of journaling, one needs to use the right prompts. Here are a few prompts to consider:
Prompt # 1: What makes you feel ideal?
To answer this question, be imaginative. Think of all the things you do regularly and jot down the ones you thoroughly enjoy. Here, it’s important to be realistic. To learn about your purpose, try to be as specific as possible. The more precise you are, the greater the clarity you will be able to attain.
- When I travel, I feel my life is ideal.
- When I help unprivileged children, I find my life to be ideal.
Try to list at least 10 things and then rank your answers according to their importance.
Prompt # 2: List the questions about which you are wondering
The flow of constant thoughts through your mind is a common phenomenon. Sit in a quiet place, gather all the questions you can’t stop thinking about and pen them down in a notebook.
Remember, these questions can reveal many things that can give your life a sense of purpose. While practicing this, try to avoid all negative thoughts and align your focus on the things you enjoy. Psychologists find these questions very effective in revealing your subconscious desires.
- How can I travel more often?
- What are my priorities?
- Am I happy with what I am doing?
Explore more about yourself with questions such as those listed above.
Prompt # 3: Chalk out your childhood wishes
Your childhood hobbies are very useful in describing your passions. Remembering what you loved the most is a wonderful journey. Did you like to paint or make sculptures in your childhood? Or did you like fixing any broken or damaged appliances in and around your home? Children are more imaginative and open-minded as they are free from all social responsibilities. This prompt helps you reconnect with your latent or deep-rooted wishes.
Prompt # 4: Learn about your unique qualities
Each and every human being is different and possesses some unique qualities. Determining these can effectively help a person to set an achievable goal.
- What are the qualities that make me stand out from others?
- Which activities can I perform effortlessly?
Such questions help you to understand the field where you can excel and give you a better perspective of yourself. While listing your qualities, keep things on the positive side. As you identify the qualities that make you special, note them down. Then, use these qualities to live your life to the fullest.
Prompt # 5: List the things you love about yourself
Self-love is important when it comes to exploring the motive of your life. It doesn’t matter what others think of you or how they judge you. If you are happy and fulfilled with your own doings, it is more than enough. Remember, happiness comes from within. People who define their goals based on other people’s thoughts fail to enjoy themselves in the true sense. Stop comparing your life with that of others and note down the things you enjoy the most. This activity can help you release all negative emotions and experience a sense of relief.
How to Exercise the Journaling Prompts
Pick all or a few of the prompts that resonate with you the most. Beginners could take 15 minutes and practice journaling. To challenge yourself more, sit for an hour and write more. For better results, try to answer each prompt twice, once consciously and the next time deliberately. Can you find any difference between the two?
Now, keeping a consistent theme, take the prompt a month later. Note if your answer has changed.
Keep repeating the process until you find the answer that makes you feel satisfied.
All said journaling goes beyond a mere penchant for writing. It is an effective means to vent your thoughts and emotions as well as put things in perspective. This, in turn, helps you find your true purpose in life and use it to your maximum advantage. Journaling, indeed, is a means to an end.
You might also like our Journaling 101 article.