The first important question before diving deep into journaling is simple:
And there are a lot of reasons.
And it is essential to know them.
Because if you know in great detail what is possible with journaling in combination with ThinkGym method, only then you will pay attention to acquiring a journaling habit and practicing.
Before answering why to journal, let me quickly share my story.
I first discovered the power of journaling more than 7-8 years ago.
And I remembered somewhere 3 or 4 years ago,
I stopped doing any journaling …
…for a few months because, as I said to myself:
I had no time for it.
Life became even more complicated during that time.
So I felt lost and stressed…
Back then, I had a difficult time in my life, a lot of anxiety, and was running in circles.
I had no one around me who could listen to me or give me some outside advice.
I was feeling stuck, angry at myself and life.
I was feeling a need to change.
It was to such a degree that I even visited a local doctor to ask what to do.
Not even looking at any symptoms, he said:
“You have 2 options:
start controlling your thoughts and mental state,
or I can prescribe you some tranquilizers.”
No way!, I told myself I would put those chemicals 💊into my body.
And immediately, I remembered my forgotten journaling habit…
All this made me instinctively take a notebook I had near my hand and express all my thoughts, emotions, and anxiety I had on paper.
I didn’t know what I was doing.
I just felt it was the right thing to do. I wrote a few pages for one hour and went to sleep.
When I woke up, I had a new perspective on my situation, my mind was clear, and I felt calmer.
I looked at my writings and realized that part of my emotions and hardships are now on paper.
They are no longer in my head.
This made me realize a few essential things about writing my thoughts down:
After my first experience, I got a lot of intrinsic motivation and realized I could change my life.
Thanks, G-d I took journaling really seriously from that point in time.
I can tell you that returning to journaling helped me take my life back under control and get rid of worries and stress…
I started writing more regularly and trying different writing formats.
I found other exercises and tools.
Kept doing what worked and dropped what did not.
I figured out that keeping a journal makes my life more prosperous and profound.
More importantly, I started seeing different results in my daily life.
When I reflect on my past journals, I feel very proud of myself for how far I have gone relative to where I was when starting each of these journals.
As I discovered later, many successful people like Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Bill Gates, Nicola Tesla, and many others kept journals.
Success leaves clues.
People who succeed at the highest level do something different than everyone else.
And, of course, there are many reasons why all these great people were journaling.
And here are 6 of them.
The first reason for journaling is that if done right: you will find better support in yourself.
It is like you become your own coach and mentor.
You will not rely only on external sources of information but also tap into your inner wisdom and depth.
And this will make you a stronger person.
Much like talking to a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist, your journal can be a way for you to understand yourself better.
It can help you to track progress and move faster toward goals.
The second reason is it just works, brings results, and helps to solve problems and challenges.
Journaling helps you to organize your thinking.
When you put thoughts and ideas on paper, you make it easier for your mind to work on them because your mind gets more clarity.
Writing affords objectivity.
It makes it easier to understand yourself, others, and situations more accessible.
It helps to see creative solutions to challenges.
That happens because we see things more realistically when we put them on paper.
We are here and now, not in our minds coping with problems.
When you do this, you act like a scientist who tries to objectively see situations and solutions to problems.
This gives you a new perspective.
David attacked Goliaf with just a tiny stone and got his victory.
Maybe a slight change in your attitude or action plan can help you to solve your big problem.
And perhaps your problem is not so big when you accurately analyze it in your journal.
So let's take a small break from theory here.
Set the timer for 10 minutes.
Here is a small exercise: take a journal and write your problem or challenge in detail.
It can be about your relationship, business, money, health, study, or anything else.
Then reread it and analyze it carefully.
Think about some ideas on how you can solve this challenge.
Write down 3 such ideas.
Don’t think about format or grammar.
Just get it on paper.
Here is my example of a problem:
“I procrastinate writing every day for at least 500 words”.
Here are some of the ideas I wrote down to solve my challenge:
Great, now let's move to the following journaling benefits.
The third reason is that, as I mentioned in my story, journaling helped improve my mental well-being.
We live in times when life and society can stress us out.
Family and work responsibilities, increased information flow, and global adverse events like wars, epidemics, and recessions can make people worry and get stressed and depressed. Using self-reflection and emotional expression in our journals, we can let go of negative emotions, limiting beliefs and worries.
All this helps to stay grounded and have good mental health.
When your mind is healthy, it positively impacts your body.
This is the fourth reason why journaling is beneficial.
It helps strengthen the immune system and recovery time.
It can also help to normalize blood pressure and speed up wound healing in older adults. Studies show that people who journaled daily for 15 minutes reported fewer doctor visits and sick days.
The fifth reason is it helps you set and accomplish goals.
Dr. Gail Matthews found that people who write down their goals have a higher chance of achieving them when compared to those that don’t.
When you put your goals and plans on paper, you help your mind visualize them better.
It has such an effective influence on success because the mind works using imagination and visuals.
And lastly, journaling helps you to be an active learner.
As Confucius said: I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.
2 weeks after you read, you remember only 10-20% of the information.
If you hear it, you remember only 30% in 2 weeks, 40% if you saw it, 50% of what you write, 60-70% if you say it out loud, and 90% of things if you do them.
And journaling is reading, writing, thinking, and doing - all these things together.
Which makes it a powerful tool for learning and remembering.
There are lots more benefits and reasons why to journal...
Among them, journaling improves mental focus, helps capture good ideas, and records observations and reactions.
But you will discover more about these things in the following practical lessons and when you practice journaling on your own.