The power of Journaling…

by Contributor 0

For me, there is something powerful and wonderful about regularly and consistently putting your thoughts down on paper rather than having them interminably rattling around inside your head.

I began journaling in December 2017 after starting with a weekly writing group, an experience that I found to be highly challenging and uplifting in equal measure. But that is a story for another day.

After almost five years and 28 filled journals, I still enjoy the process and benefits of writing daily and am delighted to share my thoughts here.

So, at different times my journals provide me with:

  • A valuable resource of ideas for future posts and articles; they give me a sense of building something that has value
  • Brilliant place to dump worries, concerns and anxieties until I can review them properly
  • A place to play with ideas and different perspectives
  • A space to reflect on the day’s experiences. The highs and the lows
  • Measures of how far I have travelled. It can be fun to look back and see what was going through my head in certain situations
  • A place to order my thoughts, work things through and note down any plans
  • A safe place to explore, rant, swear and express myself fully; no one else has access to my journals
  • An excellent place to store the things that make me laugh
  • Space to say thank you and express gratitude
  • And more recently, the one area where I will write and follow through with my daily ‘to do’ list

Over time I have developed habits around keeping a journal. I like to write by hand, and it seems that there are some real benefits to writing this way, as outlined in Nancy Olson’s article: Three ways that handwriting with a pen positively affects your brain.

There is a flow to writing by hand, seeing my words emerge from the tip of my pen, and physically creating words on the page. There is something meditative about this process which I’m sure is positively contributing to my well-being and health.

I also prefer to write within the confines of a hardback notebook, A4 size with unlined paper. Writing in between lines irritates me and somehow gets in the way of my flow as far as I am concerned. I like a blank page upon which I can put whatever I want. I don’t do lines, which might have something to do with memories of school.

I used to journal late in the evenings, but that has shifted to late afternoon. I know others who write first thing in the morning. But I don’t think it matters as long as the timing works for you.

Neither am I too prescriptive about what I write. In the early days, I did not put myself under too much pressure to write in a certain way or about a specific topic. I was more interested in establishing a regular pattern that allowed my brain the time and space it needed to create and dream. I find journaling a fantastic technique for getting out of my own way.

And professionally, I use my journaling to:

  • Reflect on current reading and embed the learning
  • Set down quotes that lift and inspire
  • Set down and explore ideas and future possibilities
  • Track my learning and development. As a career coach, I encourage clients to do the same

The only thing that doesn’t go into my journal is my client notes – they are kept separate.

I’ve also made my journals as searchable as I can. Using A4 makes scanning the pages quicker and easier, especially if I circle or highlight topic headings. I number each page and date each entry I make. Post-it notes make brilliant bookmarks, especially as you can write on them to denote the topic you want to track.

If you can and want to write by hand, find a comfortable, smooth pen that fits you. I personally love the Uniball as it seems to glide across the paper and makes the physical act of writing both easy and a pleasure. That’s my preference but find what works for you.

And remember, your journal is for you, your thoughts, your dreams, and your reflections.


About the author: Janice Taylor, PGDip, MSc, BSc (Hons), is a Brighton-based Career Coach with a passion for promoting resilience in others. Her business Blue Sky Career Consulting, has been in existence since February 2000. Janice has never regretted her decision to set up her own business. She strongly values the ability of individuals to take ownership of their working lives and careers; with an acute awareness of her resilience, Janice has developed some expertise in helping people to maintain energy and focus in challenging times. Outside work, Janice’s interests include playing the piano and writing a collection of stories.

Website: www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/janicetaylor2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bluesky1001

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janicetaylor.bluesky/

 

This blog is repurposed from Careerresilience, one of three Janice manages, and you can read the original here: The power of Journaling