You probably have at least one friend who always carries a journal with her.
When you have a conversation, she takes notes of important ideas and thoughts (and she actually uses them later).
She never forgets her appointments because she immediately puts them down on her calendar.
She has told you before how she journals in the morning, or how it calms her down to spend the evening alone with her notebook and a cup of tea — and she never misses an opportunity to brag about what a big part of her life this is.
And you just can’t get your head around it.
It sounds like so much work. You’ve tried it before, and you always ended up dropping the habit. “I’ve got better ways to spend my time”, you think.
However, you have probably noticed that this friend has a special glow to her. Somehow, she seems to have it together. She always seems unusually… happy.
And the truth is, it’s not a coincidence.
Countless successful and brilliant personalities such as Winston Churchill or Leonardo DaVinci had one common secret to remain calm and happy while leading lives that changed the world. You guessed it:
So how come such a simple practice can have such a huge impact on the well-being, happiness, and overall success of people who do it?
1. They Know What They Want (And How To Get There)
Regardless of what’s your journaling method of choice (using it to process emotions, bullet journaling to plan your life and work, or even randomly writing about whatever comes to your mind), the truth is that all of them give you one common, priceless opportunity:
Therefore, it often happens that habitual journalers who write about their lives start noticing useful patterns:
- “It seems that when I write that I had coffee, the morning after I usually feel anxious — perhaps I should work on quitting.”
- “Every time I meet with my friend Kelly I write how sad and discouraged I feel afterwards — it might be better to start hanging out more with people who inspire and uplift me.”
- “When was the last time I exercised? 2 weeks ago? That explains why my energy levels have been down — let’s get back on it!”
From this place of deep wisdom, they can actually set goals that make sense for them.
And because they usually write about (or even track) their progress, they often end up achieving them.
2. Unlike Most People, They Know Who They (Truly) Are
Perhaps even more important than knowing what you want, journaling gives you the opportunity to know who you are.
By taking time every day to stop and observe their inner world, people who journal every day can see details about themselves that most of us seem to miss: what makes them sad and what makes them laugh; their ups and downs and their past selves and how their hopes and dreams changed since a few months ago.
The act of writing down and thinking about your life is a mindfulness exercise, and it’s been proven that mindfulness improves your brain abilities, therefore allowing you to understand yourself better.
And then, take action to make your life happier.
3. They Keep Their Right Brain In Shape
In a world full of noise, automated routines and boring tasks, it can be challenging for us to get a chance exercise our right brain — the part that is responsible for creativity, self-expression and imagination — which is crucial if we want to live a happy and balanced life.
So how come this has anything to do with journaling?
First, when you journal — even if you are simply writing about your day — you are engaging your left brain. When the left brain is occupied, your right brain is able to wake up and fantasize, feel and dream.
But there is more: people who journal everyday often do it in a creative way.
Whether it’s drawing or doodling, dreaming about the future, planning, or even writing fiction, they allow their creative selves to come to life, and consequently learn how to bring their creativity into their everyday lives, relationships and important choices.
4. They Never Feel Lonely (And They Love Being Alone)
When you visit your journal every day, it becomes your safe refuge.
It becomes your friend.
A friend who doesn’t judge, and who’s always there to listen.
A friend who mirrors your words and thoughts back at you, and that helps you understand life at your own pace.
A friend who is always eager to hold space for your confessions, for your tears, for your brilliant ideas, for your wildest thoughts, for… your true self.
People who journal every day are making this relationship stronger. Just like having a drink with a good friend, they look forward for that sacred time of creating, venting, dreaming — and often of deep, spiritual learning.
When you spend that quiet time with your journal every day, not only do you get a best friend for life — you also re-learn how to become friends with yourself.
And that’s the first step towards true, long-lasting happiness.
5. They Don’t Make Mistakes (Instead, They Learn Lessons)
How many times have you disappointed yourself last week?
How many times have you broken your new diet, chose Netflix over working on exciting projects, failed to stand your ground when your boss asked you to work yet another extra day?
For people who journal every day, it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter because they know that tomorrow it yet another day.
They made a mistake, they cried over it, but then they proceeded to observe their emotions and brainstorm solutions.
And as the new day came, they started again.
They read what they wrote before with a pair of fresh eyes, and they understand how to learn from it.
Then they list how grateful they feel for all the good things that make all the the challenges seem harmless.
And finally, they write their new, exciting intentions for the new day, setting new goals that make them even more excited than the ones from yesterday.
And if they fail again… it doesn’t matter. Because the real pleasure is in becoming better and better every day, one step at a time.
6. They Are The Masters of Their Own Thoughts
Just had a great idea that could change the world? Write it down.
Caught yourself hiding from your true power based on someone else’s judgemental words? Take a note of it, and decide to act differently next time.
Want to feel empowered, energized and motivated tomorrow morning when you wake up? Put it on your journal.
Make it real. Tell your brain that it can happen. Take ownership of your thoughts and transform thoughts into actions.
This is what habitual journalers are doing every single day: they are changing the world around them simply by realizing their power to influence their own reality.
First, observe your thoughts. Then, learn how to tame your mind and use it to grow.
Next step, you will find yourself changing the world. Not only will you be happy, but you will also bring happiness to everyone around you.
Still Unsure If Journaling Is For You?
When you start making journaling a daily habit, you will see your life changing in all fields.
A journal is like a command center of your life — it keeps it all together, and therefore creates harmony and clarity.
I get it, it might seem daunting to start. However, there is one bulletproof way to make sure you don’t fail before you even begin:
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start by jotting down a few thoughts for 5 minutes a day. As time goes by, you will feel your brain begin to unlock, and without any pressure the practice will come naturally and effortlessly.
Within a few weeks, your whole life might be completely transformed.
Original content by Michal and Silvia at JournalSmarter.com. We are always happy to meet and collaborate with journalers who are also bloggers. If you would like to contribute a guest blog for Epica, let us know!