Writing helps us make sense of the world. Whether it’s somebody else’s or our own, the written word allows us to let go of our pressures and focus on the here and now. Keeping a journal is one of the easiest ways to come back to yourself, to understand who you are and what you want, no matter your circumstances.
Self-awareness is talked about a lot, mostly because we deeply need it in the blur of social media, heartbreak, and constant growing pains. Truly knowing who you are is precious, and journaling is the simplest path to do it. Now, simple and easy are two very different things, and facing yourself requires strength, courage, and consistency. The rewards you get, however, are well worth the effort.
Why should you keep a journal?
If you think you already know yourself through and through, trust us when we say that journaling can streamline your thoughts in a way you never imagined. There’s a reason why pretty much every historical figure, from Marie Curie to Bob Dylan, would religiously jot down their thoughts.
This goes to show that self-awareness leads to constantly developing your abilities, understanding your shortcomings, and overcoming them. Keeping a journal is a deeply personal practice and a form of self-care that helps you let go of anything and everything that doesn’t serve you. You can track your progress in all aspects of life, work on your goals, and develop your creativity.
You don’t need to be a writing wiz to keep a journal, all you need to have is the will to get to know yourself better. When you’re writing, you let go of control, allowing the words to pour out and map out your deepest desires and emotions.
Different Types of Journaling
There’s more than one way to keep a journal, and which one you pick depends on your preferences.
Sometimes, you just want to sit down and write whatever comes to you as it comes. The so-called stream-of-consciousness journaling is excellent for the moments when you’re overwhelmed by a situation or emotions and need some clarity.
Maybe you’ve got a goal you want to achieve, and you need some help to stay on track. If that’s the case, you can write a list of steps that will take you to your goal, and then journal regularly about your progress. This is where a custom weekly planner can come in handy – you have the space to be both organized and creative.
Journals with prompts are there to get you started when you’re not sure what to write about. These prompts will show you the way to self-awareness, simply by keeping your attention where you need it the most, yourself. They can lead you to inspiration, deep emotions, self-discovery, and reflection. Here are a few to get the idea:
- What do you like most about yourself? What do you want to improve?
- What is one change you can make to live better and feel more fulfilled?
- What is the best thing that happened to you today?
- What was the most intense feeling you experienced this week?
- What are you most grateful for?
The list is endless, the only limit is your imagination. You can also try your hand at bullet journaling, keeping a gratitude journal, or even a travel diary if you get the chance.
Benefits of Journaling
Many perks come with regular journaling, but self-awareness is by far the greatest one. Seeing yourself fully gives you a unique perspective of the world which can help you with every aspect of your life, be it love, work, school, or anything in between.
More often than not, there’s a conflict between who we are and who we’ve been told we are, and journaling helps us bridge that gap. Feeling and recognizing your emotions is the only way to grow and seeing them all on a piece of paper gives you invaluable insight.
Over time, journaling can show you the patterns in your behavior and thoughts, casting light on the areas of your life you might have not seen so clearly before.
Being mindful is a quality we could all use more of, and keeping a journal can be seen as a form of meditation. This means being in the present moment and letting go of the racing thoughts and problems for a little bit. When you do come back to your everyday tasks, you’ll feel calmer and more optimistic about life.
The list goes on… We could write a book on how journaling helps you gain self-awareness, but the truth is, you have to try it to fully understand. There’s no pressure or a time limit, there’s no “one right way” to do it, all you have to do is start and let your words guide you to the best version of yourself.