We are all very well familiar with diaries and most of us had one growing up, but journaling can be much more than just keeping a diary. It can be used to keep memories, to document and plan work progress, problem-solve, and to release stress.
At its core, the act of writing in a journal means recording experiences, ideas, or reflections regularly for private use. It offers a permanent record for posterity, and also a release for the one writing it.
Keeping the memories
Writing a journal can have multiple benefits - from documenting your life journey to better understanding who you are.
The idea of passing along your life experiences and teachings to the next generation is very appealing. Imagine if your grandmother or grandfather gifted you their diaries documenting their life and lessons learned. It would be a really powerful tool to have when coping with whatever life throws your way. Keeping a diary may also come in handy one day if you ever decide to write your memoir.
Writing down your experiences will help you reflect on your identity and your approach to life and planning. It will also help you better understand your own state of mind, but more on that a bit later.
Keeping track of your work
Besides keeping track of your personal life, journaling can be used to document your work progress, achievements and success. The key difference between a diary and a work journal is that the latter can be used to plan the day ahead by creating a list of tasks and goals. Once a task is completed it can be checked off. Doing so gives a clear picture of the work that has been done during the day.
To have an even better understanding, an end of the day evaluation on specific categories as productivity or wellbeing can provide further insight. Through time the self evaluation can unveil patterns and dynamics affecting your work that you might not have been aware of before.
A work journal also gives room for self reflection and provides the basis for your professional growth. In other words - it helps to make a clear distinction between being busy and being actually productive.
To know more about productivity from another perspective check our article about Hygge and work.
Keeping your mind
There are many benefits to journaling. One of them is improving mental health and it has been extensively researched. According to the University of Rochester’s Medical Center keeping a journal “helps establish order when your world feels like it’s in chaos.” A journal can provide a healthy outlet to deal with overwhelming emotion. It can help reduce anxiety, stress and cope with depression. Journaling helps prioritizing problems and fears, keeping track of symptoms and recognizing triggers and identifying negative thoughts and behaviours.
Writing about feelings and how they change according to different situations and environments helps gain the ability to better understand them and control them. Writing is the valve that releases all the tension building up inside.
Whether you're using it for personal or professional purposes, keeping a journal can really help you problem solve. Ideas and thoughts can be messy in your head but writing them down can give you clarity and help you go through different scenarios, solutions, and see the problem from a different perspective. Moreover, looking back at past entries can help you identify patterns and realize that you may have solved similar problems in the past.
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