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How Journaling Can Improve Your Life

journalingAs a writer, I can appreciate the importance of keeping a journal. It helps me think of new things to write about. It helps me to figure out how I write best. And it helps me on the days when I’m suffering from writer’s block, because I can flip through it for ideas.

So how does this apply to self-improvement? Well, I think that using a journal can be useful to other people besides writers. After seeing how useful it’s been for me, I was thinking that there are other applications for it. A journal’s primary purpose, after all, is self-reflection, and through self-reflection we can become better people.

Here are a few ways you can use your journal as a self-reflective tool to live a better, more fulfilled life.

Create a List of Goals

A journal is a great place to keep a list of all the goals you have in life. You can split them up into categories that apply to your own personal and work situations: relationship goals, personal goals, job and career goals, and so on. From this list of goals, you will be able to create more concrete tasks, such as daily tasks, that will help you eventually reach these goals. Use your goal journal to reflect on how well you’ve done in striving to meet your goals and what else you can do to accomplish them. Create checkpoints where you evaluate your goals and then see if you need to adjust them based on unexpected changes in your life. A goal journal could be a great tool in keeping yourself centered and focused during your life.

Write Away Your Troubles

Another good use of a journal is to write about your troubles. Often, writing about your troubles is a great way to release tension and anxiety. You can write things in your journal that you probably wouldn’t be able to speak aloud to another person, and this can be extremely therapeutic. Also, in writing about your troubles, you might be able to stumble across some possible solutions! Yes, reflecting on your troubles forces you to perhaps again experience painful emotions, but in the long run it will be worth it.

Dream Journal

I know many people who keep a dream journal by their bedside, so that way they can immediately write down whatever they dreamed as soon as they wake up. A dream journal is a very creative way of clearing your head of last’s night’s sleep. This can be beneficial if you are a creative type; however, even if you’re not, it can be a useful way of preparing you for the day. As soon as you wake up, take five minutes to write whatever comes to mind. That way you’ll feel refreshed once you get out of bed; you can leave your dream behind you. Also, it’s sometimes incredibly interesting to reread dream journals a few months later. They can be inspiring.

Letter Box

You can turn your journal into a letter box. This means that each entry becomes a letter you write to someone in your life, whether that person is a close relative or love interest or a random person you encountered on the street. Write a letter or multiple letters to these people. Use the journal to tell them your secrets. Of course, you won’t actually send the letter. Instead, writing the letter and reflecting on your personal interactions with others could help you become more aware of how you fit in with other people. It could help you change your behavior and act more compassionately towards others. It could help you learn how to protect yourself from unwanted pain. Essentially, reflecting on relationships with others is what makes you human.

Daily Reflection

Finally, you could simply use your journal as a means of reflecting on your day. Right before you go to sleep, try to write in your journal about one good thing you experience and one bad thing you experienced. Then finish your entry by thinking about one thing you would like to do when you wake up. This simple, but effective way of going from one day to the next could really keep you living strong.

About Tara

This guest contribution was submitted by Tara Miller, who regularly writes for Psychology Degree. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to: miller.tara23@gmail.com.

4 Responses to “How Journaling Can Improve Your Life”

  1. Tara, thanks for writing this post. I started journaling more than 20 years ago. It’s helped me a great deal to focus my thoughts – remembering special events, thinking my way through problems, praying, and many other ways.

    • Of course, Paul. It was my pleasure! I’m a huge fan of journaling, obviously, so I’m always happy to talk about it.

  2. I used to journal daily when I was living alone in Miami Beach, 2008-2009. I was there working as a model and actor, so during the off-season there were amble opportunities. It greatly enhanced my life and spiritual growth. I really need to get back to it, but things are very different now–married, work, volunteering at church, family, busybusy. How to find the time and clarity of mind….

  3. Sorry, make that “ample” opportunities. My proof reader is at lunch. 😉

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