Journaling to a Better You: An Effective Tool for Self Reflection

Have you ever used journaling as a tool for self reflection? Journaling includes the practice of writing to explore your personal thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. Journaling can be an outlet for expression and a tool for organization. You can review previous journal entries to assess your growth and personal development.

Benefits of Journaling

Journaling can help us to fully explore our inner thoughts. Writing our feelings, plans, and actions in a journal allows us to craft and maintain our sense of self and to solidify our identity.

Research shows some of the benefits of journaling may include:

  • Improves cognitive functioning

  • Strengthens immune system response

  • Helps manage stress and anxiety

  • Helps to identify negative thoughts, emotions, and triggers

  • Aims to establish a new perspective on things that are happening in our daily life

How to Start Journaling

Just do it! We start journaling just by writing what comes to mind. You can meditate first to identify what you want to write about. Then, put the pen to the paper and get started. Buying journals that have different designs, quotes, and decorations can add excitement to your journaling experience. Journaling can be a part of your nightly routine to conclude the day or a part of your morning routine to get the day started. It is completely up to you how you would like to incorporate journaling in your life. Just get started!

Journaling Strategies & Topics

Your preference in journaling methods is up to you; just do what feels right! There are several effective strategies when developing journaling as a habit. Some journaling strategies include:

Gratitude Journal: A gratitude journal involves creating a list of the things for which you are thankful. This helps to create a positive outlook on the many aspects of your life. Remind yourself of the things in life that you can appreciate and this is a sure way to help boost mood.

Emotional Release: To express your emotions about past or current events, you can journal your thoughts and emotions. Also, explore the positive reframing options following an event that may have had a negative impact on you. Developing the perspective that things happen for you and not to you will help you to shift your mindset to allow you to propel forward. Releasing your emotions and thoughts, clarifying your outlook, and then identifying the positives can help to empower you along your journey to self-empowerment and enlightenment.

Personal Planning: A journal can also be an effective tool to keep track and manage your finances, personal goals, fitness goals, career opportunities, and business endeavors. Writing down ideas can help to declutter your mind as you aim to achieve new goals. As a form of organizational development, you can check off tasks as you complete them.

Some journaling topics may include:

  • Generational Patterns

  • Love & Commitment

  • Law of Attraction

  • Spirituality

  • Affirmations

  • Health & Wellness

  • Career & Finance

  • Daily or Monthly Gratitude List

  • Weekly Reflection

Something to Remember While Journaling

Journaling doesn't have to be perfect. It is okay to not be too concerned with the readability of your work, the penmanship, or other factors that may hinder your self-expression through journaling. Journaling doesn't have to be daily or based on a consistent schedule; it can resume at any time.

Writing in your journal allows you to be completely honest with yourself. Try not to feel intimidated by your own thoughts; the purpose is to discover more about who you are and where you want to go. Some may be reluctant to relive negative experiences through writing about it, but it may be helpful to counteract any negative emotions with words regarding solutions and positive affirmations. Just write and you will surely discover something impactful. (Robinson, 2021).

Journaling Sessions and Clubs within the Community

Journaling doesn't always have to be done in solitude. It is not only an effective tool for self-reflection and personal development, journaling can also connect you with other individuals who are on a similar path of enlightenment. Journaling sessions or clubs include a group of individuals who meet regularly to critically evaluate a topic of discussion, to write about inner thoughts, and to reflect on experiences.

Write.It.Out with Dee is a virtual journaling platform created by Deuana Robinson. The platform uses the art of reflection to celebrate, ponder, and answer probing questions for our future. The aim is to heal emotional, mental, and negative generational patterns through self-reflection to gain useful insight towards a promising future. Write.It.Out with Dee was created during the height of the global pandemic, which provided a space for individuals to challenge their upbringing, question social norms, and have honest views regarding deep losses. Ultimately, this space leads to the overall question: Who am I deciding to become?

Reviews of the journaling sessions with Write.It.Out with Dee highlight the cultivating and inviting space which allowed participants to be creative, expressive, and to delve deep into their personal experiences. The guided questions within the sessions, the soft music, and the physical aspect of writing down various topics allowed for an impactful journaling experience.

Write.It.Out with Dee can be found as a group on Facebook and @writewdee on Instagram. To be more involved with the journaling sessions, feel free to email Write.It.Out with Dee also provides a volunteer event, Love for My Community Journaling Experience, where proceeds provide Baltimore City with essential gift bags. The volunteer event allows the opportunity to pour into others, while simultaneously self reflecting during the preparation and gifting experience (Robinson, 2021).

Self Reflection: The Hidden Gem of Journaling

A beautiful aspect of journaling is looking back on your thoughts and goals from the past to analyze and compare to where you are today and where you want to go. This is an opportunity to take pride in your development. Looking back at prior journal entries allows you to see how your mindset has changed and how you may now be reaching for even greater accomplishments. Journaling is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on your journey as you mold into a better you.

"I'm reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose."

-Kobe Bryant

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