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5 Reasons to Start Journaling Today

Jun 11, 2020

I think it’s safe to say we’re all feeling more stressed than usual. There’s a disruption in normal routines and many of us are dealing with significant changes in work and home lives. Discussing social justice on a national platform can feel uncomfortable and perhaps painful. This is a great time to harness the power of a simple and powerful tool to help us move forward in a positive direction. Let’s talk about journaling. Yes, the simple exercise of taking pen to paper. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, this is a powerful tool. With over 20 years of practicing medicine and being a mom, I’ve experienced plenty of turbulence in my life. I have personally found journaling to be an amazingly effective tool for inner healing. Here are the simple instructions I learned from the Chopra Center – I give these instructions to my patients. Write down everything that happened to you that day – try to be detached but also address highly emotional events/issues. Write down 3 things you are grateful for and 3 intentions. Simply take pen to paper and let the magic happen. Still unsure? Let me give you 5 great reasons to start your journaling practice today.

1. Release Negative Thoughts. Our minds can be in hyperdrive when our bodies are pumping out stress hormones like cortisol. Humans have a tendency to focus on negative thoughts. Remember that time when you received 18 compliments on your work and ONE person was critical? What do you remember? Yes, the ONE critical comment. There’s a complex evolutionary pattern for this and we will save the explanation for a later time. But for now, we can look at just addressing the negative thought or emotion. You’ll notice just writing it down – bringing it into the light – makes it loose that potency it once had. Writing is a powerful way to discharge negative thoughts. Simply put what is no longer serving you down on paper and release it from you mind.

2. Unplug and Unwind. In our tech-dominated world, writing with a pen is a great way to spend time away from your devices. It is estimated that most of us spend more than 5 hours daily on our computers, phones or other electronics. That is more than a third of our waking hours. Journaling gives our brains a much-needed break from these devices. I know some people use apps to journal and while that is fine, I recommend finding yourself a simple little notebook or just plain paper and a juicy pen.

3. Reconnect to Gratitude. If you’ve had a gratitude practice, you already know how powerful this is. Studies on the science of gratitude consistently give good news: we see improved moods, increased inner joy and peace. We even find that grateful people help others feel grateful and joyful too. During every journaling exercise, remember to write down at least 3 reasons to be grateful today. Change them up daily. Try not to repeat the same 3 reasons and see how that shifts your mindset.

4. Find Your True Intentions. Intentions are different than goals. Intention is the general direction you want to travel in. Writing down intentions can create a powerful shift in your daily actions. There is a distinct difference between thinking about something and actually writing it down. Honing on what feels comfortable and right for you is a natural part of journaling. I know I’ve found my true north by journaling. We all want to move in the direction that feels most authentic to us.

5. Night-time Ritual. Sleep researchers teach us that we are more likely to slip into a restorative sleep when we have developed a bedtime routine – make writing part of that routine. Journal about your day, release negativity and enjoy restful sleep. This way, you can wake up ready to tackle your busy life the next morning. No need to carry today’s baggage into tomorrow. Start your journaling practice tonight. Watch how this simple yet powerful exercise can transform your life. Take just 10 minutes every evening to find yourself in a more refreshed, peaceful and grateful place. Best part? Zero negative side effects.

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