The Power Of Journaling
January 28, 2020
There is a very powerful quote attributed to Aristotle- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”
When my own Personal development became an agenda for me, I realized that I needed to develop some new tools , rituals and habits that would keep me focused and true to the path I was taking.
I started checking out what many Successful people did. Almost all of them had a habit of Journaling. Is that not something I could pick up? I spent a few weeks researching about Journaling and decided to adopt that as one of my key daily rituals.
What is Journaling ? It is a process of intentionally writing down a record of my thoughts , feelings, experiences and observations. For me, It also became a tool of self discovery. The process of writing something down helped me gain a deeper understanding of my own motivations, needs, and beliefs that were subconsciously at the root of my feelings and behavior. It is an extremely personal and intimate process where I write from a position of vulnerability being real and honest about everything I write.
Let me explain the power of Journaling through an analogy.
Imagine a computer that is used to process different activities using different applications- Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Live Streaming, Gaming, Video Conferencing etc. We open and run the applications, update the files , but do not close any of the applications or save the files. They are all running concurrently. What would happen to the processing power of the CPU ? it would be impaired. To restore the efficiency and speed of the CPU, we would ideally have to save the associated files and close the applications.
Our conscious mind is like the CPU of a Computer and the myriad conversations, meetings, emotions, actions, decisions we take everyday are like the multiple applications that are activated and running.
When I was not Journaling, my cognitive mind had the taxing job of processing each of the experiences and events consciously, all in the mind, for as long as they were within my conscious memory. There was no mechanism by which I could logically close the multiple applications that were engaging my mind consciously or running in the background within my awareness. They would all remain open, slowly building up stress and inefficiency both at a conscious and unconscious level.
With Journaling, my Cognitive mind was given a reprieve- the mere process of writing an account of a what my thoughts were saying about any experience, was like saving the file and closing the subconscious application logically. It was as if I was giving a closure to each of the open items by the act of writing it down and my mind was no longer engaged with those items.
Similar to meditation, Journaling has helped my become more present and conscious of my compulsive habits and actions. It has today become a powerful and transformative habit for me, helping me improve many aspects of my life.
Here are some of the benefits I have seen for myself
- Process all the negative emotions and help identify the limiting beliefs or fears fueling those negative emotions. This has helped me dramatically reduce the intensity of such emotions.
- Enhanced my focus significantly by reminding me of what really matters. I have been able to actively evaluate my priorities and identify areas of improvement.
- Helped me declutter my mind and Improved my critical thinking and creativity
- Cultivate empathy and compassion for others
Successful people leave a lot of clues for others to pick up. Journaling was one of the key clues I discovered and which is helping me solve some of the mysteries of my mind. Commit just 10 minutes every day for this process. I promise you, it will transform you, the same way it transformed me.
I will not get into the HOW TO of Journaling today. I will cover that as a separate post. In the meanwhile there is a host of material you can access through Google. You just have to make that little effort. It’s worth it.
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