“I just need to talk to someone!” This is a phrase I am all too familiar with as I have struggled through life. If there was just someone who would care and would listen to my problems I might find help.
I thrive when I am able to talk through the thoughts in my head. I draw strength by expressing my ideas outside of my thoughts. My ideas find shape and enhancement in this manner. There are not many others who have time to listen, while I sort through my mess. The idea of having a weekly meeting with a counselor sounds amazing, except that is unrealistic in my life.
There is a solution besides hiring a full-time counselor.
You can become your own filter. You can express your thoughts and allow them a voice that enables you to hear and sort through the good and the bad. The practice I am referring to is daily journaling.
Journaling works, because it is an outlet for negative and positive emotions. It relieves stress by freeing the mind of clutter. Journaling is an excellent way to clear your mind of excess thoughts and find clarity. Journaling is the way to be your own personal therapist.
4 ways to make journaling a successful part of your life
1. Choose a time.
Are you an early riser or a night owl? While I encourage early mornings, especially for those who work and have children, you know yourself better choose the time that is best for you. The two best times are early morning or before bedtime.
It is best to have a set time. Something that is done sporadically is not a habit and it is not going to be as helpful.
2. Choose a method.
There are different methods for journaling. You can journal your thoughts in the form of writing in a personal diary. You can also use a recording program on your mobile phone or computer and record and audible journal.
3. Choose the amount of time.
There really is no right or wrong answer to this point. The amount of time used needs to be tailored to fit your life. How much time do you have? What are your responsibilities? What other priorities do you have during the same time frame? Do you read the Bible, a devotional or other literature in this same time? Start somewhere simple. I suggest half a written page for beginners or three to five minutes for audio.
4. Choose the appropriate tools
This is a crucial point. It is vital to successfully implementing this habit that you like the tools and that they are easy to use. Is the book easy to access? Is it sturdy and built to last? Is the paper pleasant to the touch or irritating?
I know this point may seem odd and you may choose a plain notebook which is great if that works best for you. It needs to be a decision you make and know you can tolerate and enjoy. I know from experience if I do not like the tools, paper, pen, etc. I will not use them every day. Even if they are fancy or expensive.
My preferred method of journaling is writing out my prayers in the morning. This has tremendously boosted my prayer life. It helps me clearly speak to God in ways I had never before taken time. At the end of journaling my prayers, I feel so much closer to God, like I had connected. I could say the things I always wanted to say, but usually never reached.
Journaling my prayers has helped my relationship with God and clarity in my mind. I highly recommend journaling. It has been a life saver for my prayer life and thought life.
Question: How has (or could) journaling been beneficial to you in your journey, in life?