I’ve always known that journaling could be a healthy habit to develop, but I never realized that it would have such a transformative impact on my life. The exercise of writing a few paragraphs each day about what’s on my mind is an outlet that helps reduce the power of negative emotions and thoughts while sparking creativity in my approach to each day. It’s become an essential way for me to stay connected to my inner self.
The Benefits of Journaling
Keeping a personal journal a daily in-depth analysis and evaluation of your experiences is a high-leverage activity that increases self-awareness and enhances all the endowments and the synergy among them.” — Stephen R.Covey
All sorts of evidence exists that suggests writing regularly can improve both your mental and physical health. In his review of the journaling app “Day One” on The Sweet Setup website, Shawn Blanc cites the following:
Based on dozens of various studies and reports conducted over the past 20 years, the online journaling and expressive writing website, My Therapy Journal, states that journaling “provides significant benefits to not only one’s psychological well being, but also one’s physical health and physiological functioning. Several researchers, for example, have shown that people who journal report having significantly less distress, feel less depressed, and have an overall better mood. Additionally, individuals also report that journaling changes the way they behave towards and around other people. Other studies have found that people who journal for extended periods of time (months) also report an increase in emotional well-being, a better day-to-day mood, and fewer symptoms of depression.”
My Personal Journaling Process
I either grab my MacBook Pro or my iPhone X with my foldable keyboard and stand. Then I find a quiet place where I won’t be disturbed, put headphones on and launch Spotify. I specifically choose music without any lyrics. My current favorite is the Cinematic Chillout playlist, a calming classical blend of film, television and video game soundtracks.
Next, I launch my absolute favorite app to write in… iA Writer. This is a distraction-free writing app for Mac OS and iOS that includes three wonderful features:
- Duospaced font
- Night Mode: full-screen black background
- Focus Mode: highlights the current sentence
Then I write. What do I write about? I write about the events of the day, what I’m looking forward to, what I’m grateful for, what I’m frustrated with or stressed about, or just any thoughts that are on my mind. Sometimes I just need to vent to myself and journaling becomes the perfect pressure-release valve for this.
After I craft my journal entry in iA Writer, I copy and paste the text into my favorite journaling app… Day One. This is an app for Mac OS and iOS that integrates photos, current location, weather data and more into each journal entry. Once my entry is in Day One, I’m done.
Some people swear by pen and paper. Others, like myself prefer to use digital tools. The point is to experiment and find the tools that make journaling something you’ll look forward to each and every day.
Make Journaling a Habit
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
Writing is thinking on paper.” – William Zinsser
I try to make it a point to write a journal entry every day. I’ve been far from perfect with this but I’m getting better as I make it more of a priority in my life. The bottom line is that when I’m journaling regularly, I’m more creative, I’m more in the moment, and my outlook on each day is far more positive. I encourage you to give it a try. Develop you’re own personal journaling practice and see if it starts to change your life like it’s changing mine.
Be sure to visit my resources page for a complete list of the creative tools I’m currently using.