What is Journaling and Why is it Important?

Four Things You Need to Know to Fill the Blank Journal Pages

What is journaling?

In its simplest form, journaling is recording daily life. So you can appreciate the benefits of this daily practice, try exploring intimate details residing in your mind. But how do you explore those details when a blank piece of paper is staring at you?

What is a journal?

Over the years, I’ve practiced journaling in a variety of forms—spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, leather-bound journals, and word documents. In the early 2000s, I discovered the “morning pages,” a method of journaling prescribed in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way.

In her book, Cameron encourages writers to write three pages longhand every morning in a journal. This process takes about 30 minutes. Cameron says, “Writing longhand helps you connect to yourself.”1 While it is faster to type daily thoughts on a word document, writing forces me to slow down and engage with each word and emotion. Surprisingly, the morning pages was a practice I kept for many years. While I kept my daily journaling habit, it morphed into my own creation.

Some mornings exploring my thoughts for a full 30 minutes is like creating a four-course dinner each night. My journaling time is limited, so I may only write in my journal for 10, 15, or 20 minutes, but I devote time to show up at the page each day for an allotted time. Obviously, we are all busy, so carve out a few minutes a day to get started.

What should I write in my journal?

For me, the pen has something to share each day, and the page is always listening. Writing helps me sprout new ideas, it helps with anxiety, and reminds me of all the things I am grateful for. Journaling is a healthy way to confront unhealthy emotions and situations.

In my journal each morning, I write a daily affirmation to get the words flowing onto the page, and some mornings I repeat the affirmation several times. Once I feel connected to the blank paper, I dive into my inner thoughts. Writing helps me confront issues I have with my job, my writing projects, my relationships, or my health. I practice journaling to share joy and excitement, celebrate wins, and bulldoze through tragic, humbling experiences.

Some of the issues I explore in my journal are painful, some are sublime, but each journal entry gives me access to emotions I may normally push to the side for another day.

What are the Benefits of Journaling?

According to Benjamin Hardy, PhD and bestselling author of Willpower Doesn’t Work, says there are several benefits to journaling. Keeping a diary

  • Optimizes creative potential
  • Accelerates ability to manifest goals
  • Creates a springboard for daily recovery
  • Generates clarity and congruence
  • Clears emotions
  • Ingrains your learning
  • Increases your gratitude
  • Unfolds the writer in you
  • Records life history
  • Heals relationships
  • Heals the past
  • Dignifies all events
  • Is honest, trusting, non-judgmental
  • Strengthens your sense of yourself
  • Balances and harmonizes
  • Recalls and reconstructs past events
  • Acts as your own counselor
  • Integrates peaks and valleys in life
  • Soothes troubled memories
  • Sees yourself as a larger, important, whole and connected being
  • Reveals and tracks patterns and cycles
  • Improves self-trust
  • Directs intention and discernment
  • Improves sensitivity
  • Interprets your symbols and dreams
  • Offers new perspectives
  • Brings things together
  • Shows relationships and wholeness instead of separation

Trust in the Journaling Habit

Embrace every blank piece of paper in your journal. Grab your favorite pen and notebook and start writing every day. Keeping a journal is more than recording thoughts, you’ll notice a shift in your thought patterns and witness goals, dreams, and a fresh perspective unfold before your eyes.

Sources:

thewhisperingpen

Nicole L. Czarnomski (zar-NOM-ski) is a marketing director by day and freelance writer by night. Her magazine bylines range from wheatgrass to whiskey to pet sitters. She usually writes with one or two cats on her lap and a hot cup of black coffee by her side. She is the author of the memoir “How Cancer Cured My Broken Soul,” the product of her nine-month battle with Stage 3 breast cancer. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading a memoir or psychological thriller or anything by Kristin Hannah. If there isn’t a book in her hand, she is bingeing on Netflix or painting, art journaling, singing karaoke (only at home) or woodworking with her husband.

3 thoughts on “What is Journaling and Why is it Important?

  1. From time to time I do journalling. Then I don’t have enough time, and I give it up. And when I get back to it, I always regret not having kept it up. Your excellent article reminds me of all the benefits of keeping a journal. Thank you for sharing. Cheers, Irina

    1. Hi Irina,
      Journaling does take time. I notice when I do it, I feel so much better, and often feel more creative. Some days, I only have five minutes of stuff to say and that’s okay. Let me know if you want to be included in a private online journaling group. I can send you an invite.
      Cheers to you!
      Nicole

      1. Thank you so much for the offer to join a journalling group. At this stage I wouldn’t be able to participate, too busy with my husband’s health issues.

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