Woman have probably been accustomed to journaling during their adolescence. For guys however; journaling may be associated with something feminine since it involves getting in touch with one’s feelings. This post however is aimed at clarifying any myths about journaling by highlighting effective journaling exercises to aid in self-improvement.
Whether you realize it or not; the only way to self-improvement is through self-awareness. You can’t rectify a problem if you don’t know it exists. The key is once you are self-aware; you are able to break away from the subconscious script of doing things. At that very moment of awareness – you can let your conscious mind kick in so that you can change the way you respond to situations. This is why journaling plays an important role. It helps you create self-awareness by recapping on events that transpired throughout the day.
In essence, this means taking subconscious routines and analyzing them with the conscious mind. For e.g. if you journal about each day – you will start to realize trends in your behavior i.e. what you like about yourself and what needs changing. Maybe you don’t like the fact that you are a push over as all the events in your journal keep pointing out. Therefore you can train your mind to be aware of the circumstances when you exhibit this type of behavior. The next step would be to rehearse in your mind how you would handle such a situation differently for e.g. tell yourself that you will get used to saying “No” sometimes instead of always being a “Yes” person.
Hopefully you have been sold on the idea of journaling; so now it’s time to teach you some effective journaling exercises to aid you on your journey of brain rewiring and self-improvement.
Start A 30 Day Joy Journal
Are you happy? This answer will probably change if you were asked this question on different occasions. This is because emotions fluctuate based on circumstances. When we attend a funeral we feel sad and when it is our birthdays we feel happy. We experience a myriad of senses and emotions which is the wonderful part of being human. However, we all want to be happy no matter what life throws at us – but don’t know exactly how to trigger the emotion. It is usually through trial and error. This is when having a 30 day joy journal can do wonders.
This is one of the best journaling exercises to incorporate in your life because it allows you replicate moments that bring you happiness. The exercise involves writing down all the moments that in 30 days that brought you happiness. This could be in your career or your personal life. Pay attention to the types of triggers – your interactions, the skills you were using that made you feel good about yourself, the environment and what you were actually doing. At the end of the 30 days you will be able to group moments into common triggers. For e.g. you may have noted that you were happy while dominating a work meeting and also when you effectively lead a community initiative.
This may point out that positions of leadership where you make a difference makes you happy. The next step is to experiment with this insight and try out similar activities to determine if it evokes the same feeling of happiness. keep testing until you start to fill your days with activities that truly make you happy. During the exercise you could also note down moments or activities that had an opposite effect on you. You should then work at eliminating these things from your life. You may want to read: why and how to start decluttering your mind; to learn more about how to do this.
Start A Bucket List Journal
A bucket list journal is a great way to reaffirm your existence. The brain loves new and exciting experiences since it helps it evolve through the process of neuroplasticity. A bucket list journal is one of the best journaling exercises since it motivates you to keep working towards experiencing new things. It serves as a kind of positive pressure. Each time you see that journal sitting on your table – it will remind you that you have a duty to live. It’s also a great opportunity to reminisce about the good times. When doing this type of journaling – pay particular attention to the way you felt during that time. It’s about using words to fully describe your experience.
Start A Gratitude Journal
You may take what you have for granted…. Don’t blame yourself. Everyone does the same thing. Human nature is such that we tend to forget about how hard we fought to get something when we finally do get it. Instead we focus on what we don’t have and how horrible life is because people are smarter, richer or more good looking than us. This ungrateful mindset grows in our mind and before we know it – this perspective make us dissatisfied and unhappy. In this state; nothing makes us happy – there is always something better which we don’t have and need.
A gratitude journal is therefore a great exercise to highlight how fortunate you really are. In this journal, note down the things that you are grateful for. This could be the job you have, the friendships and family, the skills that make you unique. Keep building on this list and read over it as frequently as you can. You will then start to realize how fortunate you really are in comparison to others. It will also allow you to break away from the victim mentality where you feel that the world is only unfair to you and your problems are bigger than everyone else’s. The fact is we all have problems; and these problems may be common across a plethora of people. The difference is how we deal with our problems and the type of problems we are willing to deal with.
Journal The Most Historical Moments In Your Life
Pivotal moments in our lives are what defines us. These are the moments that transition us from children into adults, adults into wise adults or maybe adults into parents. These may also be the moments that change our path in life. For e.g. a visit with a monk may have shifted you from a path of material wealth to a path of spirituality. Understanding these moments and why they had an effect on you is part of self-discovery. The more you can understand who you are; the more meaningful your existence can be.
Now that we have established the impact of life changing moments on who you are – it is easy to see why these moments need to be documented. Refer to these historical moments when faced with tough decisions in your life. There may be hidden hindsight that will help you on your trajectory to success.
To conclude, these journaling exercises can be practiced by anyone. Journaling is a way to get in touch with your subconscious mind and bridge the gap between what we do instinctively and what we do consciously. And this all starts with self-awareness.
Are you ready to start your journaling routine. If so, comment below on your thoughts. We would love to hear from you.
To learn how to live life consciously and with a clear perspective; read this ultimate guide: A Mindful Approach To Self Actualization. It will clarify an misconceptions about the conscious and subconscious mind.