Keeping an account of matters via letters and diaries is a tradition which dates back to at least the 10th century, journalling (whether by letters or diaries) typically has two purposes: a record for posterity or a way to purge and release.
Scientific evidence indicates that when a person writes they access both aspects of their brain. The physical act of writing accesses our analytical and rational left brain as well as engages our creative, intuitive, feeling right brain.
By engaging both hemispheres we increase our innovation, which means we are able to transform and morph from situations yet too we are able to apply different methodology and solutions.
James Pennebaker, a professor at the University of Texas undertook over forty years of research as to how journalling helped the individual to process significant emotional experiences. His researched demonstrated that by spending 20 minutes per day journalling participants experienced significant improvements physically and mentally.
They indicated they were happier, more cheerful and hopeful and calmer. Months after the journalling sessions their blood pressure had lowered, immune function impressed and overall felt healthier. They also indicated their relationships had improved, their memory was better and were having more successes at work.
Journalling / writing allows us to step out from the problem and see it from another perspective. Thus creating distance which can bring perspective about a situation. Other benefits of journalling include:
- Let go Writing about our emotions, particularly painful emotions, helps release the potency of those feelings and the situation to which they are attached. Writing is the act of releasing what has often been bottled up and once in written form the subconscious mind no longer needs to keep playing it over and over.
- Clarification When we write we get in touch with our internal world what may play over in our mind now starts to get structure on paper. As we write we are able to filter through the noise in order to get to the key factors and/or answers.
- Self Realisation By regularly setting time aside to write your able to clear the “noise” and clear the path to be happy and confident. You gain clarity about people and/or situations and therefore able to make decisions which are best for your emotional well-being.
- Effective Problem Solving Problem solving is typically a left-brained activity where we use our logic and analytical skills, although for those who are right-brain orientated their emotions and imagination can override logic. Writing engages both hemispheres for a balanced approach to the problem, so the positive aspects from both the right and left hemisphere are applied, thus enabling us to create a sensible resolution to the situation.
There are two types of journalling we adhere to, one is to release what we are holding in, a sacred act which allows you authenticity without judgement, thus allowing for inner alignment. The other aspect of journalling is to take time for self acknowledgement.
Inner Alignment journalling can be a tool which you record what has happened in your day, along with any feelings or thoughts you wish to express. It is a private diary which does not need to be shared unless you wish to.
It is a widely used technique for assisting individuals to connect with emotions and feelings as well as uncovering the source of what has created those emotions and feelings, thus empowering the individual to taking better control.
Yet too it is a tool which assists in eliminating the chatter of our minds. The very act of writing is a releasing process, as the individual is expressing what is going on for them, rather than keeping it locked in, which often impacts on our physical. By writing we tend to sift and filter our thoughts, rather than let them take control of us.
By journalling we have better chance of accessing our own inner wisdom, to do what we know and feel is right for us, rather than speak with others who govern us by their own beliefs and values.
We also begin to learn about our own inner being, knowing who you are v’s who you want to be and enabling you to close the gap, bringing us closer to be our authentic self.
Self acknowledgement, or success journalling, albeit a simple technique, is not one which comes easily to most of us. Most people consider it egotistical or a self absorbed act, usually because society teaches us to raise others and make them feel better before ourselves.
Others simply do not consider the importance or benefits of self acknowledgement and therefore fail to make time for it. Top Leaders and philosophers advocate the may benefits of one appreciating their accomplishments of which include:
- Creation of a natural & ongoing momentum
- Increase of self confidence
- Satisfaction of what has been achieved
- A gauge as to whether you are on track with your goals
- Changes your focus to the positive which creates an organic drive
EXERCISE #1- Inner Alignment Journalling
Each morning before you get caught up in the flow of the day spend 20 minutes writing non stop. Don’t think, just write and let the topic naturally emerge. It can be about whatever comes to you in that moment and the topics can change, you just need to ensure that it is for a full 5 minutes without stopping.
There is no need to re-read or analyse what you are writing, as it is a dedicated time for you to be boundless with your thoughts, to be YOU and allow whatever is on your mind to be freed. It can be a list of things you need to do, it can be about an important meeting you have for the day, whatever comes to mind and to your pen.
EXERCISE #2 – Success Journalling
Either during the day or before you go to bed spend an additional 5-10 minutes listing all the achievements you have had during your day.
Remembering that many things constitute as successes and it is idea for you to record all of them, no matter how big or small.
What constitutes as an action worthy of recording are those actions you don’t usually take for example if you only drink three glasses of water and drink four that constitutes as a success. If you manage to start writing a report that you have been putting off, that constitutes as a success.
You may also want to record people, situations or things you are grateful for and the reasons your are grateful for them.
Whilst journalling is similar to keeping a diary, it is a freer form of writing. Journalling is a way to be reflective and to go deeper within for clarity. When you make time to journal, you make time for yourself particularly your inner self. Giving you a forum for your inner wisdom to reveal wise counsel, guidance and direction.