How journaling could change your life: a new approach to your practice
There are so many different methods of journaling. Dream journaling, bullet journaling, gratitude journaling, etc… The list only goes on! However, today I will be going over one specific style that I have been doing for years; positivejournaling. We will be going over what is journaling, what is a positive journal, how to start journaling, and how it can change your life for the better.
What is journaling?
Journaling is the act of written documentation.
These documentations could consist of many things. A few being thoughts, past/present/current event(s), dreams, secrets, and so much more!
Typically a personal practice, it is a great way to slow down and sift through your thoughts constructively.
Many individuals also see it as a sort of meditation as it can send you into a calm and focused state of mind, reducing stress and anxiety.
What is positive journaling?
A positive journal (PJ) is essentially (you guessed it) a journal where you log the positive thoughts/events of the day! Or, mostly positive, that is.
Perhaps some of the most traditional journaling involves sitting down and writing down the negative things you have thought and experienced with the motive of getting it out of your system, using journaling as an outlet for the negativity.
Although this is helpful and has many benefits of its own when done correctly, positive journaling takes an alternative route.
How to start journaling: the positive way!
In PJ, my written structure usually looks something like this:
- Date, time, place, etc.
- A short summary of the most negative event I was dealt with that day. Try writing it out with more logic than emotion as this will help in reprocessing it in the next step.
- Actively thinking about said event and reprocessing it in a positive light.
Eg, Changing the perspective from ‘Today I had a huge fight with my partner and we both exchanged hurtful words.’ to ‘Today my partner and I fought, which meant we had to discuss something we had both been putting off for long enough. Now we had the opportunity to learn through it, growing together. I am so grateful to be with someone who is willing to regain control after a heated discussion and exercise open communication to avoid going through the same issue twice.’
- Once you have reprocessed the main negativity of the day, let’s move onto the good. Write down every single thing that happened to you that day that was good. Literally every single thing. Things as big as a promotion at work, to as small as a comforting hug or message you received from a friend. Write down everything you can possibly think of!
- End with an encouraging note from you to you. Sometimes, the most impactful words can come from yourself. Speak to yourself and say what you wish someone else would tell you. This is especially helpful for those who tend to deal with their problem independently. Sometimes you just have to give yourself that boost of encouragement/confidence that you won’t get externally!
I prefer to practice PJ in the evening so I can end my day on the most positive note possible. This helps in reducing stress, relaxing in the evening, and getting better quality sleep.
If you are like me and you thrive with routines/rituals, then you will love adding this to your nighttime routine!
How journaling could change your life
Now that we have gone over how to journal, let’s discuss why you should journal and the different ways it could change your life.
Here is a list of improvements in my life that I noticed shortly after taking up positive journaling.
Rewire your brain
Your brain has an amazing ability to change and adapt. Positive journaling is an extremely effective brain training method that will rewire your brain.
When you spend time each day resolving your main conflict of the day, it will eventually help you when processing difficult events in real-time as they are happening. The more time you spend on processing past negativity, the easier it will be to logically process currently occurring negativity!
You can also rewire the brain in regards to your perspectives. Many of us take on perspectives that occur via our default mode. When you can sit down and redirect a perspective and turn a negative thing into a positive thing, you are winning at life!
Taking control over your life in this sense will also make you think harder and more critically, which will increase your brain health and cognitive functions in return!
Journaling for reducing stress is a great natural remedy! When you go about your day, letting your thoughts go unchecked, it can leave you feeling rather stressed out and anxious, especially if you allow many days to go by before doing so.
Mental health 101: take time at least once a day to check in with yourself!
When we feel like we have resolved and moved past the day’s biggest obstacles, it will allow you to feel as though you have more control over your life. What is more stress/anxiety relieving than knowing you have your sh*t under control?
Reducing stress isn’t always easy, but it is possible. I have found over the years that this practice really allows me to get back on track consistently.
I never feel like I am behind on my mental health when I ensure to make time for myself every day.
Suffering is inevitable. I am not here to tell you that all of your problems will magically go away once you start PJ.
That is what I would refer to as toxic positivity. It is important to feel negative emotions, however, this kind of journal allows you to not dwell on them and in some cases healthily prevent them!
It is way too easy to get absorbed in the negativity around you. In the 2nd last section of my journal, where I write down everything I can think of that was good that day, I am directly counting my blessings.
Once I had been positive journaling for a while I realised I started to do that all day long! This really helped me keep myself aligned with the light that the world has to offer me and live more in the moment more fully. When you seek out all the good things you realise how much the good truly outweighs the bad.
This has been the #1 best self-help practice I have ever tried. Even after one or two sessions, you will see the benefits. You will also notice how special a ‘regular’ day actually is and how much great things happen during (what you thought was) a mundane day.
Every day is a gift if you have an open mind and heart. Life is a lot brighter when we can find a balance and focus on the bigger picture.