The word journal comes from the same root as the word diary, namely “day” or “of the day.” A journal is much like a diary, although it is thought that diaries are written in daily whereas journaling doesn’t occur as frequently. The oldest diaries come from theMiddle East and East Asian cultures, dating back to at least a millennium ago according to some estimates. Keeping a diary or a journal isn’t anything new, obviously. A thousand years later, many still attest to the power of journaling, myself included. Let me show you why journaling can be powerful.
Bird’s Eye View
If you’re trying to get somewhere new, it’s logical to consult a map (forget about GPS for the purposes of this analogy). However, a map won’t actually tell you where you are. But, by inferring where you might be on the map through matching roads, signs or landmarks, you can deduce where you are. When you figure out where you are, you then have choice around which path is best to take. A map will give you a bird’s eye view of the terrain. This bigger picture perspective helps you see beyond just your own path. As a result, this viewpoint can help you in a number of ways. First, it can give you confidence to continue the way you’re going, acting as a confirmation that you’re on the right path. It can also influence you to change your route, change your destination altogether, or even return to your point of origin. Where anxiety, hopelessness, or other negative emotions might set in while lost, knowing where you are gives you more choices. Through more choices, increased perspective allows better and more rational decisions to be made. Journaling is a lot like this.
The Power of Journaling
In essence, journaling allows you to take thoughts and feelings that are stirring in your mind and gives you some distance from them by putting them down. It is as if a blank piece of paper or computer screen begins to populate itself as you write, like a cartographer adding more and more detail to a map. Being less at the mercy of negative feelings and/or limiting thoughts, you can see things like you hadn’t seen them before. For instance, you may get new ideas, inspirations or notice an increase in motivation. Or you may reflect upon old ideas that you disregarded or resisted, seeing them with new eyes. Like being lost and finding your place on a map, these powerful effects open up many more possibilities, allowing life to unfold more purposefully, with more direction.
So, consider journaling if you’re not doing so already. Subscribe to my blog to receive updates and look out for Part II of this article: The Power of Journaling – Part II: techniques. I will introduce a few techniques you can use to get the most out of journaling. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how journaling has been powerful for you!