A few years ago, I came across several books and articles that talked about the benefits of journaling. They suggested that keeping a gratitude journal could boost your happiness. they mentioned how journaling can help you heal, gain clarity and help your creativity. I thought, why not give it a try? Since then, I have found lots of uses for my digital journal. Here are six of them.
1. Setting and keeping track of my goals:
I often write about my goals in my journal and small steps that I can take to reach those goals. Sometimes when I’m feeling down about not accomplishing a goal by a certain date, I can look back and see that I’ve been making progress towards that goal. I do this a lot around the start of the new year. Some of those resolutions stick, but most don’t and will resurface the next year. One benefit of keeping track of your goals over time is that you can see how far you’ve come. I look back at what I’ve previously written and see so much change.
2. Working through feelings and healing from past experiences:
I’ve written a lot about things that have happened to me and how those experiences have or are currently impacting my life. This can help you gain clarity on some patterns you have or where your blocks are that keep you stuck in the same place. I’ve found that getting these feelings and thoughts out is a release. They are no longer going around and around in my head. Once the bad feelings or thoughts are out in the open so to speak, they aren’t as distressing. On a side note, unsent letters can be therapeutic. You can say everything you’ve ever wanted to without that person ever knowing.
3. Remembering the good times:
Journaling doesn’t have to always be about the negative. Often, I use it to remember good memories. I write these memories down in as much detail as I can as a way to keep that memory alive. My daughter is growing up so fast and I want to remember what it was like when she took her first steps, said her first word or tried something new for the first time. Sometimes I include photos with my entries. Maybe some day I will share some of them with her. I write about memories of my pets, trips, happy times during childhood, funny conversations I have with people etc. It can be anything really. If it would make you happy to read about that memory later, write about it.
4. Sparking creativity:
Sometimes I open a blank page and have a brainstorming session. This mostly relates to my blogging, but you can do this for any project. As a hobby, I do ceramics so occasionally I’ll make lists of things I’d like to try to make. Free writing is another great way to remember events, write stories or clear your mind. There are tons of resources for free writing prompts. Sunday Scribblings is one I’ve used, but it is no longer active.
5. Remembering and interpreting dreams:
Although dreams usually seem like a crazy bunch of events jumbled together, it can be interesting to try to interpret them. After keeping track of my dreams for several months, I discovered that many of my dreams had similar themes. I’ve also had repeats of the same dream that were slightly different. Although I don’t know what exactly is behind dream interpretations, it has been interesting to see what certain things that show up in my dreams could possibly mean. Sometimes the dream meanings are relatable and other times they make no sense so it could be completely coincidental, but it is one way to explore some of those issues that are below the surface. there are lots of books on this topic or websites like Dream Moods.com.
If I’ve had a bad day or can think of nothing else to write about, I make a list of what I’m grateful for. It helps put things into perspective.
There is so much you can get from journaling and there so many ways to journal. You could use anything from a plain notebook, a photo/art journal to an entirely digital journal. Even if you only write for five minutes a day, it can still help you. Here are a couple of books that I’ve used to get my journal started.