3 Life Invigorating Benefits of Journaling
Many accomplished people throughout history kept a journal. Mark Twain, Thomas Jefferson, Ludwig van Beethoven, Anne Frank, Agatha Christie, Ronald Reagan kept regular journals. Daily journaling can make you mentally, and spiritually stronger and can help you grow a resilient life.
I have kept a journal for several years. Over the years, I migrated from long form free writing to shorter, more focused entries. In just under three years, I deployed for 13 months. My last deployment was the topic of recent post. Daily journal entries allowed me to do a personal inventory. I could see patterns (both positive and negative) and make regular course corrections based on what I wrote in my journal.
Everyone should keep a daily journal for mental and spiritual fitness. In this post, I concentrate on the why and how of keeping a journal.
There are three benefits of writing a daily journal for maintaining mental and spiritual fitness:
The first thing I do when writing in my journal is to consider the previous day. I consider what I accomplished and the lessons I learned that I need to apply.
- Yesterday’s action
- Yesterday’s lessons
Considering yesterday gives me a chance to bring closure to the previous day. I can empty my mind of what is left. There is power in capturing lessons learned. There might be things to avoid and things to do. By addressing these two points, I don’t have to hold on to the stuff of yesterday, and I don’t forget the lessons learned.
The second benefit of a daily journal is that it allows for reflection. It is common to go through life and never take time to reflect. Daily journal entries give time for reflection. Each day when I journal, I ask myself these questions:
- What am I thankful for right now?
The first question reminds me to be grateful. It is easy to get caught up in the difficulties of life. Writing out what I am thankful for reminds me of the importance of gratitude in the most difficult times of life.
- How am I feeling right now?
Many of us tend to bottle up negative emotions. There is power in answering a question such as “How am I feeling right now?” with honesty.
There are other things I record as well:
It is interesting to look back and see where I was when I wrote a particular entry.
These are the Most Important Things to get done during the day.
- Spiritual Reflection
Each day, I make it a practice to pray for a particular family member. This is where I record that prayer. And I record any reflections from my time reading the Bible.
- Nightly Reflection
I leave space to write out reflections from the day and to record my reading from today. I note whether I completed my most important task that day.
Keeping a daily journal points us toward clarity and leads us on the path toward resolution. Click To Tweet In her post at Lifehack.org, Briahna Johnson wrote that writing a daily journal helps us unearth what events and situations mean to us. She also points out that keeping a journal is cathartic in it can serve as a practice of releasing emotional baggage.
This is true in my life. When I wrote things in my journal, I was better able to keep a positive attitude and had a better outlook on life.
Michael Hyatt writes that “What happens is not as important as the meaning we assign to it. Journaling helps sort this out.”
In my line of work, keeping track of my mindset is essential to being able to be present for other people. By making journaling part of my daily routine, I can check my mindset and make necessary course corrections. The daily check of keeping a journal was important to my successful completion of my recent seven-month deployment. I commend to you the regular practice of journaling. The benefits of keeping a daily journal are Recollection, Reflection, and Resolution.
- What is keeping you from journaling?
- What steps will you take to develop a daily journal?
I’ve written a Reflection Guide to go along with this post which includes the journal template I use. If you will give me your email address, I’ll send you a free copy. It will be a help for you as you plan your own journaling journey.
I am a Christ-follower, husband to Vicki and father to Liahna & David. I serve in the Navy as an active duty Chaplain. In my work, I offer spiritual care and religious support to military members. I am a writer, an avid reader, enjoy staying fit and living an active lifestyle. Follow me on Twitter: @chapswoodard. I post once each week here at http://www.gregorywoodard.com.