This article answers the question of “What can you journal about?”
Is anyone familiar with the saying, “Just write?” It resonates with many people who are just starting to journal and get stuck with the other familiar phrase, “I don’t know what to say…” This sentence, “Just write,” is often the mantra to help break the impasse of a creative block to help facilitate the start of many first journal entries. The power of journaling should not be underestimated, as journals give us a place to put down our thoughts and begin to make sense of them. Journals are also a place where thoughts can become organized and perhaps be seen in a different lens. Journaling is also a habit of almost every powerful leader and inspirational speaker throughout history. Just to name a few, from Barack Obama to Nelson Mandela and Sir Winston Churchill, they all journaled.
So, let’s break down the benefits of what journaling is and what it can do for you by using the 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why! This is the 2nd part of our 5 part series on The 5 W’s of Journaling: What.
In short, there is no specific formula for journaling.
There are an infinite variety of things that you can journal about, but the honest truth is to just let your stream of consciousness flow. A list of ideas could stem from allowing yourself to release emotions and/or stress that you may be experiencing. Writing about your emotions can also create a sort of purging that allows some closure on a thought by getting things out instead of keeping them all bottled up. If that seems like a lot to jump right into, a good place to start may begin with asking yourself a question such as “What am I feeling?” or “What do I want to focus on in my life?” No matter what gets you writing, all are great ways to start your journaling process.
A group of health professionals did a fun little exercise in their place of work by asking fellow coworkers what they get from journaling. A wide range of answers were returned, many being centered around the ability to express themselves and gain clarity by putting words to paper. Many people found that the biggest benefit of journaling was to allow them to look back on previous entries and reflect on their life events. Some others stated that they wrote to exercise their accountability, and the commitments they laid out for themselves. There was a common theme discovered that people found a release of emotions by partaking in journal entries resulting in a sense of accomplishment, joy, relief, and an overall sense of renewal.
So, “Just write”, because no matter what you put down no one is grading you. Journaling is a self-edited place where only you oversee what you have written and reflected. You are the author of your self-care, and how you to choose to write it can produce powerful results. The benefits of journaling are endless and may offer insights into your life that you have never experienced before or haven’t taken the time to reflect on just yet. The “What” of the 5 W’s is just a starting point for you but the most important lesson to learn is to pick up a pen, paper, and “Just write”!
Next up in our series is “The 5 W’s of Journaling is Part 3 – When”.