The Importance of Journaling

Have you ever had lunch with someone and they told you a statement you made in the past? Your initial reaction was, “I never said that”. And your friend says, “Uh… yes you did!” Only after they give you the context do you remember… oh yeah, I did say that. This happens to all of us and it is a great example of our unchecked thoughts. Whatever it was you said and didn’t remember was a thought that floated to the top of your mind and came out in a conversation. We have thousands of thoughts a day. In fact, we have thoughts that run simultaneously under the thoughts that we are aware of.

It is impossible to keep up with them all, but it is possible to grab ahold of the thoughts that are either growing weeds or growing flowers, in our minds. And that is what I want to talk to you about today.

Are you growing weeds? Or are you growing flowers? Journaling helps us figure that out.

With our lives so busy and getting busier all the time, much of what we have to do every day is on autopilot. This is how we end up at work, but don’t remember the drive. That is an example of being on autopilot. We were not made to do all the things we now do in a day. The only way we can get through it, is to turn autopilot on for the activities we know best.

This also means many of our thoughts during this time are on autopilot. Thoughts like:

“I am miserable.”

“I hate this job.”

Or even, “I hate myself.”

All these thoughts are running on autopilot all the time and journaling is one of the most effective ways to reign them in and correct them or recognize that you have some work to do. I once had a job where everyone was miserable. Or at least they said they were. Often. Before I knew it I was repeating this in my head too. I started looking for other jobs and I was dragging while in the office. Only with journaling did I realize I was not unhappy with my job. I was unhappy with the people and the mood of the office. Once I realized that I was not miserable on my job I was able to take real steps towards changing my entire attitude about having to report to that address every day. Without taking the time to find a quiet space and empty out some of the bags that I had been carrying in my mind, I don’t know that I would have figured that out.

We don’t have to repeat stories to ourselves. We don’t have to believe everything we think. We should be taking time for ourselves to be thoughtful and reflect on the statements that are floating around and contaminating our thoughts. Put it down on paper so you can deal with it. Writing it down makes it real. Writing it down forces you to acknowledge that the thought you have just documented came from your mind and you are not very proud of that thought.

When you replace the negative thoughts with more positive statements, or even with affirmations, you begin to pull the weeds and replace them with flowers. I often ask people to do this and they do it once or twice and come back and tell me it did not work. Give yourself some time, It really is like tending to a garden. Your mind needs water, and sunlight, and food (which are the positive thoughts). Your mind also need time for the new thoughts to take hold, begin to sprout and then grow. How long does it take? It is different for everyone, but it won’t be overnight. Old patterns need time to change into new patterns, but I see this happen all the time. I have seen it happen in me. And it can happen for you. This is the difference between beginning to live the life you want- the life you create- not just living the life you believe someone handed to you and you are now stuck with.

Read the next article and I will give you more tips on how to make pulling weeds and planting flowers your favorite new habit.