Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Self-awareness and the Power of Journaling


Week 3 of Gratitude Mojo, which is a hybrid journal/workbook with a gratitude foundation, opens with Clark Kegley’s thought:

"Journaling is (in my opinion) the number one thing 
you can do to shift into the higher version of yourself.” 

Google “journaling” and 59 million responses will pop up. Journaling is an “in thing, primarily because it is a powerful path into your inner world of emotions and thoughts. The urge to capture our life in words and images seems to be embedded in human nature, going back perhaps even to early cave paintings which may have been a form of recording life and dreams … i.e. journaling. In more modern times, journals began documenting accounting and public records, with the first known, truly modern diary being written by Samuel Pepys in 1660, when he recorded details of his life in London, including grand scenes from historic events like the Great Fire of 1666 and more intimate scenes such as quarrels with his wife.

Diary of Samuel Pepys

The therapeutic potential of reflective writing didn’t come into public awareness until the 1960s, when Dr. Ira Progoff, a psychologist in New York City, began offering workshops and classes in the use of what he called the Intensive Journal method. However, the latest boost in journaling popularity comes from neuroscience which continues to discover benefits of the process of building self-awareness through writing about our lives. As we write about our lives, our relationships, successes, failures, and fascinations, we are pulling back the curtain to see our inner world as it unfolds. 

Journaling gives us deeper insights into our thoughts, feelings, behavior and beliefs and can act as a brake on our reactions to those emotions and thoughts. Self-awareness of our inner world is considered a first step to change and growth

The education reformer John Dewey hits the nail on the head when he says;

"We do not learn from experience…

we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Journaling is a way to learn from our own life.

Travel Journal Dina Brodsky, New York City

No Rules ... But a few principles

A great aspect of journaling is that there is no such thing as “wrong." Few of us will ever be a Pepys or Da Vinci when it comes to journaling. And, as beautiful as art and travel journals are, thats not what we’re talking about here.
Effectively journaling for self-exploration and discovery has no “rules”; however, it does have a few simple principles:
Tell the Truth: The purpose is to reveal your deeper truths. Strive to be as honest as possible about all your thoughts and feelings, positive and negative.
Be Brief: This is not a memoir for someone else. Capture the high points of an event or memory but push into what it reveals about yourself, why it happened, and what you can take forward.
Ask Questions: Questions open up space, and if you give yourself some time with your journal, sometimes you will get amazing answers. 
Trust First Responses: Sometimes you’ll write something that makes no sense. Stay with it; write around it; let your mind flit about and see where it lands. Often it will surprise you with new wisdom.

Journaling is a way of taking your life seriously, capturing insights, preserving memories, exploring why things happen the way they do. That does not mean that journaling has to be a deadly serious chore ... have fun with it ... doodle, color outside the lines, brighten it up with stickers, photographs, images torn out of magazines ... make it YOURS!

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