The benefits of journaling have come up often in the coaching courses I have been doing. It is seen to be such a good practice for us at this uncertain time in our history. So I asked a friend of mine, Kholofelo Zondo, who I consider an expert on the subject, to share some of her thoughts:
Journaling has been proven to be therapeutic and a great source for life management. It creates an environment for a paradigm shift, allowing the mind to open up to new ideas, dreams and possibilities.
Some of the benefits:
- Living Life Mindfully
Journaling forces you to stop and reflect on seemingly minor events. Being mindful in a journal might make it easier to become more mindful in the moment. During the process of writing about your day and your interactions with others, you may notice a number of different things, e.g.:
– Negative patterns repeating themselves in your thoughts and deeds.
– Problems in your personal relationships.
– Personal needs you haven’t been paying attention to.
– Alternative ways of responding to stress.
***When people write down their feelings they’re making themselves more aware of what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
- Establishing a Positive Mind-set
When you keep a journal, you have the power to fill it in any way you choose. Spending time to reflect on the small blessings in life can automatically move you from a negative and self-defeating mind-set into a more positive and proactive one.
In spite of negative circumstances, you can always find a positive attribute in a day. You rediscover your physical abilities, strong mental abilities, the power of self-forgiveness and more. You have another day to affect change in your life.
- Forming New Goals or Habits
The best part about using a journal for life goals is that this process can be entirely informal – a platform for bouncing ideas around and helping them take shape.
Habits are complex. They’re difficult to break when they’re bad, and they’re difficult to create when they’re good.
Through journaling one can list ones goals and the good habits one would like to create. When you write it down, you see it as a goal in progress. Bigger goals can become a list of habits to work on each day. Lists can be reviewed and used to help create better habits.
***Changing ones bad habits is not easy, but it can be done. When you notice patterns relating to your habits, you become more aware of yourself. It helps you make better decisions and change for the better.
Types of journals
One can keep more than one journal at a time, for different purposes. Some examples of different types of journals:
Think of it as a visual diary and a great creative outlet. The art may be in a form of drawing, cut-outs from magazines that are pasted in the journal, stickers or objects. The point of art journaling is not to make every page a masterpiece. This method of journaling is ideal for people who do not like writing or those who are illiterate.
Recording of dreams on a regular basis in a dream journal and keeping track of dream themes and patterns can provide an insight into ones most important thoughts and concerns in real life.
Sometimes, one might feel like ones prayers aren’t being answered. However, looking back a few pages helps one to keep the faith and continue praying. If there’s somebody one needs to pray for, one can make sure to write it down in the prayer journal so it is not forgotten.
Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal gives you better sleep, reduces stress and makes you happier. You could decide to write down five things that you’re grateful for every day.
It’s a great idea to document the project journey. Write down the different projects that you work on or that you would like to work on in the future.
Donald Whitney explains, “As a Christian, your journal is a place to record the works and ways of God in your life. Your journal also can include an account of daily events, a diary of personal relationships, a notebook of insights into Scripture, and a list of prayer requests. It is where spontaneous devotional thoughts or lengthy theological musings can be preserved.”
Not everybody finds it easy to write, especially if you haven’t been journaling before. To help with that one can use journaling prompts. The following are some prompts for devotional journaling: https://www.rzim.org/read/rzim-global/how-to-practice-the-spiritual-discipline-of-journaling-part-1
- Experiment with what is feasible for your daily or weekly schedule.
- Possible writing tools include a spiral notebook, a store-bought blank journal, loose-leaf notebook paper in a 3-ring binder, a laptop or an app on your phone.
- Date each entry.
- A journal is for your eyes only. Be honest.
Kholofelo (Sylvia) Zondo is married, and a busy mother of 4. She resigned after 19 years in the property law environment to be a present mom for her growing children and to turn a long term card making hobby into a business.
Staying at home also opened up time for personal Bible study and journaling. Her shop-bought journals filled up too quickly so she learnt how to bind her own books, which allowed her to personalise her journals. Soon, these drew interest from friends and so were added to her business offerings. The book binding service includes book repairs. You can contact her at 0832226517 or email@example.com