Benefits Of Journaling Plus Bullet Journal Ideas!

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Unclogging and decluttering are two basic concepts of journaling. What better way to organize the mind than writing all your senseless thoughts in one place? I journaled for a week to see how it affected my life and these were the unbelievably wholesome results.

1. Emotional Intelligence

Woman with eyes closed and dreadlocks.

Relaxed woman.

One of the first things that I noticed on my Journal-For-A-Week journey was that my emotional intelligence was improving daily. Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is the ability to recognize an emotion as you’re experiencing it. When I was writing down my thoughts I became aware that I was describing emotions that I didn’t even know I was experiencing. ‘Anger’ turned into ‘fear’, ‘anxiety’, and ‘jealousy’. ‘Happy’ turned into ‘love’, ‘gratitude’, ‘worthy’. 

By journaling, we begin the journey of self-awareness. What’s more is that by better understanding ourselves, we are intuitively better able to understand others – and how their needs differ from our own. Journaling helps our EQ which is the initial step to getting to know ourselves. 

2. Daily Recovery

I know this word is about to trigger some poor soul (or at least elicit an eye-roll) but it’s worth the mention: mindfulness. There’s a strong connection between journaling and mindfulness. This (somewhat on trend) practice helps us to process our daily activities and let’s our mind wonder to full capacity. Journaling facilitates this mental processing by letting our minds dig deeper than they usually do in the daily grind. 

But when it comes to daily recovery it’s not just about writing. At the end of the week I took the time to read over what I’d written and evaluate. It gave me the distance I needed to objectively understand the raw feelings I had originally penned. This not only gave me a new perspective and deeper understanding, but the opportunity to see where I needed to grow. To understand what aspects of my inner-self needed some extra care. 

3. Journaling For Clarity

Birds eye view of hands writing in diary next to croissant and coffee mug.

Woman journaling.

#3 is basically a knock-off of #2 but one invariably leads to another. By processing my day, I was able to have the mental clarity to understand myself. Journaling helps you to see with crystal clear clarity what belongs in your life (and what doesn’t). It’s a facilitator for self-awareness. Even though I only journaled for a week I now have a somewhat clearer picture of where I’m heading in life, understanding my core emotions and figuring out how to deal with certain situations. 

The thing that struck me most while I was journaling was how recurring themes suddenly displayed themselves across the pages. I could easily see where I needed to make changes, and the next step was to take the time to think about how I would do that. I had the clarity I needed to care for my inner-self and take the necessary steps for a happier me. It’s at times like these when it hits me that self-care is about so much more than just taking a bubble-bath. (Another pro of journaling: you can do it while you’re having a bubble bath).

4. Gratitude

"Thanks" sign being help up on greenery.

“Thanks” sign.

Journaling to me wasn’t just about writing what I had done that day. It was about letting out anything that I thought needed to be released. It was a freeing process. After the first few days I reread what I had written, and I was disappointed with myself. It just looked like a long list of complaints: whining about situations beyond my control and lashing out at my emotions. The truth is that journaling is so much more than that. It’s not just a space to ‘release’ (although we’ve mentioned how important that is too), it’s also a space to explore. 

So, I decided to utilize my new findings the next day. I wrote about my writing. I journaled about journaling. Then I embraced #3 and used my newfound clarity to channel some inner change. The next day I realized that only one small thing had changed in my writing that created a huge difference to my overall tone: gratitude. Journaling has a subtle way of shifting your mind towards the positive. I let myself write not only about my own negative experience but the situation as a whole. The good and the bad. And as I did this I realized that there was actually more good than bad! I just needed a little perspective. So, I put my pen down and took some grateful breaths. Life is complicated and unpredictable but gratitude makes sense of it. And that’s a benefit of keeping a journal that I learned in just one week! 

5. Achieving Goals

Birds eye view of hands writing in journal.

Achieve your goals.

Journaling is essentially the blueprint for your ambitions, goals, and dreams. It’s not just about the past but also the present and the future. This is just a step in the process of clarity that you gain from journaling. It’s a byproduct almost. You write in who you are, decipher it, and figure out where you’re going. By doing this daily you begin to form a mold of how these changes will happen. Over time they become ingrained into your consciousness, until they are no longer just goals but real, attainable aspirations. And once they’re achieved you’re able to see clearly in front of you (literally on the page) what the next step is. 

Writing down your goal’s signals to your brain “I think that this is important!” This then activates your mind to strive to achieve these goals. You’re essentially dictating to your mind what to care about. Priorities and values should not be passive. Dreams should be active. And with journaling you can lay them out for yourself. 

6. Health Benefits

The most surprising aspect of journaling was the numerous health benefits. I noticed that my anxiety levels were down – and that when I was anxious all I wanted to do was write it down and let it go. This outlet helped me to increase my focus in my day to day life and improve my mood overall.

These health benefits are mostly down to the fact that journaling allows you to make the connection between inner thinking and external events. It’s a therapy in its own right. It provides an opportunity for positive self-talk that most of us don’t let ourselves hear. Physically this manifests itself in a stronger immune system alongside healthier breathing and coping mechanisms. You’re able to release painful emotions and allow yourself to truly experience the meaningful moments in life. If that’s not the basis of self-care, I don’t know what is!

Bullet Journal Ideas

Meal Planning

One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to use your BuJo is to dedicate a couple pages to meal planning! Create a colorful chart or map to keep track of how you’re nourishing your body over the course of the week. If you feel like it does your body good, keep it up for a couple more pages.

Goal Page

Check in with yourself regularly to make sure you’re a goal-getter. Create a page in your BuJo dedicated to mapping out your goals – career, fitness, relationship, 5-year-plan – you name it, you can #goal it. Some people like committing to doing this monthly while others feel like an annual check-in does it. Find what works for you, and flow with it. You’ll create a beautiful bullet journal in no time.

Brain Dump

Another effective way to use your bullet journal is to dedicate a few pages to brain dumps. Stuck for bullet journal ideas? Brain dump it is! This literally means what it sounds like. Get all your swirling thoughts down on paper. Get everything out in the open by just penning it all down. This not only helps you to clear your mind but can often give you a game plan of what exactly is bothering you and how you’re going to deal with certain issues on your mind.

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time” Mina Murray

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