Monday, April 9, 2018

5 Reasons to Start a Journal

Hello, beautiful! Long time, no see...or write, if you want to get technical about it ;)

You might have noticed that it's been more than awhile since my last blog post. After ending a long-term relationship, I recently took some time for myself to practice self-care and get back into the dating scene.

In fact, that period of self-care is what inspired my latest blog post called 10 Reasons to Start a Journal! Following a particularly complicated hookup experience, I started journaling again after months of silence to help work myself through all my mixed emotions on the subject.

I'm a huge proponent of journaling as a way to get thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Realizing your thoughts on paper, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to get to know yourself and help yourself through tough decisions....but more on that later!

If you want to know all about why I love journaling so much, just keep scrolling - and don't forget to share the post on social media @haleymarieblog if it speaks to you :)

1. Journaling is like therapy.

I'm the kind of person who very much needs to use words to work her way through the experiences and thoughts in my head. That's why I'm a huge fan of talking things out with a friend or my therapist - but what happens when it's just you alone with your thoughts?

For me, that's where journaling comes in. Journaling is almost like having a non-judgmental third person - a therapist, even - to convey all of your deepest thoughts and emotions to. But unlike a human third party, you never have to worry about your journal gossiping or subtweeting about all your darkest secrets! 

2. Journaling helps you remember.

Pulling out my old journals from middle school is cringeworthy, to say the least - but TBH, at almost 20 years old, I'm happy I still kept some of the things I wrote during my childhood. Was my handwriting bad, and my story ideas worse? Yes, absolutely. Does looking back on my middle school crushes give me nausea? Of course. But am I still glad I remember all those moments, both good and bad, because I took the time to write them down? Hell freakin' yes! 

As an adult, nothing makes me happier than knowing that crucial moments like my first kiss or the moment I lost my virginity are written down for safekeeping. Even if I don't look at them for years, I'd love to be able to look back on them with my children or grandchildren and reflect on everything I've experienced and learned over my long lifetime. In a way, looking through old journals is the same as looking through a scrapbook of all your favorite memories - and I just can't get enough of it.

3. Journaling forces you to slow down.

I can't even count the number of times I've woken up in the morning and laid down in bed and wondered what the hell happened to all the time in-between. On crazy busy days, the whole day can literally flash before my eyes - and suddenly, like magic, I'm already one day older. 

That's the incredible thing about journaling: sitting down with a journal forces you to slow down and be mindful of the present moment. That way, on those crazy busy days, at least I get one chance to take time out of my schedule to be alone with my thoughts. It might be the only chance I get all day to sit down and reflect, but at least I get that moment through keeping my journal!

4. Journaling teaches you how to be alone.

As an ambivert (i.e. someone who has qualities of both an extravert and an introvert), going through a recent breakup really opened my eyes to how much I hate being alone. Because I have qualities of an introvert, retreating is usually my first instinct after something mind-boggling or heart-wrenching happens to me - but because I'm an extravert, being alone with those thoughts can drive me crazy to the point of sheer misery.

Since starting up my journal again, I'm proud to say that I have relearned how to be alone with my thoughts - and how to be okay with that! When you're someone who feeds off the energy of others (like me!), it can be tough to come home to an empty apartment. But thanks to journaling, those moments no longer feel aimless or sad. Instead, I see being alone as an opportunity to reconnect with myself and remember all the best parts of what it means to be me.

5. Journaling holds you accountable.

Last but not least, I'm a big believer of using journals not only to work through difficult emotions, but also to keep you on track for achieving your biggest, wildest dreams. Whenever I set a goal for myself, I like to write it down and outline the steps for achieving it in a notebook or journal so I can reflect on how far I've come down the line.

Keeping a journal for your goals is like having a buddy or coach built into your day at all times. After all, unlike a friend or trainer, your journal is always there for you to write down how many miles you ran or how many pages you read toward your goal. That way, you learn to hold yourself accountable instead of depending on others to do it for you. 

Would you consider starting a journal? LMK in the comments below!