Write your way to clarity
I personally never kept a diary or a journal EVER when I was younger. In fact, the only time I wrote in a journal at all was at the start of our trip around the world in 2006. I had set out to write every day of the year-long adventure, but only lasted the first two weeks!
That was until exactly this time last year.
When I started using my notebook as a form of therapy to work through the effects of burnout, overwhelm and anxiety, my mindset started to change. From the scribbling of ideas and random thoughts to making grand plans. From writing things that I wanted to shout from the rooftops to expressing feelings that will never leave the crisp white pages.
There have been many studies and much research on the positive effects of writing and journaling (including increased productivity and memory retention by simply taking notes by hand instead of digitally), but I'm going to share with you, 5 benefits that I have personally gained (and continue to do so) which have had a positive impact on my life, on my productivity and my business success.
1. Mental clarity and reducing stress
in some of my most confused and anxious moments, through the simple process of just writing it all down, had a huge effect on achieving a clearer mind and getting into a more positive headspace. Things that we’re too hard to express or articulate verbally seemed somehow easier to write down and I felt a sense of relief and a reduction in stress.
2. New habits
When I started making a habit of journaling, this is when I really started to see results. By forming a habit around it, I was able to maintain it and be consistent. My morning routine of getting up early, going to the gym and then sitting with a coffee and my journal became my ‘me time’. These days, I journal when I feel the urge or need, or have sparks of inspiration and ideas.
3. Better sleep
I usually journal in the morning, but on occasions when I am struggling to switch off and sleep at night, I will grab my journal which is usually not too far from my side, and I write down whatever is on my mind. I don’t know the exact science behind it, but there is somehow an immediate release of tension that follows after getting my to-do-list or circling thoughts out of my head and onto paper before I sleep.
4. Connecting the dots
When I look back on my journaling and notes over the past year, it’s amazing to see how things - thoughts, feelings, and ideas - are connected, without even realising it at the time. There are parts of my journal which are so awakening to the reasons behind why I have particular goals or ambitions, why I have a sense of purpose and fulfillment, that its almost this feeling of enlightenment and realisation around all the dots (events, opportunities, successes, failures) that are now being connected.
5. Achieving more
Without a doubt, I attribute writing down my goals and ideas to the success of actually getting stuff done and taking action. Similarly to when you tell someone verbally that you are going to do something and you feel accountable for that action, the same is true for when you write it down.
In a study conducted by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Gail Matthews, she found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.
So if you are struggling with all or some of the following:
Not feeling productive
Not achieving your goals
Feeling stuck into taking action or moving forward
Having a hard time dealing with your thoughts or emotions
Then I would like to invite you to go and grab a fresh new notepad or journal (it doesn't need to be fancy or expensive - I prefer a small A5, a softcover journal with plain pages) and Just. Start. Writing. If it's easier, pick a consistent time of day to sit down with a tea or coffee, or just write when the urge takes you.
It doesn't matter what the words say, how articulate you are, how messy your scribble is. You are not writing Shakespeare and no-one ever has to see inside the cover.
Let the words flow…
Thank you for reading