Open, coil-bound journal with pen beside it, sitting on wooden desk next to cup of coffee with a biscuit on the saucer. Table is lit from natural light from a window. Image credit: time99lek (iStock).

Image by time99lek (iStock).

How to Develop Self-Awareness (Part 3): Journaling

When I was in my thirties, I saw a therapist for the first time. The reason I stepped into therapy was because of unbearable work stress I was experiencing. My therapist suggested that I use a journal to help me process my thoughts and feelings. With therapy and journaling, I cultivated greater self-awareness. I learned that the cause of my stress extended beyond my workplace and originated with my beliefs and behaviour patterns.

Journaling helps you become aware of why you think the thoughts you do.

Writing about your thoughts in a journal helps you question them. Specifically, handwriting in your journal helps your brain slow down enough to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. As Kristin Wong writes, “…writing by hand … increases activity in the brain’s motor cortex, an effect that’s similar to meditation. This explains why journaling can feel therapeutic and why it helps with mindfulness.”

“Journaling is a helpful and effective vessel for self reflection.” – Lisa Jeffs

Journaling is a mindful activity that helps you become aware of limiting beliefs and ineffective behaviours. The more you practice journaling, the more natural it becomes. When you habitually question your thinking in your journal, this habit extends to your everyday life, even when you don’t have your journal in front of you. Your new habit of awareness can help guide you as you move through life.

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” – Christina Baldwin

I feel I’ve developed sufficient self-awareness that I no longer need to see a therapist now. Taking some quiet time to reflect on my thoughts and feelings via journaling continues to nurture my mental health.

Do you journal?

Two stacks of store-bought and handmade journals, approximately 47 journals in total. Journals and image by Mona Benjamintz.

Twenty years’ worth of journals. Image and journals by Mona Benjamintz.

PS: I’m currently writing an eBook on How and Why to Journal. Subscribe to this blog for updates!

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