It's not unusual for us to give our home a spring clean or much needed declutter. But what about our internal state? I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I often feel overwhelmed with emotional and mental clutter. Like I can't switch my mind off!
Unfortunately, this mental and emotional (and physical) clutter takes away my ability to think clearly and contributes to increased stress levels.
In my quest to thrive this year, I've taken up journaling, and I've found it incredibly fulfilling and a fantastic means of decluttering my "forever on" mind.
Let's be clear; I'm not talking about keeping a diary, and I don't jot down or narrate my day-to-day life details. Instead, a journal is a flexible, personal tool for reflection. You decide on its purpose (in my case, there are multiple), and you decide on the medium and frequency. If you aren't a fan of writing, your journal could be a series of drawings, paintings or even clippings from magazines.
Still uncertain? Let me share three reasons why I journal.
1. To blow off steam
I like to channel my strong emotions, such as anger, sadness or grief, into a more creative activity. I find my journal is a safe place to express my thoughts and feelings. Transferring my feelings into words helps me to understand better what I am feeling and why.
It also helps me gather these thoughts and script important conversations – before having them with those around me.
2. To improve mental clarity and focus
There is nothing like transferring a problem in your head onto a piece of paper. I find this helps me cope with all the noise in my mind, singling out one thought at a time. Seeing the "problem" on paper in black and white reduces my anxiety and combats rising stress levels.
I'm better able to prioritise and focus on one thought at a time.
3. A journey of greater insight and understanding
Journaling has been a journey of deeper insight and understanding of myself, and it's like a dialogue, but with myself. My journal is a bird's eye view of my life, and it provides me with the opportunity to self-reflect and find themes and patterns in my notes.
I love looking back at my entries from weeks, months and even years before. It shows me how much I've grown, what I've accomplished and most importantly, that the stressful, tough times do pass.