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5 reasons why you should keep a journal

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on February 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM


Throughout history mankind has been inspired to record the events of everyday life through both pictures and words, going back for as many as 12,000 years. This act of creating a written chronicle of life has been an important component of our development as a species and is still an important task for those of us who wish to grow in consciousness today.

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who ruled Rome from 161 to 180 AD, recorded his own thoughts in a 12-volume series of books entitled “Meditations,” which still exists today as an inspiration for many people. It is clear from his writing that Marcus found this type of journaling essential for his own guidance and self-improvement. Along those lines here are five benefits you can gain from regularly recording your thoughts and using your own writing as a foundation for your growth:

1. Create discipline. Choosing a regular time for journaling helps you establish a routine for the day and provides a focal point for scheduling your activities.

2. Ventilate your emotions. Writing about your frustrations and disappointments can be a very therapeutic method for releasing them in a safe and harmless manner. In your journal you can tell the story of events that upset you and write all of your negative judgments and blame toward others until you feel some relief from the intense emotions. That will free you to take a more rational look at the experience.

3. Organize your thoughts. Putting your thoughts into words every day helps you keep your thinking organized and also can lead you to recognize themes that arise through your writing. For example, you might discover that you frequently write about anger over being slighted by others and can begin to pay attention to that theme whenever it appears in your daily life.

4. Analyze your judgments. Once you recognize themes that are occurring on a regular basis you can begin to analyze your own thoughts and behavior and ask yourself deeper questions about your hidden motivations and agendas. This is an excellent means for delving into your own Shadow and shedding light on the parts of yourself that need to be healed.

5. Find a new perspective. By ventilating all your irrational emotions, organizing your thoughts and analyzing your own motivations in your journal you will eventually come to discover a new way of looking at the problem or situation you are writing about. From this new perspective you will gain insights into yourself and other people and find more peacefulness in your life. I

n his writings Marcus Aurelius states that “You have the power to strip away many superfluous troubles located wholly in your judgment, and to possess a large room for yourself embracing in thought the whole cosmos.” This I believe is the overall reason to keep a journal: to create a private “room” large enough for yourself to contemplate the entire Universe and consider your mortality.

Whether you write in a spiral notebook or a leather-bound volume or on paper napkins, the most important step is to just get started today. Write your life experiences, your thoughts, your emotions, your goals, your disappointments and sometimes just the silly nonsense that passes through your awareness. Be prepared for this powerful exercise to improve your self-awareness and expand your consciousness as you consider the vastness of the cosmos!

Categories: Spiritual Practice, Lifestyle, Transformation

Copyright ©2010 Karen Wyatt, MD

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