Friday, January 20, 2017

6 Real Reasons to Keep a Daily Journal -- Living in Awareness

6 Real Reasons to Keep a Daily Journal -- Living in Awareness

Some of my readers may think that keeping a daily journal is what only little girls do, but don't be so quick to judge. I will try to convince you that keeping a daily journal is something that each one of us should do if we are seriously looking into changing the quality of our life.

There are mainly two reasons why I decided to bring this topic up and to share it with others. The first reason is that keeping a daily journal has tremendously changed me in a positive way in so many different areas of life. The second reason is that the majority of people out there underestimate the power of journaling. We tend to think that keeping a journal has no real practical implications to it, and therefore no use of having one. And even when we do understand the potential of journaling, we procrastinate and are simply too lazy make it happen.

We forget that life is a lot about movement and becoming better as we grow. We try out new things, become more experienced, and then we strive to become even better. This can concern relationships, sports, career or life in general. But because we are constantly bombarded with so many things, we tend to miss or forget the small successes and failures of life. And this is the reason why we make the same mistakes over and over, and not experience the progress that we were after. Simply put, we have nothing to compare our life to. We change, but because our memory is very limited, we remember only what we were, and we see what we have become. The process of changing, making mistakes, trial and error, is unfortunately left out.

Like I said, having a daily journal has changed me to the extent that I now feel obliged to preach to you about its effectiveness. Today, I want to share with you six examples where keeping a daily journal will bring you real, solid, legit and positive results!
Examples of effective daily journal keeping

1. Lucid dreaming

One of the longest periods of keeping a daily journal in my life was related to lucid dreaming.

For those of you that don't know, lucid dreaming is when you become fully or partially aware in your dreams, and you can basically do whatever you want. Remember the movie Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio? It's kinda like that, kinda.

When I was a little younger, I noticed that once in a while I am able to become aware in my dreams. It happened, but quite rarely. I decided to improve this and got myself a dream journal. Whenever I would wake up in the middle of the night, I would quickly write a few things from my latest dream into the journal, and in the morning I would try to recreate the whole dream based on the notes that I wrote. In the beginning, I could remember one dream partially. With time, I could remember one dream vividly, followed by two dreams, three dreams, etc.

As I wrote in my daily dream journal, my "dream memory" improved as well. Not only I could remember in color and detail a lot of the dreams that I had, becoming lucid in them was also fairly common. It happened about once a week or every two weeks.

Moreover, my dreams taught me a lot about life. When you experience dreams, you are not necessarily the same person that you are in real life. There is an infinite amount of roles that you play. And because of this, you are able to better understand the people around you. You have less prejudice towards others, and you can really step into the shoes of others. It is unfortunate so many of us never remember our dreams -- there is so much we can learn from them. A dream journal is extremely powerful here.

2. Relationship journal

Relationships are never perfect and easy. They require a lot of work from both people in order to satisfy each other's needs. Unfortunately, after years of being in one, certain aspects fade out and are forgotten. Sometimes this will lead to the inability to handle each other and eventually break up, and sometimes will require participating in couple therapy. Either way, the result is sad.

So, one way to avoid this is to live in awareness. Get a daily journal and write things down that you do together that you both enjoy or don't enjoy. Write down the things you have done or said that made your loved one happy or not so happy. Note down as many things as you can. As a result, you will be able to keep a healthy, romantic relationship for as long as you desire.

3. Meditation

If you have decided to properly meditate, don't expect to do it twice a week for 3 months and have spectacular results. No, meditation is something that you should do daily for the rest of your life, ideally. And just like with any other work or hobby, you will become better at it with time.

I have meditated with both, a journal and without. And while without a journal I still get to experience all of the positive effects, with a journal I was more aware of the things happening around me during and after meditation. Did I feel something special this time? How was it different from last time? Should I try to go deeper into that state the next time? -- these are some of the questions that I am more aware of when I have a journal. Without a daily journal, I can experience something, and forget about it the next day. With a journal, I am able to notice it every time it happens to me and to expand that feeling or state further. This also concerns the benefits of meditation outside of meditation sessions, when I eat or ride the bus, for example.

4. Workout

This is probably the most straight-forward example of why we should be keeping a journal.

In the gym, a very good indicator of your progress is the ability to pick heavier weights and/or do more reps. If you have only begun going to the gym, you most likely won't know what you are doing. A lot of walking around, checking out the machines, picking up random weights and exercising with them in a random sequence a random amount of times. Sound familiar?

So, unless you have been working out for a year or so and know what you are doing, it makes sense to keep a journal of what you do and when. This way not only you will avoid harm to your body due to heavy weights, but you will also be able to see the progress. As an example, if your body weight, as well as the weight that you are lifting, has stopped increasing, it is time to change something in your workout routine. If you don't keep track of your progress, it will take longer for you to notice this.

5. Stress reduction

As I have already discussed this in one of my previous posts about how to stop worrying, one way to approach the problem is to think about it rationally. Why am I stressed out? Can the problem be dealt with? Am I stressed out just because I am used to being stressed out in these situations, or is there a real problem?

One very effective way to handle this is to write down your emotions, fears and thoughts onto a piece of paper. By noting them, you are letting it out of your system, kind of like sharing it with someone else. Except not always people want to hear about our problems, which is why keeping a daily journal is crucial here. By writing them down, we become more aware and can better analyze them. I am sure you have all been in a situation where you were under so much stress that at a certain moment you couldn't even remember what caused it. In such a moment a diary will be your doctor and a best friend.

6. Work and business

Last but not least, it is good to keep a daily journal regarding work and business.

Maybe there are things happening to you at work that are especially important, and you would like to remember about them in the future. And in the case of a business, a journal can be a place to write down your plans, fears, strategies and overall progress. It is like bookkeeping, but instead of handling the money question, you are also being aware of your satisfaction towards what you do. What have I done particularly well in the last three months? What did I do poorly? What did I enjoy most? What should I change? . . .

Again, don't underestimate the power of this. Your work and/or your business is what earns you the bread and butter. The best possible approach is to make the least amount of mistakes. Both, regular job and business can be highly stressful, leaving many important aspects of it hidden. If you note these things down, you will be spending more time analyzing your next steps, as opposed to making quick and sometimes irrational decisions.

As you can see, I'm a big fan of writing things down. This is actually also one of the reasons why I have decided to make this blog, to keep track of my progress and to be able to share it with you.

I truly believe in the power of keeping a journal for a variety of things, and my experience with it just proves how powerful it is. I really hope that if you haven't begun one yet, that you would start one right now. The only obstacle to keeping a journal is your laziness or procrastination. But as soon as you overcome that, and begin writing everything down, you will see some very positive results and feedback. Trust me.

Posted by Shauna O'Dorothy

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