Whatever you're struggling with in your perfectly imperfect life right now, there is an activity that can lower your stress levels and your frustration while helping you figure out a solution to your struggle...

It's a simple, yet effective strategy that will help you figure out your problems and solve the dilemmas that face us every day, week, and month of our lives. What is it? 

Journaling!

If you're not convinced - perhaps you've never established a journaling habit, or if you had one in the past, you've let it lapse - then keep reading to find five important reasons why writing in a personal journal can help you conquer challenges and overcome thorny problems.

Important Reasons to Journal #1: Provide Yourself Space to Truly Think, Not Just React

The very act of writing in a physical journal longhand versus on a tablet or computer requires you to become laser-focused on one thing at a time. You really can't write effectively (or even neatly) when you're trying to do three other things and your focus is split.

The mental "noise" that blocks your ability to think straight is dampened when you journal - the act of sitting still for 15 - 20 minutes and writing about what's bothering you, what's making you happy, and everything in between can be enough to help you get to the crux of the matter.

Focusing the power of your mind on one challenge or conundrum at a time gives you access to bountiful resources that simply aren't available when your focus is split. If you've ever described yourself as a multi-tasker (I know I have) you should also realize that when you're multi-tasking, no one task gets your complete attention, and therefore, it gets a sub-optimal effort toward solving the puzzle.

A mind free of distraction allows you to focus your thoughts as well as your emotions and your psyche on the task at hand, putting all your considerable mental energy toward solving the challenge. The human mind is a wonderful engine, and the more you focus its power and its strength, the more rapidly and completely the wall of your challenges will be knocked down and moved aside.

Important Reasons to Journal #2:  Organizing those Chaotic, Busy Thoughts Toward a Solution

Writing down your thoughts and exploring your emotions around a specific issue in a journal entry helps to take chaotic, jumbled, busy thoughts and ideas into a more organized form - empowering you to organize them into a cohesive, related group that makes a lot more sense.

Even if your writing is not perfectly organized, re-reading what you've written can help organize your thoughts even more than your initial efforts accomplished. There is power in re-reading your entries and writing again to help clear away all distractions and get to the root of the matter - what's tremendously important.

Journaling records it all for you in a tangible form - providing you with a way to remember everything later and giving you the ability to return to any point in your problem-solving process later.

Important Reasons to Journal #3: Emotional Processing and Increased Safety

Sometimes, the problem is NOT the problem - instead, consider how the challenges and problems you face make you FEEL. Processing your feelings and emotions is easier when you incorporate journaling into your methods of coping.

Emotions and feelings can often get in the way of figuring out how to deal with a challenge - you can get so emotionally worked up that it's impossible to figure out a rational solution to the problem you're dealing with.

The act of writing about your challenges and the accompanying emotions forces you to name them - and by naming them, you take back your power over them. 

When you name a challenge and the related emotions, you can analyze the sources of those challenges and emotions, and the consequences of allowing those forces to cause havoc in your life.

Describing and defining your emotions gives YOU more influence over and control of them. Knowing the true name of something also empowers you to define it - and once it's defined, then you can also research and define an answer to it.

Your journal is a safe space to describe and discuss your emotions - a place where you won't be judged or ridiculed, and you can take the space and time you need to work out where a roadblock came from and create a plan to get rid of it and clear your way forward.


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Important Reasons to Journal #4: Staying in Alignment and Firmly on Track

When you use your journal to process emotions, organize your thoughts, and think instead of reacting, you can use what you've learned to figure out why your powerful and positive dreams and goals seem so hard to accomplish.

Recording the things that derail your progress or make it harder for you to enjoy and celebrate your achievements gives you insight, which can bring to light adjustments that will improve your chances of success.

Re-reading and reflecting upon your journal entries - especially after giving yourself permission to express your emotions and then calm down before returning to them - can help to show you were your current choices, present emotions, or displayed values are out of alignment with your goals and dreams. 

Dreaming of a physically fit physique can help you create a wonderful goal, but only if you can stop "head hunger" from derailing your plans. Instead of reaching for that unproductive meal or skipping your workout, journal about why those steps are important as you pursue your goal and refresh your motivation.

Journaling about your goals and dreams can help to stave off "Instant Gratification Syndrome" where you are more focused on feeling good about making progress and more willing to cut corners to speed up the results you want. Disciplining yourself to stick to your plans requires you to know why you are working through the process, and journaling can help bring clarity and a renewed sense of commitment.

Important Reasons to Journal #5: Deeper Insight and Powered-Up Self-Awareness

If you're looking to boost your self-awareness and deepen your personal insight and level of self-knowledge, tap into the power of journaling.

Figuring out any challenge, indeed, anything that's going on in your life fundamentally depends on your level of self-awareness and knowledge - you simply can't be successful in solving problems or identifying practical solutions without it.

The more you write in your journal, analyzing your emotions and thoughts and working to the depths of your challenges, the more insight you gain into yourself, what makes you tick, and what can get in your way.

Solving Life's Challenges and Problems with Journaling

Everything from significant life challenges to minor irritants and frustrations can be solved more easily when you add the power of journaling to your problem-solving process.

Your journal entries can help you to clarify and solidify goals or beliefs - describing them with physical writing helps to imprint the information in your mind while seeing how you can create an action plan to help you achieve your goals or strengthen your beliefs.

Journaling about your finances and financial goals can help you stay on track as you plan how you'll spend your time and money - one of the first suggestions often made regarding setting a budget to help achieve big financial goals is to log (journal) all expenses for a defined period of time to see where the "holes" in your financial plan might be and where you can better control spending.

Want more clarity around your feelings about a situation or a relationship in your life? Journaling can help you get there. Analyzing behavior patterns and related feelings can help you realize when someone is pushing your buttons on purpose, and when a relationship just isn't working out.

Writing about the triggers you experience can help you rein in your emotions and avoid upsets, and if you document a pattern of negative behavior in yourself or someone else, you can plan to change it or eliminate it from your life once the pattern is identified.

Journaling can empower you to analyze your actions and behaviors while understanding their influence on your outcomes, helping you to solve any problem, big or small, you may be experiencing in your life.

Understanding is the first key to solving the issue - and journaling can help you get there.

About the Author Dianne Daniels

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently residing in Norwich, Connecticut, Dianne M. Daniels empowers women 35+ to create their Best Life with the Power of Affirmations & Journaling. You can learn how to use proven practices to create and manifest the life you want (and deserve) to live.

Dianne is a Unitarian Universalist Minister and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. She's an avid reader, a lover of old houses (she renovated an 1850s vintage Greek Revival home with her family), and proudly serves her community as a Registrar of Voters.

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