I have learned writing in a journal is easier than therapy for me and I get so much out of it. I love therapy (who wouldn’t love talking about themselves?), but I don’t have the motivation to actually search for a therapist for mental well-being maintenance. Writing in a journal helps me uncover what’s really going on in my head and I often learn something I never expected.
A bit of background: In Fall 2014, I signed up for a workshop at a local yoga studio. “40 Days to Personal Revolution” by Baron Baptiste.
The lessons I learned are many and too plentiful to impart here. One easy take away was the value of writing in a journal. To this day, I write in my journal about five days a week and if I miss more than two days, I can sense a difference in my mood and attitude. I have learned writing in a journal helps ensure my mental well-being. It’s something I encourage my friends to try out when they feel “stuck” or unhappy with any part of their lives.
There is a difference between ruminating on something abstractly in your head and actually putting your thoughts down on paper (or typing on a computer) to get it all out. I type so much faster than I write, but it is 1,000 times more therapeutic for me to put pen to paper and hand-write my responses. So I keep my journal with me as much as possible. In reality, it takes me no more than ten minutes to unload all the swirling thoughts in my head, and who doesn’t have ten minutes to squeeze in a little “me time” along with a cup of coffee?
But where do you start?
Here is a sampling of questions to journal about. Pick and choose what speaks to you from the list below. I personally think it’s a lot to process, so I suggest you tackle just 2-3 questions at a time. Personally, these questions spurred a lot more thought than I anticipated!
I think writing down answers to these questions will help redirect one’s thoughts to a new and or different conclusion instead of fruitlessly continuing cyclical thinking.
Where to learn more and find the full list of self-reflective questions: “40 Days to Personal Revolution” by Baron Baptiste.
Questions related to presence:
- How much am I taking responsibility to learn and grow from the experiences, both easy and difficult, I have in my life?
- What are my beliefs about:
- my body (too heavy, too weak, just right?)
- my relationships (Do they nourish me? What purpose do they serve in my growth and in my life? Do I believe I am treated as I want or ought to be?)
- my work (Is it fulfilling?)
- spirituality (Do I believe in a higher power?)
- sex (What role does it play in my life? Do I see it as a vehicle for spiritual and emotional expression?)
- money (Do I believe it is the root of all evil, or does it simply give me freedom to do what I want in life?)
- When in my life am I fully present? In my job? With my partner or kids? When I am working? When I am playing? When I am alone?
- Where in my life am I hiding? In other words, where do I privately know I need to take more responsibility and/or become fully present?
- Where in my life am I flirting with disaster?
Questions related to vitality:
- What is my most meaningful creation in life? Is it my work, my family, myself?
- What is my most courageous act? Courage doesn’t always mean heroism – often courage can show up in more subtle ways, such as having the courage to leave a toxic relationship, to try something you’ve never done before, or to take a different path than those around you.
- When do I feel the most energized? For some people, it is when they are working or playing for others, it is when they are quiet and along. When do you feel the most alive?
- What are the forces in my life draining my energy?
- Whom do I resent, and how is that resentment affecting me?
Again, full credit for these questions come from Baron Baptiste.