Negativity is a trap that can feel nearly impossible to escape. Even those who are usually inclined to see things in the affirmative can fall into the occasional rut of stinking thinking. That’s because once it takes hold, your brain adapts to the ideas it is being fed. In order to get away from the grip of such patterns, you must make an intentional effort to change. This means doing something tangible on a regular basis that can have an impact on replacing the bad habit with a better one. One incredibly powerful way to do this is through keeping a journal. Keep reading to discover how to use journaling as a tool for self-growth and personal thinking. You’ll be out of that rut in no time.
Decide on Your Focus
First of all, you’ll want to decide on the type of journal you wish to keep. Your focus can be on gratitude, personal reflection, learning, goal setting or a mix of subjects. Having an idea of the kinds of things you want to write will simply give you a bit of a structure in which to frame your daily scribbling. In fact, you can literally scribble in your journal if you’d like. Drawing can be incredibly therapeutic. Having a general idea of the contents of your journal will definitely make the next step easier.
Choose Your Journal
Next, you’ll want to choose a type of journal to keep. Many like to write in a paper notebook of some kind, as the practice of physically feeling the movement of their writing implement is soothing. Plus, it’s nice to have something tangible to pick up and read at your leisure. If you’re a modern thinker and prefer to see the words fly across the computer screen, go ahead and set up your journal in a word processing program. During this time, you may also want to consider adding additional sections to your paper or digital notebook to include areas for random notes, pictures or any other components you think will be helpful. Get creative with this part.
Create a Consistent Practice
Journaling only works if you do it regularly, and it can be a tricky habit to pick up if you’re not accustomed to writing often. So you’ll want to choose a time of day in which you’ll be most likely to write and set up a regular place for your journaling. Doing so creates a framework for your mind, telling it that it’s time to get down to writing; it helps to entrench your new habit. If you’re a morning person, journal first thing to start your day off on the right foot. As a reflective thinker, it may help you to write in the evening as a way to process your day, note the good things and make a plan for managing obstacles.
Even if you rarely write and don’t consider yourself to be a writer, you can gain a lot by keeping a journal. Writing regularly is a focused activity that is useful in any type of self-growth activity, as it will help you to process your actions. Journaling is especially great for shaping positivity thinking because you are able to see patterns in your thoughts, as you work to change them. Writing also works to stimulate the creation of neural pathways that contribute to even more positive thinking.