Here's why men should journal
Journaling used to be something literary arts students had to do at the beginning of class. Now, journaling has been widely recognized to boost your mental health and cognitive abilities. Plus, this growing trend is big business.
There are now apps for journaling, digital notepads, journaling online courses and even journaling accessories. There is an emerging market for personalized journaling products. Yet, when you boil it all down, you really don’t need to overthink it or spend a ton of money.
What Is a Journal?
A journal is any designated place to write your thoughts, dreams, notes, or anything else that you might find relevant. It’s a tool for your own mental and spiritual tweaking. Journaling can be as simple or as complex as you make it.
You can use symbols, columns, or any other organizational system that you find useful. You might also want to just jot down your thoughts at random. There are no journaling rules – just journaling reasons.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to start journaling.
Journaling Your Dreams
Dreams are important windows into your psyche, especially if you take the time to reflect and interpret their meaning. Yet, those images just fade away so fast, right?
Well, you can harness the meaning of your dreams by keeping a dream journal. Just place it on your nightstand so you can write about your experiences while they’re still fresh in your mind. Put the date of the dream and write down any important symbols.
You might not remember exact details about your dream, but you can glean plenty of important data from your experience. Focus on your feelings and emotions. Did the dream make you feel anxious or sad? Were there any characters or people that seemed out of place or disturbing?
You don’t have to be a dream expert to benefit from dream journaling. The dream was meant for you. The symbols and feelings you experienced are up for your interpretation. When you journal about your dreams, you better understand them, and gain rare insights into how your subconscious mind is operating.
Jotting Down Random Ideas
Sometimes, the noise of your thoughts can become so overwhelming that nothing makes any sense. Our minds have such natural creative energy, but when the ideas don’t have an outlet and lack organization, then they create negative brainstorms.
These brainstorms aren’t productive. In fact, they can stagnate your progress because there’s just so much floating around up there in your head. Have you ever felt like a juggler who spins plates? You just keep adding plate after plate, and you’re just waiting for the moment when it all comes crashing down.
This is where journaling can really help to organize your thoughts. When you write down ideas, you essentially flush them out of your head and free up space in your short-term memory for a greater capacity of productivity.
Journaling Your Day to Day Tasks
Then, there’s bullet journaling. Instead of using journals with lines or writing sentences and paragraphs. When you bullet journal, you create bullet points for your thoughts. In essence, the bullet journal is similar to a daily planner.
There’s an entire system for bullet journaling. So, this might not be the method that’s right for you if you have problems with organization. Each entry is cataloged as a task, event, or note. Each carries a different symbol.
There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, bullet journaling can streamline your thought process and help you better organize the day. Plus, you can easily look back over the journal to find important information using the symbol system.
It’s important to note that bullet journaling doesn’t have to follow any specific rule or system. You can use triangles to mark events or simply underline the most important bullet points. If you want to explore bullet journaling further, then check out this book called The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.
There’s also a video that explains bullet journaling in the Ryder Carroll system.
Journaling for Mental Health
A personal journal is an essential tool for managing your own mental health. Researchers from the American Psychological Association conducted a study on journaling and found that expressive writing helped people to organize their memories and cope with stress.
When you write about your pain or trauma, you download that stress onto the page. The act of journaling alleviates the stress of carrying those traumas around with you on a daily basis. It’s like giving yourself permission to move on.
Duke University’s Adriel Boals notes that “The [study results] suggest that at least for fairly minor life problems, something as simple as writing about the problem for 20 minutes can yield important effects not only in terms of physical health and mental health, but also in terms of cognitive abilities,” he says.
What Kind of Journal Should You Use?
Well, there are several options when it comes to journaling. You can go with a traditional journaling notebook. This gives you the old-fashioned writer feels. In fact, some writers believe that their thought process changes when writing in a traditional journal, as opposed to when they type or text.
You can also choose a digital journal. It doesn’t have to be on paper. You can use an app through your smartphone or tablet. You can also look into getting an I-PAD style journal like the Rocketbook Wave. Here is a detailed review of the Rocketbook Wave on one of our partner sites.
Should You Post Journal Entries on Social Media?
There is a growing trend that uses social media accounts for journaling – so-called Insta-journaling. It’s a mixed bag, fellas. You’ve got to remember why you’re doing this in the first place. The purpose of journaling is personal. It’s for your own personal reflection, enjoyment, and organization.
Now, this doesn’t look like a personal journaling experience. There’s something else going on here. When you journal on social media, everybody who has access to your page can read your journal entries.
Some people use it to increase their following or even sell products, and that takes you out of the headspace where journaling benefits you intrinsically. It’s now becoming a marketing tool and its value is dependent on the opinion and actions of others.
You shouldn’t have two minds about journaling on social media. Ask yourself – do I want everyone that follows my page to have access to my journal? Am I really logging my innermost thoughts if I’m also sharing them with the world? How is this journal serving me?
After you answer those questions and you find that Insta-journaling is still right for you, then by all means, post whatever you like. Just try to make sure that your journal doesn’t become a tool to gain attention. It’s intended purpose is to bring order to the chaos of your own psyche.
Summing It Up
Journaling allows you to slow down for a moment and just focus on your own mental and spiritual alignment. You can journal about your dreams, your day-to-day tasks, or just write random thoughts that come to mind.
Your journal can help you get over a bad breakup or even start a new business. It’s a second memory for the important moments that define life itself. There are quite a few writers who’ve started best-selling books in their journals.
Franz Kafka wrote – “In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that very reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.”
In light of the recent coronavirus crisis, a journal might help you to look back on this time. A journal can help you remember the tough times that you inevitably overcame and the ways in which it helped to build your character for the better.