I've kept a journal off and on throughout my life. I'll usually get all "motivated" after reading something, rush off to the store, and start to keep a "journal habit" which is going to last for the rest of my life!! ...Well, let's get real. Usually it would go okay for a few days and then dissipate into the vast ether where the rest of our best of intentions go to die. Alas.

OK, but recently I've begun again, because I sincerely want to incorporate this into my everyday. Why? Well, like before, I have been doing a little self-discovery program which claims it is absolutely essential to journal. So what it is about keeping a journal that could legitimately changes one's life? Well, there are many reasons to consider.

Our human minds tend to overthink. Understatement of the year? Perhaps. Throughout our frazzling days, we are bombarded by what feels like a million different messages which just add to the mind fodder with which we find ourselves contending. It can be literally exhausting.

Just like taking a few moments to meditate everyday can help you re-center in the present, journaling in the morning can be a bit of a control-alt-delete for our brains. On top of that, it helps get out on paper the things you've been worrying about, which somehow frees up the mental space needed to actually take action steps where needed. I've also found that it's a bit like self-therapy--not that it ever replaces getting the help you need from a professional, if need be. Yet, I love what Nancy Mairs said: "I will write myself into well-being."

If you've any desire to rev up your creative juices, this can be an enormous help. Writing in a journal, especially in the morning before "the world gets to you," as author Julia Cameron would say, you can purge out your most unedited thoughts and even write down a few details from your dreams that you'd otherwise forget before you've had you first sip of coffee.

Finally, for me, I've found over time I start to see trends in my writing. Issues that continue to resurface are indicative about issues you've been struggling with in your life that you've had difficulty articulating. I find that to be hugely liberating.

There are many different ways in which you can engage journaling. Julia Cameron, author of many books, including The Artists' Way, recommends what she calls the "morning pages." This is essentially handwriting three pages of 'stream-of-consciousness' writing--literally it's a brain dump. Learn more about how to do that here.

One of my favorite people ever is Kelly Carlin. (Yes, the late comedian George Carlin's daughter.) She has begun coaching women who want to create their life's work. She recommends meditating for a few minutes in the morning before you begin, just to center your thoughts and to write more from a place of clarity.

There are many ways. The key is to it consistently. I know this: it makes a difference.

Have you ever kept a journal?


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