Quarantine has taught me many things.
Get hugs when you can. Focus on what’s actually working in life, or you’ll go crazy. Just put things out there; what’s the worst that could happen?
It has also taught me the value of intentional journaling. Since March 19th, which is when our office was sent home, I have redefined journaling for myself and been amazed at the results in my heart, mind and soul. I call it “intentional journaling,” which I define as not-griping and instead working through problems, with the assumption that there is an answer and that change is absolutely possible.
If you are on the cusp of taking up journaling or rediscovering it, or need a little push to get started for the first time, here are three solid reasons!
The power of comparison.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read over an entry from a few weeks, months or even years ago that highlighted how much I have grown and changed. You’ll start to see that things you used to get hung up on, just don’t bother you as much. Or you’ll get to read the entry where you thought of an idea that, now, you’ve completed. It can be incredibly encouraging, especially once you start racking up a few months of entries.
The assurance that things work out.
Everyone has doubts, especially in times such as these. That’s why it is increasingly important to remember how things have gone right in our lives. When you start tracking what you’re thankful for and great moments, those moments—which might not seem like much at the time—will serve as a precious gift for your doubting future self. Your words remind you of all the times that things turned out just fine, or even better than you thought they would.
The chance to identify patterns.
I am a bit of a scientist at heart. And, when I discovered that I could track my emotions to great benefit, I about lost my mind! This practice has deepened my understanding of how I respond to stress, and a greater appreciation for good days. It’s also shown me how some foods affect me emotionally, how important it is to keep up on certain supplements, and what happens when I don’t take the time to exercise.
But tracking emotions is far from the only pattern to be found in old journal entries! I’ve found that I need to do more meditation before spending time with certain people. That I have specific negative reactions. That I must say no to some activities. That I must let small things be small. Past journal entries act as a kind of map, to show me how I navigated familiar territory in days past. It’s truly amazing.
To protect you from my gushing, I’ll simply close with this: However strange these days may be, they have something specific and special to teach us. We may never get another chance, to develop often overlooked habits in so unhindered a manner. I hope you make intentional journaling one of yours!