Ah, journaling. Something we all know is really good for us. But, it can’t be just us that have tried to start a million different times, but we always seem to fall at the first hurdle. If you are like us, you sit there looking at a blank page thinking “what the heck am I supposed to write”. Well, our new friend, Sinead Kelly is a self-health coach, and is here today to guide us on our journaling journey! So get your pen and your notebook and enjoy!
There are lots of great benefits that happen when we journal regularly.
One really interesting one is an improvement in our ability to focus. Not just in school, but at home, with other people, health, creativity, basically our whole life!
But what does it mean to focus? For most it’s where we are paying attention, we have clarity and we are lacking distraction. I know the hard part is doing it. So let’s break down my top two types of journals to improve your focus:
Number One: The “Working through a problem” Journal
How many times have you sat down to study to only drift away in your mind again?
Maybe it was to think about that annoying thing somebody said to you at school.
This type of journal can help with this. It’s great when you are stuck in a loop in your mind with a problem that is affecting your focus. A famous psychologist Carl Jung said that “what you resist not only persists but will grow in size.” So when we try to avoid or ignore the problem it might feel like it becomes bigger than it actually is. This can have a knock-on effect on our ability to focus also.
This is where the journal comes in!
Here you can use the journal as a way to get it out of your head and put it on paper. So if something is staying on my mind and I’m not able to get rid of it then I will write down:
- What the problem is
- My feelings about the problem
- How to overcome said problem
Or if it’s something that is outside my control and I can’t overcome, is it something that I need to accept and work through? Are there things that I could do to help to move past it or at least allow it to be less sticky and irritating?
So the basic aim is to keep asking yourself questions about the problem. Pretend to be that three-year-old kid that keeps on asking “why?” to get to the root of the problem.
Journaling allows us to become more aware of the things we think, feel and do when we look back. It may sound funny but we are often thinking, feeling and doing things without noticing it. So journaling is one way to become more Self-Aware.
Why would we want to be more Self-Aware?
Here we are able to look at things differently from how we normally do, and then we can catch ourselves thinking in a way that might be unhelpful to us. Now we can think or do something more helpful for ourselves so we can return to being present and focused.
This journal is almost like sitting with someone and working through a problem although it’s always best to talk to a grown-up too.
Number Two: The “Setting your intention for the day” Journal
One way to improve our clarity and focus is to use a journal I call “Setting your intention for the day”.
This is not listing out all the things you hope to get done for the day. Of course, listing things down can be very useful for clarity and focus. However, this journal is to help us remember what’s really really important to us, in other words, what we value most.
When we connect a clear sense of purpose to what we do then it makes it much easier to focus. As opposed to doing things we feel we “have to do” or “should do”.
So for example, if you want to focus on making healthy changes like moving more every day. Then maybe you will journal in the mornings and write down your intention to go for a walk for 15 minutes after dinner with someone in your family.
Follow this up by writing down your purpose around moving more. For example, maybe you want to clear your head, you want to get a little bit healthier, you like having time alone to chat with someone in your family and you feel in a better mood after getting outside. So think of all the different reasons why it’s important to you.
As you can see, journaling can be a great way to improve your focus. To help you decide which type or types of journals will help you most I recommend paying attention to what takes you out of focus. Such as thinking about a problem or being distracted when you are unaware of your thoughts and actions or maybe not having clarity about what you are doing and why. Here you can find a way to move forward and become more focused in any area of your life.
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