After I wrote my article on journaling my way to happiness, I was asked to give tips on the best way to journal. I will not lie and say I have journaled for years, because I haven’t. Journaling has become part and parcel of me but my paranoia can’t let me write the things down and if I do, I write in code. I have found that a week later I can’t decipher the code I myself came up with so I am trying the ‘Be present’ method. How this works is find times in your day that tickle that emotion you are trying to fight or the oil that is giving you rashes. I don’t know what you are journaling about.
The best part about journaling is that you are able to pinpoint problem or strength areas. This gives you a sense of understanding yourself which in itself is very fulfilling. It will take time to come to understand the problem but I feel like this way is faster and more personal than waiting to ask a friend. So below are some of the tips.
- What are you trying to find out about yourself?
I started my journal after my anxiety started becoming too much. I would feel like someone is sitting on my chest and I could not breathe. I wanted to pinpoint what is making me feel this way. I found the culprit and removed myself from that situation and my anxiety has faded and I am happy. I am still keeping an ongoing journal that will help me track my days just so I don’t get blindsided with an anxiety attack or my most common anaemic dizziness. What I want to start tracking next is my hair growth. My hair grows fast but since I cut it in 2014 it is not responding to anything. I have bought Shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil and I moisturise but it is not showing the love back. I feel used, to be quite honest lol.
- Start from your earliest memory
If I start journaling about my hair, I will start in 2014. I will then take time to compare with 2007 when I also had short hair just to see what I am doing differently. Right off the bat, I can see that using these ‘Natural Hair staples’ si not working. In 2007, I would have it blowdried, go to school, it becomes an afro within 2 weeks, I go home for midterm, repeat cycle. During the holidays, I would plait and that was it. I do not understand why it was doing better when I did not care about it.
Maybe for you , you want to know where your rage issues, self esteem issues, confidence track started. Yes, journaling is not only for your problematic areas. You can use it to better yourself by maybe learning when you first stood up for yourself and how that made you feel. Just and insight to why you are more confident now than most.
- Try have an entry every day
This means that you have to be very conscious of your actions. If you are asked to do a powerpoint presentation to the team what goes through your mind. If you get the chance to be present you will be able to think more critically and this will end up in you giving a kickass presentation. If you are not present you would not have weighed your options and would have maybe said no and lost that chance. Having and entry every day requires you to be more present in your environment, in your conversations and in your daily interactions with people.
- Note down only the important facts
I find it easier when I list them in bullet point e.g The colour yellow makes me nervous. This works better that ‘Today I was walking to work and then I saw this cute dog and I wished I could pet it. I then heard the rush of an engine and I looked back to see the most awesome yellow car….’ These details are not important unless maybe dogs make you feel more positive or make you more anxious. Leave out all the unnecessary bits.
- Learning how to go about everything
It is better if you have your own plans like having a goal of maybe doing a presentation to your coworkers before the month ends. You might find you will not do it but you will have started getting acquainted with people because you want to remove the nervous cloak around you. You want to breed familiarity so that they will listen to you when you do instead of them saying ‘It was a presentation by the light short girl in editorial’. Sometimes here is where you go to the good old Internet to find how people are working around the problem. Making twist outs is hard, so what other styles can you incorporate. Having that perfect body when you are working a million hours a day is also difficult, what kind of exercises can you do in 10 minutes that will show results gradually.
The point of having a journal is learning about yourself and trying to rectify or strengthen whatever it is you are learning about yourself. Try it, you can journal about anything and you will learn so much about yourself.