A Beginners Crash Course on Journalling Part 3 – “Benefits”

Part 3 Benefits.jpgThis is the ‘third’ instalment of a 7 part series. This Series is called “A Beginners Crash Course on Journalling”. I will be talking about the ins and outs of journalling from all the information I have gathered from my extensive research and my experience so far. When I was originally writing this, it was just going to be one post…but I just had so much to say and the post got longer and longer. So, I thought it was best to break it up for you…and turn it into a mini ‘Crash Course’.

Benefits of Journalling

Journalling is a safe place you can go express yourself freely without the fear of being judged, it can be used as a healing process and it really is the cheapest kind of therapy. But it can also be used to further your personal development, to record and track your growth.

Some people journal for fun, some people journal to help improve their health, some people journal to record memories and some people journal for all of the above. For whatever reason you have, that has made you to decide to embark on your very own journalling journey…there are a tremendous amount of benefits you can experience, that I don’t quite know where to start. Journal writing helps you gain insight into your behaviours and moods, so is a brilliant tool for your overall personal growth and development. But not only that, Journalling can be used to benefit all areas of your life; physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and intellectually.

Physical Benefits

Some people like to journal to track patterns, trends, improvements, achievements and growth towards their physical health. This can be done in some kind of food journal, where you will meal plan and record how many calories you have ate or an exercise journal, where you can record how much exercise you have done. This can be beneficial to look back on how far you have improved. For example, maybe when you first started exercising, you could only run on the treadmill for 10 minutes, but now you can run for 30 minutes…seeing this improvement on paper can really help keep you motivated. By keeping a food and exercise journal, you can track your weight, track what exercise provides you with the best outcomes and will help you reflect on any mistakes you may be making.

For example, one week you exercise 1 hour a day but you do not stick to your calorie intake…you lose 3 pound. However, the next week you may exercise only half an hour a day and stick to your calorie intake…but only lose 1 pound. During this week you feel very tired and may not have enjoyed the exercise as much. This will show you that, even though you over ate the first week, your body needed it for the energy it provided. Therefore, you can keep tweaking your health plan till you decide you are receiving the best outcomes from it.

Apart from the benefits of recording and tracking your health habits, journalling can help reduce stress and can help anxiety disorders, mood disorders and depression. Writing down how you feel can be a very comforting and therapeutic experience. And when used in conjunction with medication and counselling, journalling can help you through personal issues you may be having for instance; substance misuse or alcohol abuse. By managing daily stresses better, it can improve your overall mood and can increase you confidence and self-esteem, resulting in a HAPPIER YOU!

Mental/Emotional Benefits

In this area of life, I feel you can gain the most benefits from journalling. This may be down to my own personal experience but writing down how you feel can help you prioritise your problems, fears and concerns. Giving you an opportunity for positive self-talk and identify negative thought patterns and behaviours. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, journalling can help you recognise what triggers set your mood down, this will give you a chance to work through your issues by clarifying your thoughts and feelings towards that certain trigger.

Journalling can be a healing process that can help you recover from grief and loss, it can help you process failed relationships and provide you with an opportunity to get to know and understand yourself better on a deeper level, growing your self-awareness and building a sense of serenity.

I like to keep a gratitude journal, where I record all the things I have to be thankful for in my life. This gives me a chance to look at the big picture and remember how lucky I am. It has honestly improved my overall perspective on life. By reminding myself of all the good I have in my life, leaves little room left for me to feel sad.

Social Benefits

Journalling about your relationships is a great way to reflect on any problems and disagreements you may be having with others. It can allow you to express exactly how you feel about a situation, so you don’t keep it all locked up inside. This is something I am sometimes guilty of, I keep things in and let them stew for weeks, sometimes months…then one day I would just blow! This resulted in me saying hurtful things to the people I love and acting out of character. Writing how you feel about a situation can give you a chance to work through your issues and try and see things from a different perspective, seeing the situation from their point of view. Once you have got it all out your system you may decide that what you were feeling was trivial…maybe it wasn’t them you were actually angry at. Journalling sharpens your senses, allowing you to observe the world with greater richness and complexity.

Intellectual Benefits

Journalling can be creatively energizing and is a brilliant tool for capturing your ideas, pondering your big dreams and tracking your victories. Many successful people are known for keep their very own journal, where they plan out their goals, create successful action routines and chart out what works and what does not. Journalling can enable you to take control of your future, by developing your intuition and increasing your problem solving skills. Journalling can also help you improve your memory…by getting in a habit of writing things down you will never forget anything again.

I would love to hear from you. How do you feel about journalling? Have you tried keeping a journal before or do you currently use one? What’s your experience with journals? Please leave a comment down below.

Check out the other instalments of the series…

Part 1    Part 2    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7

Also check out my Journalling challenge called‘100 Creative Journal Prompt Challenge’. (Still open)

 

If you want to learn more about Miss Rachel B (click here)

You can also find me on my social media platforms @

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A Beginner’s Crash Course on Journalling Part 1 – “Introduction”

Part 1 Introduction insta.jpg

This is the “Introduction” instalment of a 7 part series. This Series is called A Beginners Crash Course on Journalling. I will be talking about the ins and outs of journalling from all the information I have gathered from my extensive research and my experience so far. When I was originally writing this, it was just going to be one post…but I just had so much to say and the post got longer and longer. So, I thought it was best to break it up for you…and turn it into a mini ‘Crash Course’.

My Journalling Journey

I only started keeping a journal just over a year ago and I can tell you it has been the best thing I have ever done. It has helped me tremendously, both mentally and physically. It helped me change my life. And I promise, I am not exaggerating.

I was in a state of deep depression and I tried everything to pull myself out of that big black hole I was in but nothing seemed to work. Like everybody these days, I Googled it….. How to overcome depression”……and every article I read said the same thing. Keep a journal.

At the beginning I just ignored the advice I didn’t want to keep a journal. Only ‘important people’ keep journals, people who have interesting lives. I don’t have anything of importance to write. But the more research I done, the more it kept popping up. So I thought to myself, well nothing else seems to be working, I have nothing to lose.

Back to Google I went!

Procrastination

I read countless articles about journalling and downloaded some kindle eBooks. I learned the benefits, how to start one, what kind of book to use, what writing instrument to use etc. etc. etc. But that is all I did for about 3 months. Read about them. Pinned my favourite articles and many journalling prompts to a board on Pinterest. All good intentions of starting ‘tomorrow’. And guess what? Tomorrow never came.

This all changed when I read a book called “365 Journal Writing Ideas” by Rossi Fox. I highly recommend this book if you are on the fence like I was. He got me excited to start and I took the plunge.

I got myself prepared. I wrote all his journalling prompts out on the computer, printed them off, cut them up and put them in a little folder ready to use when I started. Then I started making myself a book (yes because going to the shop would have been too easy and I am a crafter and a procrastinator {procraftinator}, so making the book seemed like the right decision to me) and after about another 3 weeks of preparing…I eventually started.

I was doing well for about 2 to 3 weeks. Keeping up to date with my entries. Getting myself into a routine. Things were looking up and I was actually enjoying it. Until 1 day I was just too busy and couldn’t get a minute to myself for the privacy I needed to write. So I missed a day, then I missed another day. Then before I knew it I had a whole week to catch up on….the thought of a full weeks’ worth of prompts to complete was not appealing to me. I tried catching up but in the end I gave up.

Then my inner critic started;

You are such a failure!

You can’t even get keeping a journal right!

Why didn’t I just keep up with it…?

I will never get anything right!

Blah blah blah!!

My inner critic has always been my worst enemy.

Perfectionism

The thing was…I was all together missing the point. I was taking the whole ‘journalling’ idea to seriously. Worrying about getting my handwriting perfect, worrying about my grammar and punctuation etc.  I even worried about the layout…yes seriously! I take perfectionism to the next level. I was even worried about not finishing a page with the same entry….I didn’t want to start a new entry below the last one, it needed to be on the next page. But I didn’t want any blank spaces.

So it was no surprise that when I missed a few days it overwhelmed me to pick it back up again. It wasn’t an essay I needed to hand in and get graded on and it wasn’t an art project that was going to get displayed in a gallery.

Second Attempt

It wasn’t till I was having a particularly bad day that I picked up a scraggly old notebook and one of those little free blue pens you get in Argos and just started writing. I didn’t think about what I was writing. I just let my words flow, all my thoughts were just pouring out onto the page and before I knew it I had basically wrote a short book.

My writing was a mess going all small then big then small again. My spelling’s were atrocious (yes, I Google voiced that spelling just now because spell check couldn’t even recognise what I was trying to spell), one sentence lasted about 2 pages and punctuation was non-existent. This type of writing is called ‘streams of consciousness’, I have now learnt.

When I reached the end and put the book down I felt fantastic. It felt like the whole world had been lifted off my shoulders. All the black fog that had been blinding me cleared and I could suddenly see again. That big old rain cloud that had been over my head for months had moved on and the sun started shining down on me.

I still don’t understand how much of a simple thing can make such a big difference. It is quite fascinating. Almost magical! I felt good, like I had been given a second chance, that I had started a new beginning.

I picked up the same scraggly notebook the next day but I didn’t really have much to say because I had spilled my heart the day before. So naturally, I put it down and forgot about journalling all together….again!

Realisation

More months went by, life started piling on top of me again, 101 new stresses emerged and I was feeling as depressed as ever. I was just looking through the dreaded ‘junk draw’ looking for something…I can’t remember what now but it must have been important for me to even attempt to open that draw. Anyway, there it was….my little old scraggly notebook. I opened it up and started reading.

It took me quite a while to get through the book, as I struggled to even understand my own writing but by the time I finished and processed what I had read, I had learnt some important lessons about myself.

Here is what I learnt;

I live in a time loop – Ground-hog Day!

Apart from the fact that I am a mother and have to stick to routine. One day is pretty much the same as yesterday and tomorrow. But that is not my point here.  My point is that my life was going around in circles. I was making the same mistakes and repeating them over and over again. I wasn’t learning from them. I was missing the chance to improve myself repeatedly. I could have learnt a whole set of new skills, if I had only taken the time to reflect on my mistakes and taken a different route to prevent me from making them again.

My thought patterns hadn’t changed

I am a ‘thinker’ I always have been. I regularly live in my head. Over analysing a situation until I come up with a completely different story. Then the thread of my thoughts spring out to past events and possible future events. Am sure some will understand what I mean.

Our brains can generate thousands of thoughts each day. Some are helpful and some are not. But most of the time we ‘think’ the same ‘thinks’ repeatedly. I won’t get to deep into this subject and save it for another blog post. However, my point is, every day I was thinking the same negative thoughts, probably about a thousand or more times per day. So it was no wonder I was feeling depressed.

I was holding myself back

During my ‘dark’ depression days, I always felt like something was holding me back. Like I couldn’t move on with my life until I lost some weight, until I moved house, until I passed my driving test……the list goes on. I never felt like I had enough. I was basing my happiness on ‘things’ that I thought I needed. Procrastinating at its best.

When all these realisations sunk in… I made a decision! I am going to change my life! And I am not going to wait until ‘tomorrow’ I am going to start now. And off I went and opened a Word Document.

Third Time Lucky

From that day I started writing in the Word Document I haven’t looked back. I write daily in a book and/or computer. Sometimes several times a day. I even tried a journal app so I could write on the go but that didn’t last too long. I used it for a few days when I was on holiday but when I got home I forgot all about it.

Everyone’s journalling preferences are different, what works for one person might not work for another. I believe that everyone should keep some kind of journal. There is so many different ways to record and document your feelings. You just have to experiment and see what works best for you.

During this last year I have tried countless different ways to journal. Some I like, some I don’t, some I have not tried yet. I will go into deeper detail about the different kinds and ways of journalling throughout this series (So if this interests you keep your eyes peeled for the next 6 part instalments this week). 

Conclusion

After my rocky journey into journalling, I finally realised the point of it all. Apart from its obvious emotional and health benefits, it is an amazing tool for your overall personal-development. It helps you track your progress and remember lessons that have been learnt from mistakes made. This prevents you from making the same mistakes and having to re-learn them repeatedly.

It is for place for reflecting and evolving. Writing down your goals, your plans, your wishes and your desires. Venting out your bad feelings such as anger, jealously, stress, negative thoughts and sadness. Once everything is out of your head and in your journal you can free up room in your mind to think clearly.

So if you were on the fence about starting up your own journal, I hope my story has inspired you to take the first step. Don’t wait for the perfect moment like I did. Just get started….now! Go find your scraggly old notebook and Argos pen (not literally).

I would love to hear from you. How do you feel about journalling? Have you tried keeping a journal before or do you currently use one? What’s your experience with journals? Please leave a comment down below.

Check out the other instalments of the series…

Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7

Also check out my Journalling challenge called ‘100 Creative Journal Prompt Challenge’. (Still open)

If you want to learn more about Miss Rachel B (click here)

You can also find me on my social media platforms @

Facebook   Instagram   Twitter   Pinterest   Youtube   Google+

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You will find the subscribe button in the Sidebar or right at the bottom of this page.

If you have any quires or questions please don’t hesitate to Contact Me or leave a comment down below. I would love to here from you.

Me Time

Me Time

Definition;

Time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.

What is ‘Me Time’?

It is hard to say exactly what ‘me time’ is because ‘me time’ is as unique and individual as you and me! It means something different to every person. But to break it down… it is carving out recreational time for yourself to do something that you enjoy that relaxes and recharges your batteries.

 

Why is ‘Me Time’ so important?

When we were kids, all of our time was ‘Me Time’, we only thought about ourselves and what would make us happy, with little care about others, guilt free. (Love them 2 words together…say it again with me GUILT FREE) Kids are selfish like that! However, as we grow up we learn to become more compassionate towards others…we are told we need to think about others and their needs. Which we do…don’t get me wrong. But during our time growing up, we gain more and more responsibilities as time goes on. While growing a family, while getting promotions at work or maybe you have to start careering for an older family member or friend because they become sick…whatever the reason. We begin to lose bits of ourselves, we forget what we once loved doing. We spend less and less time doing things for ourselves. We put everyone else’s needs in front of our own…basically becoming salves to our own life. And when we do get a chance to do something for ourselves…we can’t help but feel guilty about it the whole time, which defeats the object of taking time out completely.

This can be extremely exhausting and if you don’t take some time out for yourself…you are not only doing a dis-service to yourself…you are doing a dis-service to those around you. Because if you don’t look after yourself you won’t be in the right state of mind, physically and mentally, to take care of others. That’s when you start making mistakes, you get angry with people easier, you will start to take short cuts to get your jobs done quicker…which could potentially lead to more work that you could have avoided.

This is why you need to take time out for yourself…take care of yourself, respect yourself and do it guilt free because you need it for your own sanity. You won’t only be doing yourself a favour…you will be doing other people a favour too.

 ‘Me, Myself & I’

We all know it is important to make time to spend with your family and loved ones, this is because you want to maintain a healthy relationship with them. Family time, monthly dates with your partner and nights out or lunch with friends. So why wouldn’t you want to make time to spend by yourself? You also need to maintain a healthy relationship with YOU. Spending time alone builds a stronger sense of self, increasing your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-love. It is necessary for your overall mental well-being and it teaches you to enjoy your own company.

Life can get a little bit overwhelming at times, making you feel stressed, tense and anxious. This will make you look at the world with resentment. ‘Me Time’ gives you a chance to disconnect from the world and reconnect with your inner self. Then when it is time to take on your day…you will have an overall better look at the world.

‘Me Time’ allows you to take a breather from your everyday life, giving you time to reflect, relax and recharge your energy levels.

‘Me Time’ Benefits…

Benefits of me time.jpg

Look at all those benefits… you have so many reasons to carve out some ‘Me Time’! So go do it now, open up your planner and for the rest of the write in a weekly ME DATE with ME, MYSELF & I!

 ‘Me Time’ Ideas…

Me Time Ideas

 

Do you take time out for yourself? 

Do you feel like you deserve it?

What do you do during your ‘Me Time’?

How much time do you take?

I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU DO FOR ‘ME TIME’, LEAVE ME A COMMENT DOWN BELOW 🙂

If you want to learn more about Miss Rachel B (click here)

You can also find me on my social media platforms @

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If you have any quires or questions please don’t hesitate to Contact Me or leave a comment down below. I would love to here from you.