Benefits of Journaling
How Journaling Can Help You Cultivate Positive Thinking Habits
Do you keep a journal? It’s a great way to think things through and find patterns in your life. It’s a great way to record memories and personal growth. It’s also an excellent way to cultivate positive thinking habits.
“Habits” is the key word here.
How we think is a habit. We grow accustomed to seeing the glass half full or half empty. We make it a habit to focus on the good stuff or the bad stuff. To get better at positive thinking, we have to make it a habit, and a journal can help us do that.
When we sit down to write, we focus our mind. We force ourselves to examine what we’ve been doing or thinking. It helps us clear our mind and find the important stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing in an old-fashioned journal, in a word document or blog on your computer, or if you use an app on your phone. The process of putting words on the page helps us organize and evaluate our thoughts. That’s why it’s such a valuable tool when it comes to building new habits.
By sitting down with your journal each day, you start to examine what you’ve done and how well you’ve kept up with the habit of thinking more positive thoughts.
The beauty of a journal is that it is private. You can be – and should be – completely honest with yourself. Record your wins, but don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve slipped up and went back to negative thought patterns.
It’s important that you realize when you do it. Until that happens, it’s hard to break those old habits. You have to realize when it’s happening. Once you do that, you can start to catch yourself in the process of sliding into negative thoughts. The next step is to stop in your tracks, realize what you’re about to do, and then find a way to turn it around. The journal will help you with that process by going back each day and examining when you did well and when you didn’t.
After a little while, you’ll see patterns emerge. Maybe you’re good about thinking positive thoughts until you come home at night. In that case, it may be time to figure out what’s giving you a negative vibe in your space. Maybe it’s small, dark, and too crowded. What can you do to make it a more positive and inviting space to live in? Maybe you find that you do well unless you get in contact with certain people. What can you do to change the relationship dynamic and keep from sliding back into negativity around them?
There’s a lot to be gained from journaling.
Not only is it great for recognizing patterns and establishing new habits, but a journal will also document your progress. When you are feeling low and are wondering if all your hard work towards a more positive attitude is making a difference, go back and read earlier journal entries. You’ll see right away how much progress you’ve been making. It may be slow from day to day and hard to see, but over time all those small changes add up to something big. Give it a try!
Your Brain Is A Muscle – Work It Out
The brain works a little like a muscle. You have to work on those creative and positive thinking processes on a daily basis, or you start to lose some of the progress you’re making. Think back on long summer breaks when you were in school. Study after study shows that kids lose much of what they’ve learned and how well they learn during a long summer break, unless they are encouraged to do a little something to work out their brains.
The same goes for you. Think about the first day back at the office after a two-week vacation. You have a hard time getting into the groove, and it takes a while before you’re back to your regular thinking and processing speed. The longer you’re gone, the worse it gets. If you’ve gone back to school after a few years on the job or gone back to work after maternity leave, you have experienced this first hand.
The key then is to keep the mind sharp by actively working it out regularly.
Honestly, this isn’t just about positive and creative thinking. It’s about thought processes and keeping your brain working well in general. The more you challenge yourself by reading interesting books, solving puzzles, and learning something new on a regular basis, the better your brain will perform for you in general.
We’ve already talked about the benefits of learning something new on a regular basis. Don’t stop there. Create some every-day challenges to work out your brain. Maybe it’s solving a crossword or Sudoku puzzle each morning. Maybe it’s surrounding yourself with critical thinkers who challenge you in conversation. Maybe it’s reading something uplifting each evening before bed.
Come up with some simple little things you can start to do regularly to make sure your brain stays active and sharp.
Find a new hobby that challenges your mind. Make new friends. Learn a new language or skill. Sign up for an online brain training game.
Make training your brain just as non-negotiable as eating a healthy diet and getting in your physical exercise. You’ll be happier and healthier for it for years to come, and it will really pay off big time as you get older. You can do a lot to combat the loss of cognitive function by actively working out your brain.
In addition to working out your brain in general, do as much as you can to encourage yourself to think positively and creatively. Solve some interesting puzzles. Come up with creative solutions to imaginary problems for the fun of it. Practice your daily affirmations, write in your journal, and remind yourself to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. The more you practice, the easier it will become; and you’ll actually be able to reshape your brain towards positivity and creativity.
Having Fun Helps Cultivate Positive & Creative Thinking
One of the things you hear again and again is how much fun it is to work there. As it turns out, having fun is an important part of cultivating positive and creative thinking.
Our brains simply work better when we’re having fun and are relaxed. You know this yourself. When you’re tense, worried, or intimidated, it’s hard to come up with something upbeat and creative. When you’re in a group of people or an environment where you’re having fun on the other hand, ideas will flow more freely.
Think about what you can do to make your environment more fun.
Add some color to your workspace. Let in some light and surround yourself with things that make you happy. Don’t take yourself and those around you too seriously. Have a laugh.
A great way to get into the right frame of mind when you’re collaborating to find a solution to a serious problem is to ask everyone to come up with the worst possible solution. You can even do this by yourself. Try to outdo each other and keep coming up with even worse solutions and scenarios. Not only does it help put your mind at ease and make you laugh, it also gets you to look at the problem from all angles and prepares you for getting creative in finding the best solution.
Having things to fidget, doodle, or play with can also be a big help.
We are able to focus our minds better, listen more actively, and pay more attention when our hands are busy. Keep a few little toys or, at the very least, a pen and paper close by. Figure out what helps you focus the most. Maybe, it’s a Rubik’s Cube. Maybe, it’s twirling a pen. Maybe, it’s having some play-dough or Lego’s to play with while you’re thinking. Figure out what helps you get into that creative and positive head-space where the great solutions are found.
Not only will you help your team at work, your friends, and your family think more creatively and positively by having more fun throughout the day, it also makes it a much more pleasant experience to be around each other. That in turn builds loyalty, friendship, and love that ensures that everyone involved is ready to give you their best. As an added bonus, you end up having a lot more fun throughout your day.