Journaling: A Simple Tool for Self-Reflection

Have you ever read an article, a book, or watched a movie that spurred you to do some great reflections on your own life? I have been there. Going through periods of evaluating my current mental and emotional state, as well as identifying the gaps between where I once was, where I am now, and where I would love to be, have become a regular occurrence for me. No matter how often it is done, I find that there is always something different to uncover. I will probably be talking about self-reflection a lot on Witted Roots, because it is a concept that has helped me to re-evaluate what it is that makes me ME.

It All Starts With One Question

It is not easy to engage ourselves in deep reflection, especially when it involves tackling very deep-seated issues that have never been encouraged to make their way to the surface before. As daunting as it might seem, it all starts with one question: What is it that makes me, ME? What about my past has had an impact on my present? How have these things affected the way that I perceive my space in the world?

Okay, so that was more than one question, but I’m sure you get my drift.

It is even harder to do this transformative, deep reflection when there is no tool readily available, that allows you to sustain such heavy mental work. Any tool utilized should be effective at allowing you the space to recall thoughts and conclusions that have already been made, or to lay out a plan for gradually decreasing the gaps that were mentioned earlier. It should also be relatively simple to acquire and use.

So, what’s this awesome tool that I really love, and I think that you would benefit from as well? Journals! Yes, as in write your thoughts and feelings on paper, in a book that is typically just for your eyes only. Sounds simple enough, but don’t take the power of writing lightly. Here is a favorite of mine. Oh, and this too.

You’ve probably had a journal before, as a child to describe your eventful school days, or to lament the existence of the mean social circles and endless drama. You may even have a notebook right now that you use to record your thoughts sporadically. Maybe you never really gave much thought to the possibility of consistent journaling being beneficial to your mental and emotional well being, but I think it’s worth a second look.

Guided Journaling

Guided journaling in particular can help you to make a dent in facing the things that we would sometimes try to repress. It essentially involves the recording of your personal experiences, thoughts and reflections, but doing so with a word, or prompt as a guide. The prompts allow you to have a deeper consideration of the self, forcing you to think a little harder, dig a little deeper, and quite honestly, experience some discomfort. The discomfort happens for a variety of reasons: a painful memory of a loved one or traumatic event, a friendship that has ended on not-so-amicable terms, or a revelation of how your current relationship with self developed. 

I have always loved to journal my thoughts, but usually ended up with a bunch of notebooks that had no rhyme or reason. My thoughts were a jumble, and I came to a standstill about what to focus on on, or how I can make steps towards positive self-development.

When you do a search for journals, you end up with millions of results that don’t quite fit with the image that you had in mind. It’s even harder finding journals that include guides and prompts that encourage introspection. So, I created my own! It’s a bit rough around the edges admittedly, but I put together lists of different questions and prompts that resonated with me, and formatted them in a way that allowed me to focus on one theme at a time. (I have a related, awesome announcement coming within the next couple of months, so keep an ear out.)

Healing can only begin when you first come face to face with your “demons”, tackle the roots of their existence, and allow yourself the opportunity to move forward without its weight keeping your rooted in a space that wasn’t meant for you. Just as we place a great focus on our physical health (and rightly so!), your mind and soul deserve to be nurtured in a way that unearths hurtful things, and allow for positive enlightenment to take their place. 

I know that, regardless of age or the period that you are in within your lifecycle, you are busy. The idea of taking time out for yourself each day seems almost impossible, especially to write some notes in a book. Trust me, I completely understand it, because I often made the same  excuses not to journal. What was always obvious to me though, is that we all have a natural desire for self-care, it just tends to be buried under the rubble of the drone-like life that have become accustomed to. Once we begin tapping into that, and making the decision to take better care of ourselves on a regular basis, there is only onward movement from there.

Your lifestyle, career, and relationships can never truly be nurtured and flourishing without YOU taking care of yourself first. YOU are the roots, and using reflection to get to the bottom of them are integral to you moving forward.

A Promise To Yourself

I would like for you to make one promise to yourself today. Even if it is just fifteen minutes of your day, between classes, or on a rare break from work, make the effort to engage in some self-reflection. Even without a notebook, a notes app on your phone can be a convenient replacement. It would not be a threat to your routine, yet you will be making small, but significant, contributions to your own mental and emotional well being.

I’m so happy that you stuck with me all the way to the end. Let me know in the comments below if you are a fan of journaling, and if not, would you consider giving it a try?

Rooting For You,

Shan