Advertising
Advertising

Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY

Journal Writing: 5 Smart Reasons Why YOU Should Start doing it TODAY

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out. Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you do achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows? But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past. But you do make them… know why? Because you aren’t getting to the hidden lessons that life teaches you, and you can only get them through journal writing.

Stop missing out

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines.

Journal writing is the answer

What can best provide us with a means to understand our past, present, and future? What can document our struggles, wins, relationships, and lives; clear our minds and serve as a canvas to which we can spill our thoughts into. What can do all of this and more? The answer is journal writing.

Advertising

Does that sound good to you? Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Why do you think they work?

Let me ask you a question: how can journal writing help you improve your life? Will it help you clarify your thoughts when you’re upset? Will it help you better assess whether or not you’re working towards your goals? Maybe it will help you determine whether or not you’re on the proper career path? I don’t know, you tell me…

Now, do you have your answer? Good, because you’re answer is correct. Do you know how I know this? Because there is no wrong answer. No matter what you’ve decided, a journal can help you with it. That’s how flexible and useful a tool a journal is: it can help shed light on achieving any possible goal out there.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

Advertising

1. Journals help you have a better connection with your values, emotions, and goals

By journal writing about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you better understand your relationships to those things. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this; perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining so why should you, right? But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like its robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and a future there doesn’t look any better. The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you both know and care enough to do something about it, and the only reason you’re capable of fixing this problem is because your journal writing allowed you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve mental clarity/help solve problems/improve overall focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter. How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

For example, lets say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand. Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; E-mails I can do now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc. You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

Advertising

3. Journals improve insight and understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would’ve missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt? All of these questions can be answered by simply looking for the answers, but you can only look for them if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals track your overall development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows us to see how we’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell. The great thing about journals is that you’ll know where that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing you to learn from your mistakes.

Advertising

5. Journals facilitate personal growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what we end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. We can’t just look at a past entry in which we acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!” That’s the truth!

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes a journal such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Now it’s your turn

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

More by this author

How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus laptop for editing pdf files 6 Useful Tools for Easy Viewing and Editing PDF Files You Need To Know 5 Reasons Productivity is the Most Powerful Investment of Your Life 5 Tips to Get Started Working NOW organized m&m's Getting Organized Effectively in 9 Easy Steps

Trending in Communication

1 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 2 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 3 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need 4 What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship 5 7 Signs You’re Ready to Change Your Life (And What to Do Next)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

Advertising

People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

Advertising

What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

Advertising

Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

Advertising

When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Read Next