Journaling Your Way to Personal Growth
When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen. ~Author Unknown
When we are struggling to find solutions to life’s trials and unexpected detours, it seems to be basic human nature to reach out to those we believe to be more experienced, more knowledgeable, and somehow wiser than ourselves.
What you may not realize is that very often not only do you hold the key to the best answers for whatever challenges you may be facing, but learning to express your thoughts in writing is a powerful way to open your path to more meaningful personal growth.
Journaling for Personal Growth
Writing about what is happening in your life will help to clarify your thoughts so you can better understand what you’re feeling and why. When you write, your mind will naturally slow down as you search for the right words to express your feelings, and in the process you become more aware of your thoughts. When you read and summarize what you’ve written, it provides you with the opportunity to step back and look at things in new ways, maybe even from an entirely different perspective.
The Benefits of Journaling
- Builds self awareness
- Reduces stress and helps to work through problems
- Helps you to stay focused on your priorities and make better choices
- Brings out your natural creativity and wisdom
- Helps you identify your values
- Clarifies thoughts, feelings and behavior
- Reveals your greater potential
- Beneficial for healing emotionally, mentally and spiritually
- Helps you see yourself as an individual
- Connects you to the bigger picture of your life
If you have been reluctant to try journaling because you (think) you can’t write, or don’t know what to write about, it may help to understand that journaling isn’t about the quality of your writing, it’s about self-expression and awareness. As to the question of what to write, this is where journal prompts come in handy. There are a variety of directions you can go with prompts, but for the purpose of journaling for personal growth we’re going to focus on asking empowering questions.
Your mind will provide answers to whatever you dwell on, so what will you choose to place your focus on?
Questions have a dramatic effect on everything we do in life. By training ourselves to consciously ask empowering questions, we are able to direct our minds to focus on new possibilities and solutions.
Personal Growth Questions to Use as Journal Prompts
- What would I do differently if I knew nobody would judge me?
- What inspires me to do my very best?
- How do I define “success,” and what exactly would that look like in my life?
- What is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness?
- What is my greatest fear? How would my life change for the better if I overcame this fear?
- What one thing can I do today to change my future for the better?
- What am I most grateful for today?
- How can I add value to other people’s lives today? Who can I help today?
- What risk have I taken recently and what did I learn from it?
- What one thing have I always wanted to do, but haven’t. What has prevented me from doing it? What one thing can I do today to move closer to making it happen?
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. ~Albert Einstein
Probing troublesome situations with empowering questions can help to clarify your options, identify opportunities for growth and find solutions. In fact, sometimes when examining a problem in this way the solution turns out to be so obvious that you’re shocked you didn’t see it sooner.
Journaling Prompts for Problem Solving
- What am I willing to do to resolve this problem?
- What are my options?
- What is the right thing to do?
- What can I learn from this situation? Is there an opportunity for growth?
- Is there a way I can get a better result and enjoy the challenge?
- What is the worst that can happen if I don’t face this problem?
- What one step can I take today to begin resolving this problem?
The most effective way to solve any problem that arises in your life is to ask great questions, and keep asking them. The benefit of repetition is that the first few times you ask these questions there’s a good chance that lack of confidence or internal limiting beliefs may get in the way, so keep asking those great questions until you receive the answers you need.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you really want. ~Lao Tzu
Learning to express your thoughts in writing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth; in the process strengthening your resilience and sense of empowerment. After all, no one in this life knows better better than you do what is in your heart and what truly matters most to you.
How about you? Do you keep a journal? Have you ever tried journaling to work through a problem? If you journal, do you keep a traditional journal or do you prefer one of the online journal services?
P.S. Keri Smith creates some of the most unusual and thought-provoking journals you’ll ever find – it’s what she does. I selected a few of my favorites to share in the slide show in the sidebar.
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