Every day we are bombarded with more and more information.
Online, news, digital, emails – the list is seemingly endless.
Trying to even distinguish, let alone retain, what is important has become a task in itself.
The more we accumulate mental baggage, the greater the need to free our minds for what really matters.
This is even more important in cases of trauma, illness or depression. Holding on to excessive thoughts, replaying moments, conversations and scenarios over and over, can lead to lethargy and fatigue.
Self reflecting in a journal, writing about relationship problems or family concerns or anything that requires greater focus or introspection, can help you manage stress and anxiety.
Alternatively, holding on to these thoughts for extended periods means you risk using up precious resources -like time and energy- on thinking and over thinking.
Thinking and decision making takes up a lot of energy. There is a reason why Steve Jobs wore the same combination of clothes every day, to take away the myriad of fashion choices and eliminate decision fatigue.
Focusing on anything requires time and energy and it is said that the average human has anything from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts each day, with a strong lean towards the negative.
Rather than restraining those negative feelings, journaling offers a structured way of organising and expressing your thoughts instead of concealing them.
Jake Desyllas of the Voluntary Life is a big proponent of journaling and a process he describes as Mental Decluttering. “It’s about clearing all the crap from your head so that you have the freedom to think clearly,” says Desyllas, who uses journaling as a way of freeing up his head space to enable creative thinking to take place.
Not just for creative thinking, writing down your thoughts is a way of privately realising and expressing a wide variety of emotions without sharing with others or revealing every aspect of yourself to the world.
Even writing down a few jumbled sentences can help “offload” problems or thoughts that could fester if not acknowledged.
By keeping a journal you will be in good company. Famous creatives like Ernest Hemmingway, Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag all kept extensive journals or notebooks.
Today more than ever, privacy is important and not everyone wishes to constantly vlog or tweet their innermost feelings out to the world for acceptance, confirmation or judgement.
That’s OK, because you can write it in your journal instead.