I've been journaling for over 30 years. When I first started out, my journal was pretty one-dimensional — serving largely as an outlet for expressing and processing my reactions to life's ups and downs.
But over time, journaling has become a sort of swiss army knife for me. I use it for so many different purposes, and the effect has been transformational for me.
Below are 12 different functions that "swiss army knife" fulfills for me — things I've discovered I can offer myself through journaling.
Calling you back to your truest Self and your highest and best intentions.
Helping you to stay mindfully in this moment instead of racing ahead in your thoughts.
Wrapping yourself in love, kindness, and compassion — and cultivating those feelings toward others too.
Constructively releasing pressure that has built up — stress, emotions, a jumble of thoughts, etc.
Letting you see your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors — and your own sacred nature — so you can understand more fully who you are.
Tracing the patterns running through your life's story, so you can find meaning and new possibilities.
Offering new vantage points for looking at yourself, your experiences, the people in your life, and the opportunities and choices before you.
Pointing you toward what matters most and toward decisions that feel wise and authentic.
A place where you can plant the seeds of new ideas and nurture their growth.
Allowing you to examine potential paths forward, choose the best route, and chart your course toward a goal.
Where you can safeguard gems you want to be able to come back to — important memories, insights, lessons learned, sources of joy, etc.
An important thing to keep in mind is that few of these "tools" are as potent on their own. It's artfully combining them that offers the most potential for personal, professional, and/or spiritual growth.
The heart of this how-to guide to journaling will be about how to do that — key ingredients and techniques for reflective writing with true potential for transformation.
But first let's talk about what that transformation can look like...