CONTENTS: (See detail of each journal, below.)
The logistics of journaling
My Journal (See "Related", right sidebar.)
My Happiness Diary
Resources and articles - See at bottom.
Because it is effective.
[By "effective" I mean it has "effects" right this minute on clearing your mind, settling it, in some way as a short term benefit, AND, I believe, it must be used to create long term effects, to better one's life, with full followup review of what I can gain/correct/use in my life, so that I am not just writing about problems or whatever that repeat themselves, but so that I am resolving/solving/improving in the area so that my life is solidly built on a strong foundation of beliefs and thinking that works! (See, and fully utilize, Effective Journaling - Getting The Greatest Results In Your Life! .)]
It not only has you "experience" your life in more depth but it adds back more "life" as you write and look at what is going on. If you add some of the techniques in this website, you can even enhance the effect immensely.
There is a scientifically proven long-term effect on happiness of just journaling daily 3-5 items for which you are grateful for.
In this era of "immediate gratification" and "give me results right now", this exercise may seem like it has no effect. But it does. It tends to build a
muscle that adds strength to one's life and increases the ability to observe what is going on (the first step to any progressive process), to enjoy it and/or modify it for the next time. But it happens layer by layer, with no seeming effect, until one day you realize things are "better" - you're more mellow, more in control, your life is easier. Your brain becomes more alert and more intelligent, as it is re-wired and enhanced through the process of using those "circuits" in the brain so that your capacity and ability are much greater.
"One of the benefits of journaling is that it forces specificity and thereby engages the higher brain's reasoning power and specificity power. In fact, noting down that a thing you were scared about actually resulted in "nothing actually happening" engages the reconditioning of the fear system to lead to extinction of the fear. (The gradual exposure to something feared is often used to extinguish fears, phobias, and anxieties, as our primitive brain gets the message over and over that "nothing actually happens", so it sees there is no threat to react to!)"
Read and be clear about all the effects of writing it down (link above), so that you will be convinced of and know the value of journaling and other written practices.
A particularly good effect from a practice I suggest you add is to "solve" (or learn from) immediately anything that comes up. For instance, in the Improvements Journal, a format where you write down an impressive action by someone and then in the response column you write down that you will commit to do it, and any action you will take (like rehearsing the cool moves and/or facial expressions). If you're experiencing being "down" in any way, you can write your internal conversations that are pulling you down and then, right away or when you are brighter, you write a response that is more true, rational, and healthy.
THE LOGISTICS OF JOURNALING
Have at least one bound journal that can be opened so it is flat. Preferably a full page size (about 8 1/2 x 11), so you can have more room to flow more thoughts or do diagrams or pictures. If you need to, you can buy one with a lock.
Keep it by your bedside (or any convenient place that is very easily accessible).
Use it at a set time (or two) each day. Often the late evening is a good time to wrap up the day, being sure to include a few things that you are grateful for and/or worked out for you.
After you write something put in large lettering above it (so it can be identified later) what it is about. Examples: Gratitude, appreciations, affirmation, philosophy, psych issue, etc.
The supplement approach is to use a "journaling by subject", with tabs for key subjects or using a "tree outline" journaling software. See For Your Journaling - Just Do This, for how to set this one up - it is my most preferred.
MY JOURNAL (The general journal for all my journaling)
People who write about what is happening in life notice what is happening and by that greater consciousness and awareness are able to make better choices in life. Doing this also adds meaning and depth to life. If utilized in certain ways (see the writeup), it can help one identify issues and concerns so that they can be more permanently resolved, for greater peace of mind.
The purpose of this journal is to write out everything you are grateful for so that you will hard wire your brain for being grateful and to create greater happiness by focusing on this side of life. It is a strong base for being happy, but is often seen as perfunctory and not meaningful. Although it is "simple", it has been identified to create a whole new life and to change the hardwiring in the brain if done over a period of nine months or longer. People who write down 5 things they are grateful for during the day report a significantly higher degree of happiness each day. See How To Keep A Gratitude Journal at eHow.com.
The purpose of this diary is to increase our happiness level through awareness and, believe it or not, through changing the "hard wiring" of our brain to notice AND to seek out happiness causers. It helps to cultivate positive feelings and to experience them more deeply. It also changes one's perspective on life, which has a much greater effect than improving one's circumstances in life - and it is much more under our control. Greater effect, more control over causing it - a very potent combination.
As soon as possible after experiencing happiness or anything positive, write it down in detail and rate the feeling on a scale of 1 to 100.
Although it would be a good lifetime habit, do it for at least three months (or even a few weeks if that is all you can manage).
(Link, above. Possible alternate titles: My Racket And False Beliefs Journal, My Analytical, Progressive Journal, My Journal Of Increasing Power, or think up a name that would "feel right" and good to you....)
RESOURCES AND ARTICLES