Journaling – A Powerful Introspection Tool

Nowadays, life is pretty demanding for most of us. From our daily Sisyphean tasks to the moment we lie down to sleep, we wade through a lot of ads, billboards, TV, radio, environmental noise, and stresses of life; we are bombarded with so many unnecessary stimuli that we barely have time to hear, let alone sort out our own inner thoughts. Our minds, at the end of the day, are pretty much jumbled up and tangled in many tight loops. And so we go through life like hamsters on a wheel.

Most of us do not have the least idea of how to get to know ourselves, to examine our own thought processes, and know what is really happening in our minds. We really need to delve deep inside our psyche so as to get to know ourselves better. As Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, succinctly puts it, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” In simple terms, do not go through life like a zombie; get some time for introspection. It is such a pity that most of us live like this and have never had an original thought in our lifetime: we seem to live a life of inherited thoughts and ideas.

Believe it or not, experts claim that on average the human brain processes between 60,000 to 80,000 separate thoughts per day. That means on average, our minds can compute a minimum of 2500 thoughts per hour (or 41 thoughts per minute) working on a 24 hour basis. Of course most of these are pretty much useless and banal musings not worth any further explorations. But we may also lose some gems as we cruise through life. This is where introspection and mindfulness come in. Once you are able to distinguish between the chaff and the gold, you are one step further up the enlightenment ladder, and journaling can help you climb up those rungs.

First of all, journaling, as a key to introspection, helps us organize our thoughts, follow that single thread, and untangle the jumbled mess in our minds.

When you write down things in your mind, you concentrate on a specific thought, you wade into that chaotic mess in order to find that golden needle in a proverbial haystack. From that chaos, you select that one lucid thought that reveals who you really are at the core. Putting things down in a coherent way helps you still the mind and reach through the murk and tumult to the calmness within. This helps with mindfulness, a way to deeper enlightenment.

How then do you go about it first? The easiest way is to follow this advice; learn to be quiet.

To emphasize the importance of calm and quiet time alone, Blaise Pascal, the philosopher, coined a phrase about humankind’s miseries arising from avoiding aloneness (see the graphic below). The roadblock to introspective journaling that most meet is that they are afraid of being alone with their thoughts. We seek to drown our own thoughts and ideas in useless conversations or with inebriating substances, rather than taking them and examining them closely to see where they might lead.http://www.motivation4success.net/

What we ought to do is sit still and write anything that comes to mind in a journal or on a sheet of paper or even an exercise book. It might seem scary at first or straight out stupid, but once you start, you will find it easy. The words will just roll out on their own. Most of the time you will be surprised by how much depth lies beneath those turbulent tides. Don’t be afraid of it, some of the things might be dark but that only proves that you are no longer in the shallows.

You will find out also that when you journal things you feel or think, most times it is cathartic just by itself (that is, it gives you relief, especially if you have experienced strong emotions). Don’t stop writing because you have had a bad day. You should write in your journal especially when you have gone through a stormy period. It helps you analyze your emotional makeup, your passions, desires, and inclinations in life. In the end, everything about yourself will come together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The various notes you write will be the ultimate map to self-awareness.

Deep introspection is easy to attain. All you need is time and the strength to face yourself in the mirror. Your true intentions and motives might scare you for a while but in order to understand yourself, you need to scrutinize yourself. So why not seek those few minutes alone, sacrificing just a little time to unwind and journey within the realms of your mind far from the madness of life? As the habit of journaling and mapping your inner landscapes takes root, you will find out that you will understand yourself better. Not only that, but you will also understand others a little more. This leads to better more fruitful, honest relationships.

Identify The Things That Get In The Way Of Your Life

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http://www.motivation4success.net/Have you ever felt like things are not going right in your life and everything is working against you? This happens to a lot of people who are in pursuit of a better life. So much gets into the way of our careers, relationships, dreams, and social life among other things and we just cannot seem to find peace and happiness. The best thing to do when you find yourself in such a situation would be to work on identifying things that are getting in the way of your life. How will this help? You may ask.

The truth is that life does not just get to a standstill for no apparent reason. If you look all around you, the answers will always be there. Knowing what is standing in your way is the most important step to clearing the path and taking ownership of your life. As you identify the obstacles, you get an idea where exactly you need to start fixing up. However, it may not be as easy as it sounds if you are not committed to taking all the necessary steps. You will need to ask yourself a few questions and answer them earnestly.

The most important thing to remember is that no one owes you a perfect relationship or perfect life. Therefore, whatever your discoveries may be, you will have to be the one to work on finding a solution and take the lead in the journey towards the life you want. Below are the questions you need to ask yourself and what you will need to do to identify the things that get in the way of your life;

  • Are you sabotaging yourself?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself. Do not leave the devil in you relaxed and in peace to find him elsewhere. This is one thing most people try to avoid and the truth they do not want to face. But, unless you are ready to look deep inside you and search for your weaknesses or what you are not doing right, you are most likely to struggle with the same issues until you are ready to face the truth and change. How are you conducting yourself? What are your habits and are they aligned with your goals and purpose? Do you know who you are and where you are going? Are you doing what is necessary for you to be where you think you should be? Are you being too hard on yourself? Is fear or lack of confidence stopping you from moving forward? Are you an overspender? If you have asked yourself these questions, done quality self-introspection, and have found no fault, you can then continue to look elsewhere.

  • Are Your Strategies Working?

http://www.motivation4success.net/Sometimes the only thing that stands in your way can be your chosen way of doing things. It is possible that when you sat down to do your planning it looked like you had the best strategy but the implementation stage is proving otherwise. Find the weaknesses in your strategies and make some changes. Look for help if the activity is proving too difficult for you and you are running out of ideas.

  • Is It Goal Setting?

Setting goals is not as simple as just having an idea and writing it out. It is a skill. Understand what goal setting really is and ensure that you set achievable goals that are accompanied by winning strategies. Also, try and align your goals and your beliefs. It is okay to dream big and start where you are and with what you have. They say Rome was not built in one day and the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. Pushing yourself too hard can make you doubt yourself and the feasibility of your dreams and goals.

  • Are You Misunderstood?

Sometimes we struggle to build relationships with others, find certain jobs, or be accepted in various social spaces simply because people misunderstand us. Sometimes there is little to nothing that we can do to change what people think of us. However, we can try and find ways to portray ourselves or act in a way that allows us to play our part. For example, where people think you are of a certain class that disqualifies them from interacting or involving you in activities, you can take it upon yourself to participate in the activities without being asked or simply show interest through inquiring about those particular activities.

  • Is Someone Else Sabotaging You?

It is possible to ‘earn’ yourself some enemies through good works or past mistakes. However, you need to be careful before you make and act on such assumptions to avoid ruining your relationships with people. If you know that a certain person is sabotaging you, find a mature way of handling it, or avoid crossing paths with him or her. We always have various options that some people cannot reach. The worst thing that you can do when you know that someone is trying to oppose you is making the person your enemy and spending time and energy on fixing them or revenging. It will only add weight to your burdens.

  • Now Journal What You Have Learnt

What have you learnt from this exercise? Anything? Did you just read the text? Did it mean anything to you? What thoughts went through your head as you read each section? Did any of it apply to you? What could you do about it? If you can do something, when will you start? How will you start? Do you need any help with this? If so, who could provide it?