Attaining and maintaining mental clarity and focus is increasingly hard in today’s always connected distraction fest. With the ubiquity of technology insidiously designed to draw your attention the monkey mind is more powerful than ever.
Those interested in de-cluttering their minds should try keeping a journal. I’ve kept a consistent journal practice for the last five years or so and while it is no panacea, I find it helps me to calm down during times of stress and anxiety.
Journaling is cathartic. By writing out your thoughts you allow them to escape an overstimulated brain. By dumping your thoughts on a page you give yourself space to think. An added benefit is that when you have to write them down, you are forced to clarify your thoughts.
Journaling can help you work through a difficult problem. Once you’ve inscribed your thoughts, you may find you’re able to look at them from a different angle.
As for how often you should journal, here is where my advice may differ from the norm. I know many people recommend you should journal every day, but that is not how I approach my journaling practice.
I journal when I feel like it. Sometimes this is once a day, sometimes more. Sometimes I go a week or two without journaling, but I always come back to my journal eventually.
The reason for the irregularity of my journaling schedule is because it’s something I like to do and I feel that forcing it into a more regimented schedule would lessen its appeal. So, I ‘go with the flow.’ I journal as much, or as little, as I need to.
Now, this is what works for me. If you’re trying to start a new journaling habit it’s probably best you journal every day for the first ninety days or so to firmly hook the habit into your brain. After that, you may find you prefer to approach your journaling on a more flexible schedule like me.
If you’re interested in keeping a journal I have a recommendation for what kind of journal you should use. I only journal in a ruled, medium sized Leuchtturm Hardcover Notebook. I first found out about the Leuchtturm from Neil Gaiman, and I haven’t looked back since. You’ll find it hard to put pen to paper of any other notebook after experiencing the superior quality and space of the Leuchtturm. These notebooks are both durable and spacious. They also include little stickers on the inside envelope so you can file and organize your journals once they’ve been filled.
If you’re interested in improving your thought process and mental clarity and you don’t already journal, I highly recommend you give it a try. It may be difficult at first, but once you’ve firmly embedded the habit, you’ll find you look forward to filling up the pages of your journal.