Organizing Your Brain: How Journaling Makes You a Better Person

Organizing Your Brain: How Journaling Makes You a Better Person

Organizing Your Brain: How Journaling Makes You a Better Person

I have been journaling since I was in first grade. My journal at the time was a flowery, pink diary with a lock and key, and I distinctly writing a diary entry about Andrew liking me, and how maybe I like Andrew back, but I’m not sure. I still journal, although I don’t write about Andrew anymore.

 

If I hadn’t shredded my journals from grade school, high school, and pre-college, I would have hundreds of pages of words, thoughts, and doodles. I shredded them because the words no longer reflected my thoughts, my personality, or my goals and fears, so I let them go. However, I have kept my journals from the last nine years—about 2,000 pages on Microsoft Word on my computer.

 

Journaling has allowed me to become the person I am today: a much calmer, more patient, less fearful, and wiser woman. Journaling has allowed me to tell my story, even if the only person who reads that story is my future self. Journaling has given me a voice. That’s because journaling organizes my thoughts and helps me cope with the mess that’s inside my brain.

 

 

Journaling is organization


I don’t always journal in a coherent, narrative like manner. Often, I make lists or just jot down words. When I list my thoughts and feelings, I am organizing them in attempt to make meaning. As humans, we naturally want to organize everything we see around us in attempt to make meaning. Does this matter? Is this a threat? Is that beneficial to me? What does this mean?

 

Journaling has helped me create and accomplish goals, as well as identify and defeat my fears.

 

My perfectionist personality causes me to obsess over things (that’s not surprising, huh?), and obsessions cause anxiety and stress for me. So, I will often write a list of obsessions I have, what they really mean, and how I can conquer and eliminate these obsessions.

 

Here’s an example:


Obsessions:

Sleeping: I am having trouble sleeping, and even a soft noise or a slight movement will wake me. The more I think about it, the harder it is to sleep.

  1. Where does this come from? I think that I am actually scared of someone breaking in while I am asleep and unable to defend myself.
  2. Why? We have recently moved, and living on the first floor makes me feel less safe.
  3. What can I do to end this obsession and relieve my stress from it? I can remind myself that there’s only so much I can control: I can make sure the windows and doors are double locked at night, that I have taken precautions, and then trust that everything will be fine. Other than that, there’s not much else I can control. I just have to have faith.

Step 1:

Write down the thing that’s bugging you.

 

Step 2:

Write down from where you think this issue stems. What brought it on?

 

Step 3:

Why do you think this issues plagues you?

 

Step 4:

How can you remedy this? What steps can you take to feel better or begin to relieve this issue?

 

Step 5:

Take the necessary steps to relieve this issue, and hold yourself accountable. Continue to journal about your progress.


 

 

Once I empty my mind of that obsession and identify its meaning, I can organize it somewhere in my brain. In this case, I can file it away to “don’t worry about it” and stop obsessing. Aside from my habit of locking doors and windows, there’s nothing else I can do. I have to let it go. Now that it’s on paper, I can.

 

I highly suggest you start journaling. No one has to read it—you can even rip it up when you’re finished! But writing is merely thinking on paper. And sometimes, our thoughts can be so many that they’re too difficult to organize and file away. We need to make sense of what we’re thinking and feeling. Writing down our thoughts and feelings is the first step. Even if you just create lists of “obsessions” like I do, I truly believe it will help your mental and emotional wellbeing.

 

Brigit

My goal is to help you become more organized so that you can spend your time in meaningful ways.
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