Do you keep a journal? I do. Sometimes I use my blog or at other times I just write in a book for my eyes only. It’s a great way to think things through and find patterns in your life. It’s a great way to record memories and personal growth. It’s also an excellent way to cultivate positive thinking habits.
“Habits” is the key word here. How we think is a habit. We grow accustomed to seeing the glass half full or half empty. We make it a habit to focus on the good stuff or the bad stuff. To get better at positive thinking, we have to make it a habit, and a journal can help us do that.
When we sit down to write, we focus our mind. We force ourselves to examine what we’ve been doing or thinking. It helps us clear our mind and find the important stuff. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing in an old fashioned journal, in a word document or blog on your computer, or if you use an app on your phone. The process of putting words on the page helps us organize and evaluate our thoughts. That’s why it’s such a valuable tool when it comes to building new habits.
By sitting down with your journal each day, you start to examine what you’ve done and how well you’ve kept up with the habit of thinking more positive thoughts. The beauty of a journal is that it is private. You can be – and should be – completely honest with yourself. Record your wins, but don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve slipped up and gone back to negative thought patterns.
It’s important that you realize when you do it. Until that happens, it’s hard to break those old habits. You have to realize when it’s happening. Once you do that, you can start to catch yourself in the process of sliding into negative thoughts. The next step is to stop in your tracks, realize what you’re about to do, and then find a way to turn it around. The journal will help you with that process by going back each day and examining when you did well and when you didn’t.
After a little while, you’ll see patterns emerge. Maybe you’re good about thinking positive thoughts until you come home at night. In that case, it may be time to figure out what’s giving you a negative vibe in your space. Maybe it’s small, dark, and too crowded. What can you do to make it a more positive and inviting space to live in? Maybe you find that you do well unless you get in contact with certain people. What can you do to change the relationship dynamic and keep from sliding back into negativity around them?
There’s a lot to be gained from journaling. Not only is it great for recognizing patterns and establishing new habits, but a journal will also document your progress. When you are feeling low and are wondering if all your hard work towards a more positive attitude is making a difference, go back and read earlier journal entries. You’ll see right away how much progress you’ve been making. It may be slow from day to day and hard to see, but over time all those small changes add up to something big. Give it a try!