The Power Of Journaling | Stoic Exercises For Inner Peace

The Power Of Journaling | Stoic Exercises For Inner Peace


Journaling is the habit of keeping a diary
or log about our experiences, ideas, insights and anything else that life evokes in
our minds. The Stoics have a long standing tradition
in journaling, with Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations as clearest evidence. Writing our thoughts down has several benefits,
which I’ll explore in this video: The Power of Journaling. First of all, thank you High Light Healing
and Joel for your generous PayPal donations. And thank you Fernando, Tisha and Garrett
for generously supporting me on Patreon. I appreciate it, guys! Also, I’d like to thank José for adding
Portuguese subtitles to some of my videos, which is now possible if you want to make
this content understandable for non-English speaking audiences. Thank you! Now, let’s dive in. Marcus Aurelius never meant to publish his
diaries. This makes it more plausible that the contents
of his Meditations are his honest thoughts about a variety of topics. I could imagine that because a man in the
position of emperor and most powerful person in the world didn’t have any equals to talk
to, and, therefore, resorted to pen and paper as an outlet. But it could also be that Marcus knew very
well about the psychological benefits that journaling brings. Anyhow, his writings have provided humanity
with profound wisdom to this day, and, thus, we could say that by journaling he built his
own personal bible, which proved to be invaluable for many generations after him. This brings me to the first benefit of journaling. (1) Preserving personal life lessons. It’s great to have access to other people’s
experiences and learn about life by reading books or watching YouTube videos. But there’s nothing like our own individual
experiences. Every person is unique and so is every situation. And I believe that the only person we should
compare ourselves with when it comes to personal growth, is our own past self. By keeping track of our personal life lessons,
we will know where and when – exactly – things went wrong and things went right. Why is this important? Many people make the same mistakes over and
over again and just never seem to learn. By having certain key moments in writing,
it’s easier to remember what we usually forget, so we can make wiser decisions in
the present and future. (2) Illuminating what’s in the dark. For those who’ve seen my video about the
shadow probably know what I’m talking about. In Jungian psychology, the shadow is the realm
in the unconscious that harbours unwanted personality aspects, thoughts and desires. Because we all wear a mask to show ourselves
to society in a desirable manner, everything that’s undesirable is kicked down into the
shadow. What’s so dangerous about this is that the
shadow can manifest itself in very destructive ways. Journaling is a way to make sense of our own
shadow behaviors, and keep track of when they emerge and what the look like. By doing this, we shine a light on our unconscious
inner world and, bit by bit, we basically journal ourselves into our souls. (3) Strengthening discipline. Keeping a journal everyday is a discipline
on its own. That’s why it’s hard to stick to it. But, when we manage to write a journal every
day, this affects other areas in life as well. Discipline is contagious. When I do something in a disciplined way,
like exercise, I will automatically become more disciplined in regards to my nutrition
and sleep, and let go of bad habits that obstruct the good ones. The effect with journaling is similar; because
I journal about my activities I’m more inclined to actually do these activities. For example, one of my key habits in regards
to this channel is that I write down my daily goals on the night before. Even if it’s just one simple goal like ‘writing
a video script’. This helps me to stay disciplined the next
day, because it’s clear what I have to do and the burden of the future limits itself
to that task alone. This not only strengthens discipline but reduces anxiety as well. (4) Reduce anxiety. Writing down your thoughts brings relief. Life can be very chaotic and food for destructive
overthinking. Thinking – especially overthinking – is what
causes anxiety. Psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker
from the University of Texas found that journaling removes emotional blockages and allows us
the better ‘grasp’ what’s going on, and helps us to come to terms with stressful
events. Simply put: journaling creates order out of
chaos. In way, it’s like cleaning a room. We take all the mess and put everything in
perfect order, remove the dust and make sure it looks good. With journaling, we take the mess of our mind,
put in into words and remove the nonsense. This way, we basically lose our thoughts on
paper; saved for future consultation. We don’t have to hold on to them anymore,
which is a soothing idea. After sharing these benefits with you, here
are some words of caution though. In an article on Psychology Today Dr. Steven
Stosny writes that journaling, when done wrong, can have negative effects on the mind as well. Journaling can make people self-obsessed,
passive towards life (meaning: observing instead of taking action), wallowing in the past,
going on and on about all the bad things that have happened to them. His advice on good journaling is, in a nutshell,
doing it constructively, so it leads to solutions. So, that’s it for today! If you have experienced other benefits of journaling, please post them in the comment section. Thank you for watching.