Monday, December 15, 2008

The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Journaling allows leaders to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. It's often a good problem-solving tool where one can hash out a problem and arrive at a solution, which is easier on paper. When we experience a traumatic event, sometimes our emotions dominate our thinking. Journaling about traumatic events allows us to engage both the emotional and rational sides of our brain to make sure we're bringing our best possible thinking to bear.

Reduces stress – Journaling has been proven to reduce stress. Once you're journaling, you won't carry as much of what you have written about within you. It is on paper or in the computer. By journaling, you give yourself a powerful form of self-expression, and through that expression you gain clarity, release, and relief.
Problem Solving – Journaling is an effective way to think through problems until you reach a point of clarity. Putting your problems on paper avoids linear thinking about more complex problems. It allows you to see the many possible solutions so you can evaluate how each one will affect the people involved. Journaling allows you to overcome the brain's functional limitations by expanding the mental working memory that's available for problem solving.
Define Your Dreams and Goals – "Our dreams are the visions that shape our lives. Do you know what your dreams are? Have you stopped dreaming? Sometimes we do. At different points in our journey, both professionally and personally, it is so easy to get caught up in surviving that we stop dreaming. When we stop dreaming, we slowly begin to disengage from our work, from our relationships, and from life itself." (The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly) What do you want to accomplish? Journaling helps you to actually see and better understand what you want and what is important to you. It gives you the opportunity to explore your dreams and develop the goals that will allow you to realize your life's purpose. You create a personal checklist of things you want to accomplish and develop the action plans to make them happen.
Helps focus – Writing in a journal creates more personal awareness; therefore, more focus on the issues that are important to you. If you want to be a successful leader, you can explore the skills you will need to develop in order to obtain the results you want. You learn to focus on daily leadership opportunities and how you make a difference.

Health benefits – Research has proven that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions. It improves cognitive functioning while strengthening the immune system which in turn prevents a host of illnesses. Journaling is very therapeutic and counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.

Charting the Course for a Successful Leader

by Ed Ruggero and Dennis F. Haley

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