Our thoughts are one of the most useful tools we have.
But they can also be troublesome.
Their potential to narrate breakthroughs and life-changing ideas is the same as their ability to drive us insane.
According to Stoics, the best tool that helps us make more sense of our thoughts is journaling.
It’s likely you’ve heard about it before, and if you are here, it means you are curious to learn more.
In this short introduction to journaling we explain why it can be so effective when practiced regularly, and list the benefits you can expect from it, if you make journaling your habit.
All this followed by a practical part! Cause there’s no real-life benefit without putting knowledge into action, obviously.
Daily journaling practice will help you give logical order to your thoughts.
Our cognitive minds tend to organize thoughts in a way similar to ever-expanding nets, or mind-maps. They are very plastic and movable structures.
In this form, it’s challenging to make narrative sense of your thoughts and trace the causality interwoven in them.
Writing engages a process called linear thinking. It is a structure we can use to help our thoughts flow in a straightforward, logical way.
Your mind gets trained when you write. Thanks to that, you will:
- make better decisions,
- gain deeper insights about yourself and life,
- lower your stress and anxiety levels,
- better process your emotions.
Journaling allows you to examine your thoughts from a bird’s-eye view.
When you are thinking or journaling, you are operating in the first-person mode. That usually makes you attached to whatever the mind is coming up with.
If write about those things, you can then go back and review your thought process, gaining a more objective third-person perspective.
This view from a distance will inform your usual first-person perspective, bringing you much closer to seeing the truth of your situation.
In Stoicism, the art of journaling is more than a daily diary. It is a tool for self-advancement.
To understand this, let’s look at the causality of journaling practice:
- Through writing, you can reflect on your day and the lessons gained from readings, conversations, and experiences.
- In order to actualize lessons you learn through your lived experience, you need to repeatedly work through your ideas.
- Writing helps you digest and implement new knowledge.
- This is the Stoic way of processing information. Stoicism and journaling go hand in hand.