The Amazing Benefits of Thought Journaling
Research indicates that we have more than 70 thoughts a minute, or more than 4,000 per hour. Yogi Bhajan, a yogic philosopher, suggest that we have 1,000 thoughts in the blink of an eye, which equates to 3.5 million thoughts per hour.
Thought journaling is one of the most tremendous tools to work through poor concentration. I have found that writing out thoughts in a constructive way allows me to get back to being more mindful in a deeper dimension. It forces us to sit down and really think about the meaning (good or bad) of what arose from our subconscious to now be present in the conscious mind. We are teaching ourselves to go inward. Ultimately, this allows our minds to get back to higher brain functioning such as clearer strategic problem solving and more intuitive decision making.
There are so many journal techniques out there, and I personally use quite a few of them to help my clients work through their thoughts. Here is one thought journaling recommendation that my great teacher, Kia Miller, taught me, and it has become a critical tool in the Clarity Kingdom toolkit help my clients to overcome workplace obsession. I hope that it helps you as well.
Step 1: Figure out if the thought is past, present or future. It sometimes can be present and future. You can also pick all three. There is no right answer, but it is important that you rationally try to bucket it.
Step 2: Ask yourself if the thought is true or false. Follow your intuition on this one. You can always come back and change your answer once you get more clarity if this feels too complex.
Step 3: This is where you dive into the deeper meaning of the thought. I challenge you to ponder the underlying belief and/or desire. What is the trigger? What is the struggle? What is the label? You may not have an immediate answer, but start writing and see what comes. If you are still stuck, it can be helpful to talk about it with a friend.
For example, when I was in India meditating, I had a thought that my husband died. My immediate first response was that this means that I am a caring wife for worrying about my husband during my personal meditation time. The awakening came as my teacher and a wise friend said frankly to me, “These are thoughts related to dependency issues. There is a deeper meaning here.” I am so grateful for them pointing out this attachment, and even today, I try to be aware and mindful of when my co-dependency fears creep up. I feel very blessed for this experience.
Step 4: Lastly, you need to ask yourself if you need to take an action or not. I’ve found that something magical happens in this stage. The process of actually writing it down and deciding what to do, somehow puts it in the universe’ hands to take care of it for you. With recurring thoughts, they tend to disappear shortly after. If there is an action for you to take, writing it down either puts a fire under your tush, or fears associated with procrastination will creep in to remind you to act.
What works for you? Please give thought journaling a try, or if you’re already journaling, what techniques do you find most useful? Please share in the comments below!
Heather, I love this. I have a real problem ‘journaling’ because I feel like everything I write sounds so dumb or else I worry that someone is going to read my journal and see how dumb it sounds…clearly these are other ‘issues’ I have to consider but I think I can really take your step-by-step as an objective practice and break through. Thank you!
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