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How well do you know yourself? Most of us would answer that question without thinking twice by saying, “Of course I know myself—I know everything there is to know about myself.” It is a seemingly easy question with an even more seemingly obvious answer. But what if I told you that during this journey called life, many of us will barely scratch the surface of who we really are? Also Read - Regular Exercise May Lower the Risk of Developing of Anxiety by 60% Says Study
As baffling as that may seem, it also makes a great deal of sense. Just like it takes some time to get to know a stranger, it takes time and effort to get to know our ever-changing selves. But how can we truly know who we are when we barely get a second alone? Also Read - ENG vs IND 2021: Ajinkya Rahane Names Bowler Who Can Fill-up For Hardik Pandya's Absence, Respects Ben Stokes Decision to Take a Break
Solitude is our most powerful tool for self-reflection and is necessary for us to get in touch with our true selves. Einstein, Da Vinci and countless other inspiring and influential individuals shared a mutual appreciation for solitude and kept track of their thoughts in journals—many of which have been published. This is not to say that keeping a journal is a prerequisite for attaining any sort of genius, but by studying the ordinary habits of these brilliant minds we see that maybe they were not so different from us after all—perhaps they just knew themselves better than we know ourselves.
Solitude allows us to find ourselves, and journaling is a means of consolidating what we find along the way. Writing down our self-reflective thoughts is a way for us to communicate with our minds and ask some of life’s most important questions, such as: Who are we? What does life mean to us? What kind of life do we want to live?
Living in the age of distraction, it can be more and more challenging to slow down and think about these thoughts. Between work, school, our social lives and families, most of us have our hands full. What we do not realize is that when we take a break from the world and all of its distractions, we are able to get in touch with the deepest parts of our inner psyche. Sometimes that is exactly what we need—to tune out the world and tune into our deepest thoughts. But when we get caught up with our on-the-go, 9-to-5 lives where we are only rewarded for each item checked off our to-do list, it is difficult to remember that this is not all there is to life.
The society we live in encourages us to let superficial factors define who we are. But contrary to popular belief, you are not your career, and you are not the clothes you wear or the car you drive. You are much more than that, which is why it is so important to know yourself—and what better way to do that than by writing to, and about, yourself.
Anyone can reap the benefits of journaling, and there are a few different ways of going about this (thanks to smartphones, there is an app for everything). For many individuals, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting pen to paper. Some might consider paper journals archaic, but in a society as fast-paced as ours, it can be extremely liberating to take 30 minutes out of your day to ditch your smartphone and unplug from the fast paced technological world.
Three must-try journaling apps for Apple users are Askt ($2.99), HeyDay (Free) and DayOne ($4.99). Askt is a new kind of journaling app that focuses on helping to get to know yourself by presenting a different question on a daily basis to answer about yourself. The app will then track your answers and let you compare them year after year to see how you have grown emotionally.
HeyDay is a photo journaling apps for those obsessed with capturing moments through photos. It can import all the photos you take on your iPhone and create a media-rich journal. You can go back later to add thoughts and descriptions to photos and memories.
Last but not least is DayOne, which has a clever and rich feature that lets you integrate photos, current location, weather data, and more into your journal entries.
With that being said, here are three reasons why you should start journaling today:
1. Leaving a legacy: One great thing about keeping a journal is that it provides us with a means to leave behind a piece of ourselves in this world. We have the option to share them with loved ones if we choose to do so. However, if we do not wish to share our personal thoughts with anyone else, it is still great to be able to look back at old entries years later to see how much you have grown. With our hectic schedules, life can be a bit of a blur, but a journal helps keep our memories, ideas and thoughts alive.
2. A healthy way to destress: We all have days when we need to vent. Sometimes the clutter in our head builds up to a point where we actively seek out ways to deal with it. When in this situation, it helps to have an outlet to channel those feelings. Writing is proven to be an effective coping mechanism to help relieve stress and organize our thoughts. Transferring your thoughts onto paper can feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
3. Helps us to create a life worth living: Think about the kind of life you want to live. Are you taking steps every day towards achieving that life? Seeing our goals written out can help us align our behavior with our thoughts so we can work towards living the life that we want, instead of just dreaming about it. After all, what good are our beliefs if they do not translate into our behavior? Writing a mission statement in your journal in which you explain what you stand for, and what your purpose in life is, can serve as a reminder that you are the architect of your own life.
To live a fulfilling life, you must know who you are. Taking the time to get to know yourself is the most important decision you will ever make and keeping a journal can assist you on this continuous journey of self-discovery.