Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Journaling: the introvert's confidante
Are you reserved or shy?
Do you pick your words carefully before voicing your opinion? Are you overly cautious before sharing feelings even within your close circle? Welcome to the world of introversion.
Relieving your cluttered mind
We may be quiet on the outside, but we have lots to say. Introverts are very observant and, often after balanced consideration, have plenty of opinions about current events, long term goals, self-care, business decisions, and more. Because we are often guarded about speaking out, especially with our most controversial views, we can suffer from a “full head.”
Perhaps you have already met one of my best friends, my confidante…journaling. Journaling is our remedy for relief. While it’s not just for introverts, it plays a prominent role in my life…helping me work through issues, providing a vehicle for celebrating magic moments, and sparking my own creativity. Journaling will help you speak your mind!
Journaling provides clarity
For much of my 30 years in corporate America, I struggled to cope with all the chatter and pressure of my leadership roles. I often went home exhausted. I crashed on the couch, barely able to communicate with my family. My thoughts, worries, conflicts, and anticipated tense work conversations swirled in my cluttered head.
In the depth of my struggles during my ex-pat assignment in London, I found my salvation through journaling. I began to jot down reflections during my long train commutes. I shared my frustrations and tried to solve my problems. I lamented some decisions and I got some fear and anger off my chest. By the time I reached my countryside station, I had figured out a few things and relieved myself of a couple of heavy weights. Now I was either better prepared to have those difficult conversations with staff or challenging managers, or I realized through my notations that such a discussion may not prudent. In either case, I was able to transition home with a better outlook.
1. Buy a special notebook
2. Find a reflective space
3. Know no one else has to ever see your journal
4. Free flow your thoughts onto paper
5. Be flexible on the days or time you journal
6. Secure your notebooks
Journaling helped me survive many tough times. It helped me get my priorities straight and finally put family first before I plummeted too far down an irreversible path. My journals continue to provide a friendly companion that enables me to purge my mind of my worries, fears, guilt, and shame. It is like a pressure relief valve that helps me reset.
My life is simpler, more stable, much happier now. Since those days, I lean on journaling to celebrate magic moments and capture excitement and success. I journaled after a two-day 170-mile charity bicycle ride to capture my progress and bask in the glory of one of my greatest personal accomplishments:
I’ve literally been daydreaming about the final stretch to the Capitol for months. Finally, it was here! I took the rolling hills into Austin with vigor. As we crossed under I-35, the final few blocks lay ahead.
Next thing I knew, I turned the corner and there it was: the finish line two blocks down. Cheering crowds everywhere. I was beaming with excitement and pride. The guy next to me shrieked with joy and that popped the cork on my inhibitions. I screamed and threw my arms up in excitement for the moment and everything it stood for. I high-fived a few onlookers in the crowd as I passed the finish and then, suddenly, it was over.
But the excitement is still with me. I held nothing back. I didn’t back down from any challenge. I would have done nothing differently. I rode the ride my way, on my “Steel Horse,” pumping hard and standing tall, managing my time to my plan, and relishing in the final stretch I had dreamed about for months.
What a rush!
Journaling serves your purpose
Journaling doesn't have to be a vehicle to deal with sadness or tension. I journal about my dreams. I am kinder to myself, noting some positive decisions and actions to fend off the fleeting criticisms that circulate through many of our heads. My notebooks serve as a record of my life. Don't you have a few minutes to tap the benefits of journaling?
Journaling is flexible
I still journal today. Sometimes daily, other times weekly. Sometimes a few lines, other times several pages. And each time I finish, I feel a sense of relief and warmth. I guess you could say my memoir, In Search of Courage, is a compilation of revealing truths through journaling. But you can get the therapeutic benefits of a memoir through your own journal every day.
I encourage everyone to journal to help relieve stress, to dream, to collect thoughts into coherent actions, and to celebrate daily successes.
Journaling doesn’t replace communication with loved ones, it enhances it. I’m striving to share more every day. But journaling is that first safe place we can always go to, to give ourselves a hug, flush out our emotions, and rationalize life’s next challenges.