Relevance of journaling in identifying your own core belief system, key skills and values.
We have been talking about staying true to ourselves this year rather than trying to adopt new behaviours that we are unlikely to stick to. This is great when you truly know yourself, your own core belief system and key skills, but what can you do to help you get to that point if you are unsure?
Research is showing that journaling can have a profound effect on mental health and knowledge of self, in a positive way. It is a habit that is followed by many successful people including politicians, musicians and business leaders. Yet it is an activity that many of us are unsure about and self-reflection is not something that many of us do.
A study showed that, when asked, only 6% of people in the group knew what their talents were. When they were asked to document what they were good at that day on a daily basis, consistently the group struggled to write much about that area of their lives.
It seems that the pace at which we now live our lives has meant we are losing the art of self-reflection and the absence of self-reflection means an absence of self-knowledge. The most common problem facing many of us is a lack of positive self-belief, not a lack of talent. So if you really want to identify your key strengths and talents...how do you develop this technique?
Over the course of my studies into meditation and the correlation between mind and body I have discovered that when we are doing something we love, and something we are good at, we feel that we are in a flow. Also, that no matter what, there will always be someone working hard to achieve something you are naturally good at, so there are always people who will need your talents. We are naturally pre-disposed to focus on the negative things, whether that be thoughts about ourselves, news, flaws in other people. This is called the negativity bias and it is something that kept us safe in our tribal past (if you stop to smell the roses and appreciate a beautiful view, you may get eaten by a wild animal)...however when we follow our negative thoughts and really indulge them and listen to them, not only is it a completely useless exercise but it is also a destructive one. Taking time each day to focus on the positive not only is beneficial to our health but it helps us to uncover hidden talents.
At the end of each day, think about a time in the day when you felt really good about something you did, something that made you say "that went really well". Maybe you were in the gym or in a meeting or just writing something or motivating others. Now ask yourself, what were you doing when you felt you were doing something well. This question makes us really analyse the situation and go into the moment; you need to think about all the little details, what preparation (if any) you did, how relaxed you felt, who you were with, where you were. The purpose of this exercise is to document all the steps that got us to the point where we felt we were doing something really well. When we have this knowledge documented we can replicate it time and time again. That is why positive self-reflection is so powerful: you end up with new information about yourself that is really useful.