In college, I used to write down my thoughts, but I never really kept a journal until recently.
I figure that I’ll explain how it has helped me, and you can think about if it can help you in the same way.
Basically, I have all kinds of thoughts floating around my head all the time. They are totally unorganized, and when I try to organize them in my head, typically what happens is that I get to a certain point, but then I get distracted by some other random thought, and get off track, so I never really get anywhere.
This is why talking with friends or therapists is so helpful, because it allows us to take what is inside, and forces us to structure the thoughts in such a way as to articulate what we are thinking clearly to another person, and in doing so, to ourselves.
However, often times, friends or therapists are not an option. It is in this case, that a journal can be very helpful. Basically, what I do, I would consider stream of conscience journaling. Which means that I carry on a conversation with myself on paper, so it might go something like this:
“Why exactly do you like the color blue? Is it because as a child your room was blue? No that’s not it, your room was red. Perhaps it’s because, you lived near the ocean, and would stare at it for hours. Yeah, that makes sense.”
I can write 10 pages in as many minutes, just running through thoughts, and rejecting them.
Once a solid point is discovered, I’ll go back and underline the key thought that I learned, so I can remember it for later, since all thoughts come in handy later – they are all interconnected – either as a foundation thought or as a misguided thought or as some other thing you will explore again, trust me.
Basically, I have found journaling to be the best exercise so far for giving me a model that provides a building block approach to introspection and which allows me to better understand myself at a deeper level. Try it you’ll like it.