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Benefits of Stream Of Consciousness Journaling

A notebook laying on a wooden table

With about 6200 thoughts per day, it’s hard to keep our thoughts organized and under control. One of the most effective ways to release any helpful, harmful, or ruminating thoughts is by practicing a stream of consciousness journaling.

Whether you’re stressed out about day-to-day responsibilities, larger worries, and anxieties, or about making a big decision, stream of consciousness journaling can help you get the mental clarity you need.

What is stream consciousness journaling?

It’s an exercise involving you getting a notebook, picking up a pen, and just writing. This simple exercise only requires a pen and blank sheet of paper or, if you prefer, a journal. No prompts or guides are needed. As you begin to write, try not to pay attention to structure, tone, or grammar. Simply allow your thoughts to flow freely onto the page.

What are some of the benefits of journaling?

A clearer mind. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s challenging to find a moment to pause and take a step back. Stream of consciousness journaling allows you to take some necessary time for yourself and sort through your thoughts. It allows you to clear your brain from clutter and gain more mental clarity and freedom.

Whether you decide to journal as soon as you get out of bed in the morning or right before you fall asleep at night, forming this habit is one of the easiest ways to get your anxieties out of your mind and onto paper.

Here are three ways you can benefit from stream of consciousness journaling:

1. Reducing rumination and unhelpful thought patterns

Over-thinking and ruminating thoughts can be a common psychological problem for many people.

Getting your thoughts out of your head and on paper can be helpful to perceive those thoughts differently. While it may not reduce the frequency of these thoughts, it can moderate the impact they have on you and the way you feel.

But overall, stream of consciousness writing is a great way to feel calmer, more centered, and grounded. In fact, it’s been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to research. The effort that it takes to keep these thoughts and feelings suppressed is lifted off your shoulders.

2. Improved decision making

We can work through small or big decisions when we write in a stream of consciousness style. It can help you find a solution to your problems because you have already laid out all of your thoughts.

3. Self-awareness

Stream of conscious journaling makes you more self-aware and understand yourself better. It can also help you detect unhealthy or harmful patterns in your thinking or behaviors, allowing you to take control over your life and put things into perspective.

By giving yourself time and space to engage with your thoughts (and write them down), your mind is allowed to release thoughts so that you’re less likely to engage in over-thinking throughout the day, whether at work, school, home, or out socializing with friends.

How to get started

  • Find a quiet place where you can focus solely on the task at hand. 
  • Make sure you’re calm; take a free deep breath if needed.
  • Don’t put too much thought into what you are writing.
  • Allow your thoughts to come and go.
  • Be patient!
  • When you can’t think of anything, you can write, “I can’t think of anything to write.” You’ll come up with something as you go along.

Conclusion

Stream of consciousness journaling is a unique way to get in touch with yourself and how your mind works. By taking a little bit of time every day to journal, you’ll have the opportunity to form a stronger relationship with yourself and improve mental clarity. This simple practice can have a dramatically positive effect on the quality of your everyday life.

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