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5 Journal Prompts To Start Your Year and the Science Behind Journaling

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A stack of workbooks sits on a table next to a closed laptop and a plant.

5 Journal Prompts To Start Your Year and the Science Behind Journaling

Each year, many of us set out to resolve goals for the new year. While forward-thinking and goal setting is a helpful practice, reflection can be just as powerful. Often, it benefits us to sit in silence (or—in a busy home like many of ours—in whatever space gives you solitude) and journal.

Today, we want to provide you with journal writing prompts to establish a baseline for the days ahead and see if there are areas where you can pivot, push forward, or improve, if just by a little.

A Look Into Journaling

For many of us, when we were young, you could find diaries tucked into our secret hiding places filled with crushes, childhood drama, and feelings that we could lock away with our special keys. While we may not have realized it, it was healthy for us to get our emotions out on paper, no matter how trivial our thoughts may have seemed as we’ve aged.

As adults, for many of us, that practice slips away. But, as we launch into stressful careers, find partners, and grow our families, our lives get more complex. Old drama becomes a distant memory replaced with everyone relying on us, a global pandemic, working from home, and—well, you get it.

So, how do we delve into those emotions and sort them out? That diary from your childhood can make its way back into your life via a journal.

The Science Of Journaling

Several studies on expressive writing prove that it is beneficial and for more than just our creativity and aptitude. According to the New York Times, “The scientific research on the benefits of so-called expressive writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory.” 

Tackling Complex Issues

You may think its time consuming, or find it self-absorbed, but it is not in the least. Journaling can help you structure complex thoughts. Thoughts that float in your mind and tackle each other every day. Perhaps your mind sounds a little something like this:

1:01 pm – “I want to leave my job.” 

1:02 pm – “I have to stay at my job because of my children.” 

1:03 pm – “This work is not fulfilling to me.” 

1:04 pm – “Who am I kidding? I have a degree in this field.” 

Replace these quotes with any other mind-bending personal issue, and you have yourself a complex problem. 

Re-organizing Your Thoughts

In this example, maybe the work is wrong, but your family depends on it, and your degree may put you into a similar position at a workplace that is even worse. But what about the flip side of this issue? How can you think through this complex issue to find solutions in which to resolve it?

Perhaps the root cause of why you want to leave your job is because your coworkers rely on you for the bulk of the workload. In your journaling, you might discover that the difference between a career you hate and a career you love comes down to working through the systems in your workplace to make the workload fairer for you all. 

That is the power of journaling.

Journaling In Wholeness At Work

This is why Wholeness At Work includes sections for journaling and reflection. It is in these moments of reflection where we can make clear roadmaps on how to move forward.

We learn how to free ourselves from workplace burnout, true. In doing so, we journal about the symptoms and sources to give us a well-rounded look into the solutions. If you would like to start reflecting, here are some things to think about.

5 Journal Writing Prompts To Help You Reflect Today

We wanted to include some self-reflection and positive affirmation journal prompts together to help keep your overall mindset positive. Not only can you extend loving-kindness to yourself, but others as you work through the following prompts.

  1. Who in my life do I want to extend some extra loving-kindness towards today?
  2. What do I deeply value and want to honor in my work/life?
  3. What pressures, expectations, or fears can I set down today?
  4. What mental habits and emotional loops do I notice in myself?
  5. What is filling me with a sense of meaning and purpose?

Self-Compassion In Journaling

We ask—as you take time writing—that you do so without judgment to your thoughts. It is important to be true to your feelings. Journaling may bring up something uncomfortable, something you choose to keep in your Id or Ego and not meet face-to-face daily. Show yourself some compassion as you come about those situations. If you think you might be on your way to workplace burnout, get access to our self-assessment here. Our community is working towards wholeness for good, together. Would you join us? Find out more about the Wholeness At Work journey here.

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