The value of meditating and journaling

April 2, 2021

86 days ago, I started journaling every day. 381 days ago, I meditated for the first time.

Each morning after meditating for 10 minutes, I sat down for a short time to write down what's on my mind. Sometimes it would be things that kept my mind busy for days, sometimes thoughts that came up moments ago or even during writing.

I've initially started it as a way to discover why I'm feeling anxious and find ways to relief that anxiety.

Way back in January this year, I would still meditate each morning before getting to work. To clear my mind, to enjoy a few moments of silence before letting my mind be busy for all day.

Today, I've been doing this for 236 days in a row. I did not start meditating for the first time then, but took a pause of a few months after breaking my first streak at around 80 days.

In January this year, I started feeling anxious during meditation. Again, like I was when I started it for the first time back in March 2020.

It felt uncomfortable to sit down for a few minutes doing nothing, just being still and listening to what my mind was telling me.

It wasn't uncomfortable, it was torture.

Every single second of a session I felt like I was wasting my time. Not doing it right. Being unproductive. Being worthless.

This was supposed to be relaxing, it was supposed to bring relief. It didn't.

At first it didn't. I continued meditating every day. It took me weeks, maybe even months, but I started feeling better. Sitting down in silence doing nothing changed from being stressful to being actually enjoyable.

So I continued doing it.

Months after starting to meditate, in Summer 2020, I broke my streak. As a perfectionist person, this was a disaster for me. I was not like "I'm just going to continue tomorrow and start a new streak" - instead, I told myself that I didn't need it anymore anyways.

I stopped doing this habit every day.

It wasn't that bad. I had some time off, enjoyed a short vacation (at least to the extend Covid allowed me to), and had a good time. I didn't miss anything.

It didn't took me long to feel in need of a mental rest every day. After one month, I started meditating again. This is the streak I'm on today.

I appreciated the positive influence it had on my mind and body and enjoyed it every single day. Until I started feeling anxious again in January.

That was when I decided I had to find out why. Find out how to change it. How to make myself feel better.

My approach was to scribble down how I felt, what I thought, what happened before every time I finished a session. This way I tried to find patterns that would explain why I felt that why during something that should be relaxing.

I didn't expect how much of an influence this small habit would have on me.

After a few weeks, my anxiety vanished. I can't explain why exactly, I don't have a clear explanation, but it went away. Maybe journaling didn't help me as much as I had hoped too.

Wrong.

Through writing down what was in my head every single day, I felt better. I got to know myself better. I took a small burden off my mind that would have kept it busy all day otherwise.

Today it's a crucial part of my daily routine, and I wouldn't want to miss it any day.

There are times I don't have much to write, other times I sit down for 15 minutes. But every single time, it makes me feel better.

Beyond that, it helped me discover my love for writing. It lead me to start this blog in the end, writing longer essays almost every day. It helped me find something I enjoy a lot.

I'm grateful for my decision to start this seemingly small habit months ago. This is proof that small changes can lead to much greater results. Changing mindsets, changing lives.

For me, meditating and writing are essential tools to realization, personal growth and happiness.

ジャーニー (Jānī) is Japanese for journey.