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THE BENEFITS OF JOURNALING: The practice of keeping a journal or diary

The practice of keeping a journal or diary is a powerful tool that has played a significant role in my life, from my days preparing for Special Forces selection to leading expeditions in challenging terrains. As someone who thrives on risk-taking adventures and values both professional and personal development, I have found immense benefits in maintaining a journal. In this blog post, I'll talk about how keeping a journal can really change your life, especially if you like taking risks, going on adventures, or just want to improve your mental well-being.

The Foundation: My Special Forces Journey

My introduction to journaling began during my preparation for Special Forces (SF) selection. Initially, it served as a record of my daily activities, from fitness routines to dietary habits. This detailed account became a valuable resource for tracking progress and sharing insights with others aiming for SF selection. It emphasised the power of documenting the journey, providing a roadmap for success.

An Expedition's Companion: Journaling in Antarctica

During our South Pole expedition, journaling took on a whole new significance. Inspired by Captain Scott's diary from a century earlier, our own journals became vital companions through the challenging environment. In the face of extreme conditions, we documented our feelings, progress, and the awe-inspiring aspects of our journey. Each entry was a personal record of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, capturing the essence of the expedition.

"It was again hard work today, but I am becoming numb to the mental and physical rigours of man-hauling. I managed to get 4 hours of IPOD towards the end which motivated me again, taking my mind off things. But one’s mind wanders all over the place."

Thursday 10th November 2011, Scott/Amundsen Centenary Race to the Geographic South Pole

Preserving Memories: A Journey's Artefacts

After each expedition, my journal found a place alongside artefacts in a specially made box, preserving the memories and personal records. Reading extracts from my journal during a Christmas celebration brought back powerful emotions, highlighting the lasting impact of these recorded experiences.

Continuity: Journaling Across Expeditions

Five years later, as I prepared for the Geographic North Pole, my journal once again became a companion. The entries in my book "Plan D" offer glimpses into the different challenges and emotions faced during this journey. Whether traversing icy landscapes or cycling across countries, journaling remained a constant, capturing the essence of each adventure.

Professional Coaching: Empowering Clients Through Journaling

In my professional coaching, I advocate for the use of journals as a means of self-reflection. Encouraging clients to record daily activities, habits, and emotions fosters self-awareness. Weekly reflections help identify lessons learned and triggers, providing valuable insights discussed in our coaching sessions.

"Journaling alongside coaching is also a useful tool to help people cope with their mental health. It can often be called a 'mood journal,' identifying how they are feeling with their moods to help discover what creates them and becoming self-aware to help them."

In the Himalayas: Witnessing the Impact of Journaling

Guiding treks in the Himalayas, I observed clients journaling their journeys. It became a meaningful practice for them, a way to immortalise their achievements and emotions after a day of trekking. Journaling became more than a personal record; it became a testament to their resilience and growth.

Beyond Personal Use: The Therapeutic Benefits

Journaling is not limited to personal development; it extends to mental well-being. Whether termed a 'mood journal' or used as a coping mechanism, the act of putting thoughts on paper is therapeutic. The reflective nature of journaling can unveil patterns, triggers, and areas for improvement, fostering mental resilience.

Embracing the Benefits of Journaling

In conclusion, the benefits of journaling are multifaceted. From being a tool for personal growth to aiding in professional development and mental well-being, journaling offers a unique avenue for self-discovery. As I prepare for my next expedition, I eagerly anticipate the continuation of this transformative practice. For those who seek adventure, value personal and professional development, and prioritise mental well-being, journaling is a simple yet profound tool worth embracing.

Remember, every journey, no matter how challenging, is worth documenting. Give journaling a try, and unlock the doors to self-discovery and personal growth.

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