I’ll bet anything that you’ve read at least one article about how keeping a journal is an amazing habit, that it can help you sort your thoughts. Or you’ve heard about it from one of your friends or family members. We all know this, but just some of us actually do it. We think that this beautiful habit has only the best interests for us at its heart. Wouldn’t that be awesome? The thing is that every thing in our world has also the bad side.

I’ve kept my journal for couple of years in different forms. I had a journal in my phone and computer, then on a random paper straps that I’ve found when an idea struck me, or something happened and lastly, I’ve bought a journal that suits my needs the best.

The process of finding what is the best for me wasn’t easy. For someone it is best to use the bulletin journal, or they set a certain amount of words or sheets they will write. For me? Well, I just like to write about my day, my ideas during the day and then do a to-do for the next day.

But there is one thing that I’ve noticed that can happen if you use a method that doesn’t suit your needs the best. For example, many people find it difficult to actually write 1–3 or even more sheets of papers regarding their days and all the things that more experienced people would write into their journals. So, in order to complete the “exercise” they tend to start to overthink everything. They start to read way too much in the small things that simply wouldn’t matter for them under different conditions.

And even though we all know how hard it is to actually develop a habit, some habits can develop faster, especially when we are not even trying to develop the habit. This is the same case. We are more often than not unaware that we are developing this as a habit and then, when it is already too late, we simply overthink more and more things.

Of course, that we do not do this consciously, but it can be seen in some situations, such as overthinking just a simple compliment or an advice into something that it is not. Sure, this does not happen always, but there is a certain tendency.

Now, I am not saying it is bad and that once you are overthinking stuff you should change. Not at all. Overthinking in certain situations can be called and some people like to call it thinking through. I’m just saying that keeping a journal may not be as beneficial for us as we think.

Because overthinking is a complex process, you are basically looking at a certain event or phenomena from multiple angles. In some situations, such as emergencies, this is not something we like to do. We want to keep our thinking simple, because more often than not it can actually do more good than bad.

Originally published at on December 10, 2020.

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