When I was a child and a teenager I tried so many times to keep a diary. But it never worked. You see, I always loved writing: writing stories, writing poems, writing to penpals, I even loved writing school papers. Writing came naturally to me. It was a stress release, a tool to use my imagination, a fun hand movement and an all-around passion. Yet, I hated writing a diary. It always started and ended the same way. I got a new diary and I was incredibly excited about it. I wrote every day for a few days then I skipped a day, then eventually I skipped two days. After two or maybe three weeks I forgot about the whole thing. I was not a diary person.
Much later years while I was studying psychology and reading self-help books I read about the benefits of journaling. But I resisted. Diary writing never worked for me. Journaling is just as stupid and is not for me. So I thought. It is not until this year that I got into journaling and discovered all the amazing benefits of it.
Journal writing can help you get to know yourself better. Don’t be shy to dig deep and really write out your thoughts and emotions. Nobody will see what you are writing but you. You will be surprised how much you discover.
Journal writing can help you to release stress and negative emotions. Surely running helps me in that department too, but in a different way. Just letting all your feelings out on paper can be uplifting or at least help you to release the intensity of your feelings and understand them better. It is much better than shouting.
Journal writing can help you understand and release your past. Writing down your story can guide you in understanding the cause and effect relationship between your past and present. It can truly help you to forgive and get over issues. Just writing out ‘I forgive ___’ can be beyond powerful.
Journal writing can help you get organized and solve problems effectively. In writing you can be both creative and analytical. You can free-write, draw, create charts or whatever you wish. Writing it out can really guide you to some understanding of issues and solutions in an organized or creative or organized-creative manner.
Journal writing can be a reliable friend. Okay, this may sound like I am talking about diary writing. But I don’t mean the ‘dear diary’ friendship. But you can write down your deepest secrets, biggest fears and most outrageous dreams into your journal. It will not only listen and keep your secret but will also help you to figure out your life. And it is always there.
Journal writing is the cheapest therapy. Even the fanciest journal doesn’t cost as much as a session with a therapist. But you can always use a cheap notebook or write a digital journal. Perhaps it does not always equal to therapy but has therapeutic effects for sure.
There are of course a million more benefits of journaling. You just have to discover them yourself.
So how to journal?
Easy. Get a journal and a pen or start a digital journal. You can simply start with free-writing. Write whatever comes to your mind or write out whatever emotions you are experiencing. You can write a gratitude list. You can write list of things you love or what you want to do then free-write about them to discover more why you love or want them. You can use questions (especially open ended questions) to answer to and free-write on. You can use a list of short questions to answer to. You can also draw or just put down words. You can pick topics and areas of your life (health, family, school or even more specific ones, like your mom, your pet, your first day at school or even the color of the wallpaper in your room) and write about them. Do re-read and revisit journal entries. Do not be afraid to write about the same topic over and over again. Do not worry about punctuation, grammar or neatness. Just write.
Some links that may help you with your journaling are:
So get your journal out and write away to happiness.