Journaling is one of those things that in my experience, most people struggle with a lot. It’s not easy to do it consistently, and some people just don’t really enjoy writing. But at the same time, it is very frequently recommended by just about everyone from therapists to English teachers to health magazine writers. And it does have some amazing benefits. Journaling can reduce your stress and anxiety, help you make decisions, and improve your relationships with others. It can provide insight into your motivations or underlying emotions. So it seems like it might be worth it to find a way to learn to journal, doesn’t it?
Here’s the thing I’ve learned, as a relatively regular journal-keeper since the age of 6. If you don’t enjoy journaling, you won’t do it. End of story. But that doesn’t mean that if you don’t enjoy sitting down beside a candle with a fancy bound book and a quill pen, you can’t journal! There are many ways to keep a regular journal. Some I’ve tried include:
– Online journaling, in other words, blogging
– Writing, yes, in fancy journals with actual quills and ink jars and a candle
– A plain spiral bound notebook + a ballpoint pen or a pencil
– Carrying a teeny journal and writing down thoughts throughout the day
– Keeping a Word document on my desktop that I update whenever I need to work through some feelings
– Using a writing application other than Word such as OmmWriter
– Keeping a box of old magazines/catalogues and a glue stick and making weekly collages to express how I felt or what was on my mind
– Filling out guided journals (ones that have prompts such as this one
– Journaling pretending I was someone else
– Writing letters to loved ones that I will never send
– Writing letters to favorite book characters
– Writing a list every evening of 5 things that happened that day, in just key words (in other words, not full sentences)
Those are all equally valid and useful ways of journaling! The point is to express yourself and have an outlet other than “other people” to cope with tough stuff, celebrate happy things, or just remember what is going on in your life. Journals can be great to look over, both for insight and sometimes for laughs. To end this blog post I am going to share a gem from my early journaling — as I mentioned, I began to journal at age 6. Of course everything I wrote was deeply brilliant and beautifully done. Here is a sample of a daily journal entry I wrote at age 8:
Today was the worst day in my life here are FOUR good reasons:
#1. I had to wake up at 6:15 in the morning
#2. Ms.T was apsent so I could not have [cello] lessons.
#3. I really needed a drink but I could not get one.
#4. Some kids made the whole class sit out at recess (5 min) blah! to those guys!
Happy journaling everyone and hope you didn’t have as terrible a day as I apparently did sometime in 1997!