Journaling seems like such a fluffy thing to do.
When a lot of people think of a journal, they think about a place to keep secrets. They think of a place to vent about parents. They think about a place to gossip about friends and not have to worry about being overheard. However, there are actual benefits to keeping a journal.
The first time I started keeping a journal was when my mom’s best friend gave me a beautiful, empty, leather-bound book for my birthday. I didn’t touch it for a couple years. It sat in the back of my armoire untouched because I didn’t think of myself as the journaling type. I’ve always been gregarious and talkative, so I found no reason to keep a journal.
One day I had a bad day. There was nothing that terrible about it, but I just had all this pent-up energy and emotion. I didn’t want to talk to my friends about it because they probably wouldn’t care. I didn’t want to talk to my parents about it because I assumed they wouldn’t understand. I didn’t want to talk to my teachers about it because I felt like they would judge me for complaining about something.
So, I needed a way to relieve myself of the pressure. I have this funny way of dealing with stress. I clean my room. It’s my brain’s crazy way of justifying procrastinating, since cleaning is somewhat productive. On that particularly bad day, I cleaned my room from top to bottom and – of course – I rediscovered the journal.
I decided to test it out.
I started on the first page and wrote about everything that bubbled up to the top of my head. I skipped right over the debate about whether to date the entry or write “Dear Diary…” – I just filled the pages with anything.
From that day on, I journaled. I don’t write an entry every day by any means. I write totally inconsistently. Everyone has her own style. Some like the rhythm of writing an entry a day, and some people only want to write when they need to get something off their chests. If you can write a part of yourself down, it can really help you address issues that you might be unable to unscramble without seeing it laid out in front of you. I’ve found that when I write, I can figure out what I really want to say and then go out and say it. It’s nice to be reflective and a little less impetuous.
Another benefit to keeping a journal is going back and reading old entries. I love doing this because it reminds me of all the progress I’ve made since that entry. I also like seeing how I’ve resolved my problems in the past. By journaling my lows and my highs, I can better understand what I need to get to a high and what I need to avoid a low.
What do you think? Gonna try it for yourself and write an entry?