Reasons to journal
I’ve heard lots of people talking about journaling and why everyone should be doing it. A friend of mine has journaled religiously for years, she feels it is a safe place to express herself and identify emotionally fuelled behaviour patterns. Some people use a journal to write down their personal development goals, others as a reminder of how they are feeling day-to-day. But is writing a journal just another thing to do? How long will it take? What’s the point of it and what exactly are you supposed to write? Apparently, there are many reasons to journal – to follow are my Top 5. It all makes perfect sense but will I commit to it?
Back in the 1990’s…
Incidentally, the only time I have ever written a journal, of sorts was in my early 20’s when I inter-railed around Europe. But, upon reflection, would that be considered a diary? I detailed our day, the places we visited, how I was feeling and glued in a myriad of tickets and postcards. I have fond memories of sitting cross-legged on many a train station floor, making a hot chocolate. Our backpacks concealed my bubbling travel kettle, Walkman on, pen out and scribble I did!
Looking back at this “record,” – 20 years later, not only am I astounded at how much we managed to do in a month but how a description, an event flyer, a beer mat has the power to transport me back to times and places I’d forgotten. Back then, a few 36 pic rolls of film, I’d decided, might not accurately document my journey, so pen and paper it was.
Is a journal the same as a diary?
So essentially, what is the difference between a diary and a journal? My thought is that a diary is organised into days/months and a journal is not… A diary could be used as a journal, but blank books aren’t particularly conducive to keeping a track of your appointments.
Some people prefer to journal in a blank book, rather than a diary so there is no pressure to write something every day. There is no right or wrong way to journal, it has to be useful and personal to you. You might prefer to use an online journal/app, purchase an appealing blank/lined book and a special pen. Perhaps an exercise book will suffice and a random pen, pencil or felt tip. Journalling is all about what works for you, you may choose to create a calming journalling ritual.
5 Reasons to Journal
1. Time to be honest
For some people, social media has fuelled the desire to be perfect and create the impression that they are living a fabulous life. Many people feel pressurised into “doctoring” their lives and only share what they think looks good, be that themselves or what they’re up to. Journaling can provide a space, to be honest, an opportunity to be yourself without judgement, expectation or the need to conform. Being able to document your personal successes and wins is good for your confidence and self-esteem. This may encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and explore new ventures.
2. A chance to clear your head
Often, conversations, experiences and things you did or didn’t do can play on your mind. Committing your thoughts to paper and acknowledging the situation for what it is may help you move forward. Constantly mulling-over something can lead to sensationalism or catastrophic thinking. Writing may put something into perspective or allow you to temporarily put it to one side. Freeing up your headspace facilitates room for creativity, problem-solving and improves focus.
3. Prioritising time for you
Allowing yourself to become absorbed in the process of writing may provide exclusive time, just for you. Be this in a busy cafe with a hot coffee, sat up in bed or during your commute/lunch break. Learning to ignore distractions and focus on your writing may provide you with some much-needed breathing space from the outside world.
4. An opportunity for reflection
You may discover that journaling allows you to better understand yourself. Being able to pinpoint your triggers, motivators and stumbling blocks may help you to reflect, evaluate and identify patterns of behaviour. People often feel frustration at being “back to square one,” or making past mistakes again… Journaling may hold the key to understanding why you do what you do and are where you are.
5. To leave your legacy!
Perhaps you would like to leave a record of your thoughts, ideas and experiences. I know my tales of faxing a hotel in Paris, walkmans and tapes, film cameras and a Europe of many currencies is quite far removed from today’s online booking, digital and immediate “instant confirmation” world. The Lonely Planet Guide to Europe was my Bible… that and a huge European Train Timetable book!
So, it seems there are lots of great reasons to journal. If you feel making time for yourself, to be honest, clear your head and reflect on where you’re at is a priority, maybe it’s for you. Me? I’m still not sure… I certainly wish I’d kept more travel journals. Perhaps it is something I’ll try, if it’s useful I’ll continue, if not, I’ll stop. I’m sometimes reluctant to try something that will be added to the list of things to do. Maybe I’ll just journal when I feel like – although I know “any time” for me, means “no time!
Why not use the power of music to enhance your mood? Discover our favourite tracks to boost your mood, encourage productivity or create a calm soundscape to relax.