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I have a ridiculous amount of documentation on the stupid things I’ve done in my life. Out of the 50+ journals I’ve written, only the high school years were destroyed. The rest I can’t bring myself to part with, no matter how cheesy or embarrassing.
My first diary was given to me by my aunt when I was seven years old. It had a slick, squishy cover with music notes on the front and cursive lettering to spell out MY DIARY. The pages were pink and the book came with a lock and a heart-shaped key.
I loved that diary. I filled it out quickly and bought another. And another. And another.
I progressed from childhood diaries and high school gossip to prayer journals and personal growth trackers. My journals cover everything from field trips in elementary school to the birth of my children.
Every few years, I pile them around me and sift through memories of summers spent rollerblading and trips to my grandparents’ lake house. Of winter blizzards in Virginia and days off school, building snow forts and organizing sledding competitions.
Journaling is my way to express creativity, savor treasured memories and vent or analyze a situation. Most times, I finish with a sense of calm and peace when I’m stressed or the gusto to get started on a personal project.
JOURNALING: GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH?
Because of the emotional release you get from journaling, your mind and body can experience several benefits from making it as a regular practice.
4 WAYS TO JOURNAL:
1. BRAIN-DUMP JOURNALS
These are the classic books you think of when you think about journaling. These allow you to explore emotions and feelings without restraint and provide an opportunity to analyze a situation. I also tape in letters, photos and small keepsakes. There’s no limit to what you can do write on these blank pages!
Brain-dump journals are usually kept private so make sure you keep them in a safe place.
2. GRATITUDE JOURNALS
When life starts to spin out of control, it’s hard to see the good in the everyday. Gratitude journals are useful when I’m creating a habit of negative thinking. These journals change my attitude from self-pity to self-motivation.
Entries can be as short as a word, or as long as a story to tell what went well in your day, or what you’re thankful for. They are an excellent record to reflect back on when you’re overwhelmed by the monotony of a chronic illness or a reoccurring problem.
3. GUIDED JOURNALS
Guided journals are my favorite because they inspire me to be creative and each one is unique in its focus.
4. BULLET JOURNALS
These trendy journals are a blank canvas for right-brained creative types as well as left-brain methodical types. There is no limit on what you can track with these and there is an enormous wealth of ideas online on how to construct your own.
Use them to track anything from a list of your favorite quotes, to how much water you drink each day to tracking your moods and reaching work goals.
A FEW I’VE TRIED…
- Write the Word
- My Future Listography
- WRITE Notebook
- Dotted Grid Notebook
- Present Not Perfect
- Burn After Writing
- 52 Lists Project
BEFORE YOU GO…
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See you next week!
For further reading on journaling’s health benefits, check out these articles: