Whatever you call it, journaling has a way of working into your system and setting up shop there. I’ve been keeping journals for decades and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Recently, I’ve had a lot of situations come up where my advice has been telling people to write. The beauty of writing is it can be done anywhere, with anything, and it doesn’t have to be public.
Whenever I’m faced with a situation, struggle, tragedy, or decision, I find writing to be my go-to in working it out. Writing it out requires you to look at how you really feel about a given situation. It forces you to put one word in front of the other and walk through the experience.
Writing in a journal or notebook has its benefits. You have the liberty to write freely and messily. You can doodle, save keepsakes like ticket stubs, or photos. You are free to write exactly what you want with no repercussion and no worry about judgement.
If you decide to post it in a public arena, like a personal blog, you may find that you aren’t alone in what you’re going through. People can chime in with their experiences and offer support. For me, it’s very freeing to put my feelings out in the air. I find it satisfying to say, “there it is,” and send it off.
Journaling doesn’t have to be limited to personal experiences and issues. There are a multitude of reasons to keep a journal. Here are a few types that I’ve kept over the years and sometimes multiple at the same time.
Get it all out! This is where you let it loose, hang out, and vent every itty-bitty thing you need to get off your chest. No judgements and no viewers. Dump all your worries, fears, thoughts, and happiness here. Consider it a written photo album that you can go back and remember how far you’ve come. Or dump everything you’ve got into it and burn it, if that makes you feel better.
Journals of this nature is fantastic for tracking the food you are eating, completed workouts, results, and how you feel throughout the process. It’s great for weight-loss/gain or maintaining your health. Looking back through your entries can help you over a plateau and figure out what’s stopping you from reaching your goals. (You could also create a medical records journal as well.)
Yoga, religion, and spirituality are very personal topics. Each journey is individual and recording your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can be enlightening. Drawing mandalas or zentangles can be very mediative so you could even keep a journal and draw one every day.
Daily use of a gratitude/thankfulness journal can be highly rewarding. It can keep you in perspective and focused on the right things. It can also shed some light on areas in your life where you might need to improve.
Probably one of my most used journals in my earlier years. I am a vivid dreamer. I dream in HD and full length movies if allowed to sleep that long. I use to be able to control them. I could set an intention and in my next dream I would remember and execute whatever I set out to do. Having children has a way of changing this but I’m noticing the frequency is picking up lately. Tracking dreams can be surprisingly insightful. I highly recommend it.
Quick Thoughts Journal
This is where you jot notes, phone numbers, and ideas on the fly. It allows you to capture information in a pinch and refer back to it later on. It can be a life saver really. If you’re at a stop light and you remember you just ran out of almond milk, this handy little guy can save the day.
Great for home projects, work projects, art projects, or whatever projects come your way. A project journal can track your progress, sketch out ideas, and help you solve problems.
Keep lists of everything you’ve ever read, ate, tasted, visited, etc. Or keep lists of things you’d like to complete. Places you’ve visited or would like to. Movies seen. Write your thoughts about them. Ideas for a list journal are endless.
One Sentence/Annual Journal
This could be kept in a book but I prefer to use index cards and keep them in a recipe box. What you do is write the date at the top of the card and underneath you make a note of the year with one sentence about that day. File it in the box. The next time that date comes around, write the following year under the previous including a sentence about the current day/year. Like so:
Probably the funnest one in my book. Art journals, to me, are the complete package. Get a good sturdy book and in no way are you limited. Doodle, write, test a new marker out, paint, sketch, attach stickers…. whatever your fancy! Experimentation can be elaborate or minimal. Anything goes in these books and when you’re done, you’re left with a piece of artwork that is completely original and completely YOU.
Though I’ve been a little sidetracked lately, I find writing letters to my children in a journal meant specifically for them is extremely sentimental. In my letters, I write as if I’m speaking directly to them. I give advice. I attach photos. I am completely honest in what I tell them. For example, I struggled when transitioning to the home after my first-born – so I said that. Each book is filled with truth, advice, and the undying love I have for them. These will end up becoming keepsakes that they can refer back to long after I’m gone.
Are you new to journaling? If not, what kind of journal(s) do you keep?
Photo credit: Creative Commons/❤ Cassandra Mae ❤