Write Down Your Journey!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hi, everyone! 

Today’s topic is journaling. I have been journaling for as long as I can remember. I don’t know what got me started or when. I have always felt compelled to write things down as a way of working through the problems I was experiencing. For the past few years I’ve been keeping two separate envelopes – one collects dreams, and the other collects writings about my feelings. I prefer to reach for stationery or whatever paper is handy, and put those entries into an envelope. You can keep your entries in a binder, notebook, computer, shoebox, or whatever suits you. I love my system because not only do I have a record of my thoughts over the years, but of the different kinds of stationery I’ve bought. It might seem silly, but the stationery itself brings back memories, too.

I don’t consistently journal every day, or even every month. I write whenever I feel a strong emotion, and it’s often negative. The impulse to write becomes overwhelming and journaling provides a wonderful relief. When I have it all out in front of me, considering what I should actually do about the way I feel becomes easier. I also remind myself of things in my life that are still going well. It is so easy to let negative thoughts take over. I love the quote, “Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.” Going back to earlier entries of better times helps to motivate me through the bad ones. 

It’s all about putting things into perspective. I write down my goals, too. Reading about good things that happened in the past and reminding myself about the good things I have coming up helps me stay optimistic. I am a rather pessimistic person, so I need this. 

I have a dream envelope, too. I don’t dream often, but when I do I make sure to write it down. It’s entertaining to read about the bizarre and confusing things that run through my mind at night. Because I write them down, I notice certain patterns that occur when I’m under a lot of stress, and it reminds me that I need to take better care of myself. On every entry, I always write down the date. On some of my earliest entries, probably from the late 90’s, I did not do this. I would love to know how old I was, for context, but I can only guess now.   

When you journal, don’t write for anyone else except you. Following a specific format is not important. I often write lists and make diagrams. Some people like to make art journals, so that it’s like a combination of a scrapbook and a journal. Included in my envelopes are photos, tickets to a live reading by David Sedaris, playbills, some of my drawings, and tons of other stuff. I keep telling myself I’m going to organize it one day, but I have come to enjoy dumping out the envelopes and picking entries at random.

However often you do it, and in whatever way you choose, it’s a very simple project, and it’s very easy. The time and effort it takes to jot everything down is totally worth the reward. 

Start journaling today! 


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