“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” - William Wordsworth
I have been keeping a journal for at least 30 years. I must have been around 10 years old and found it fun to write in my diary.
I would spend hours, not only making my own diaries with pictures from a magazine, but also writing in them. I still have one or two of them and really enjoy reading them. It is nice to see what was important to me at that age. It was all put on hold after I finished school and travelled to the UK. Friendships, ballet and swimming were replaced with going out, earning a living and yes, boys!
Then, one weekend after a particularly messy breakup, I had a remarkable breakthrough where the painful words inside me that I’d been holding in for years escaped and I found myself writing in a spare notebook. I wrote pages and pages of unexpressed feelings and emotions. There was no stopping me. I found the love for it again and have now been writing in my journal again for the last 10 or so years. I particularly enjoy looking back. What was so important to me, 6 months on, not so much. Whilst it did shape the person I am, it no longer took up my thinking time.
I have the following benefits of keeping a journal:
Your journal has the potential to be both therapist and a dear friend who listens without judging or interrupting and is open 24 hours a day. You can tell your journal things you wouldn’t dare verbalise to someone else. Writing it down takes the edge off more toxic feelings and emotions and helps you better understand what you’re feeling, freeing up thinking space to gain clarity on what to do next.
By getting into the habit of consciously and attentively looking back over your journals, you’re able to track your personal patterns of behaviour that help you achieve goals and respond effectively to challenges. You’re also able to see the patterns that get in the way of personal and professional growth, and healthy relationships with self and others. By becoming mindful with what you are discovering, you can move yourself from knowing into a doing state.
Keeping a journal is inexpensive, accessible and is easily self-managed. It carries very few side effects and can be applied almost anywhere.
Journals are creative portals. Because you’re in dialogue with your inner life when you write in a journal, you solve problems and get creative. Keeping a journal can be both a clearing-house and – in the next word, sentence or page – become an incubator where you tap into your imagination and unleash your creativity and ideas.
You give yourself permission to write yourself into history – consider how many women are left out of the history books? Journals give voice to your dreams and aspirations but are also safe spaces to release negative feelings, hurts and disappointments that could get in the way of those dreams and aspirations being realised.
You don't need to write pages and pages - it can just be a simple sentence.....
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” Christina Baldwin