Everyone should own a journal. Whether it’s a digital document or a physical book, having a place to shed your thoughts is crucial to self-care. From the relief that comes through releasing your thoughts, to the growth that can be achieved from reflection, journals are key to establishing order and achieving clarity in your life.
If you need further convincing, here are a few points that might just get you to start journaling today.
Journals allow you to reflect on your thoughts. Especially if you are an over-thinker like me. It’s such a relief to clear my head and review what I’ve written. When your thoughts cycle through your mind, it can be difficult to take a step back, reflect on your experiences, and create something constructive.
I will say that some thoughts are not meant to be re-read. In the past, reading some of my entries has “hurt” more than it has helped, but that's only when I revisit entries from the journal I use to track my mood. If you’re keeping a memory journal or journaling to record everyday thoughts, you should have no problem reflecting on what you have written.
Express yourself! Self expression is so SO important. Don’t be afraid to share yourself through writing. Yes, writing is vulnerable and if you reach deep enough, it’ll strip you raw, but that’s what’s so great about it. It’s okay to be vulnerable with yourself. The times when I let go of who I think I am and allow myself to be human without ideals or expectations, are the times I learn the most about myself.
The best thing about journaling is it’s completely your own. If you journal on a device, you can password protect your writings. If you have a physical book, you can draw, scrapbook, or personalize it however you want. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to journal - no one can tell you how to express your thoughts.
If you’re an artist, you’ll know how important it is to practice. I’ll admit, even as a blogger, I don’t write nearly enough. There’s a huge difference between writing for fun, writing for work, and writing for yourself. Your journal is your space to practice new forms of writing and to write without bounds. In my opinion, your journal is the perfect place to fail. No one will see your work except for you. There’s no pressure to please an audience or make a deadline for publishing. You can create art at whim or leisure and even if you do a crap job, it’s PRACTICE so you can learn what you like, what you don’t like, and where you need to improve.
As I wrote earlier, writing brings relief. No matter how you choose to document your thoughts, whether through words, images, or souvenirs, you’ll experience a kind of relief that’s hard to compare to anything else. Finding a way, your way, to release the thoughts that swim through your mind is magic.
Expressing yourself, reflecting on your thoughts, and getting relief allows you to find clarity. There’s this level of understanding you’ll reach when you get to know yourself through your words that’s hard to articulate. I have yet to achieve some sort of lasting understanding, but I’ve been lucky enough to experience clarity in fleeting moments and the breakthroughs I’ve had as a result are so worth digging through my demons.
Privacy adds an element of security that makes you more comfortable with being candid. I know I open up a lot more when I feel safe from judgement or harm. Sometimes I’ll realize things that seem so obvious, but I couldn’t see before, because I’d blocked myself from sharing them.
Journaling isn’t the same as talking to a therapist or opening up to a friend. It’s a personal experience, that you manage on your own terms. Sure, you can share entries with your therapist if you choose, but again, you have a choice to make that decision.
Now that my thoughts are on the table, I'd love to hear what you think. Have you ever kept a journal? If so, what is one of the best things you’ve realized about yourself through writing? Comment below, and feel free to connect with me on Twitter. We can talk about everything from self-love, to self-care and personal growth. Let me know you’re coming from the blog!