The perks of journaling

Originally posted at Honey with Tea

I had been putting off searching for my childhood journals. It’s a strange feeling, reviewing old journals – some parts are funny and embarrassing (who knew someone could have so many crushes in the course of one week). But other parts are vulnerable and a bit sad. Realizing that your fears haven’t changed or the things that held you back when you were 12 may still be holding you back. It was a bit overwhelming.

I’ve been journaling for much of my life, though the notebooks eventually gave way to blogs. And blogs eventually became more about traffic and sharing parts of my life with strangers out in the internets. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve returned to journaling, as an addition to blogging. And here’s why:

1. Journaling helps us become ourselves: journaling helps us process our feelings, it helps us cope and self-soothe, it helps us notice our patterns and dyanmics, it helps us know ourselves better. As our world gets more external – as we get more focused on how we communicate with the people around us about the minutia of the day to day – journaling can help anchor us, back into who we are. And, unlike so many other therapeutic outlets, it’s free.

2. Journaling gives us perspective: Journaling helps to see how things have changed and grown. Sometimes I think we are prone to adjusting and adapting, that we take for granted all the amazing ways we have grown and matured. Nothing makes you feel like you’ve matured over time more than reading a page filled repeatedly with the words “Mrs. Justin Timberlake.” Just sayin’.

3. Journaling helps us carve out quiet time: When I’m journaling, I’m not watching television. I’m not on Facebook or Tumblr. I’m not pinning things. It’s just me, and the journal. It’s probably the quietest part of my waking day. This wasn’t true 100 years ago, but it is now, and I think that makes journaling even more special now. It’s a sacred process, and frankly, even if you’re typing it out into a word document, I think it’s a particular kind of quiet that we don’t access as much as we used to.

Any journal-lovers out there? Tell me about your first journal, your process now, and what’s it done to help you. I’m always interested in what feels best for folks.

(My first was a Little Women journal. I was so obsessed with it being consistent and pretty that I kept tearing out page after page and “starting over”. Looking back, this is of little surprise to me. I’m a sucker for a blank slate!)

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