Why You Should Keep a Journal

I was 11 years old and madly in love with Matt Ryan.  I believe it started like this:  Dear Diary,  Today I met a tall red headed boy at my new school.   His name is Matt and he called me poodle head. I know this means we are going to get married! I will write more tomorrow.    Love, Mandy

Little did I know that was the start to a  great friendship full of fun, love, laughter and heartache. I look back on that diary and it takes me back to such great memories of not only Matt but all of my other friends I grew up with.  I am glad to have that diary because Matt passed away 7 years ago and I treasure going back and reading the stories.

As adults we tend to stop writing in our “diaries” and just hope that we can remember all of the amazing and not so amazing things that go on in our lives on a daily basis.  Why? Because we are too busy.  Or we forget.  Or we just don’t care.   We need to get back to the good ole days and start writing again.  Drawing. Doodling.

There are many physical, psychological and emotional benefits of journal-writing (what they call it in the 21st century) and here are some ideas how it can help you.

  1. It’s cheaper than a therapist.  Who else listens without judging or interrupting and is open 24 hours a day?  You can write things you wouldn’t dare tell to someone else. Writing it down takes the edge off, gets rid of toxic and built up emotions and helps you better understand what you’re feeling.  It allows you to sort things out in a manner that you can be free with your words.
  2. It’s a judgement free zone.  You don’t have to get permission from anyone about what you want to say.  No one holds anything against you. It can give voice to your dreams and aspirations but are also safe spaces to release negative feelings, hurt and disappointments.
  3. Stress Relief. With our crazy lives it seems as though we are constantly moving.  We wake up, get dressed, commute to work, work, commute home, cook dinner, hang with the family, clean up go to bed; and that is a light day.  If you dedicate just a few minutes each night to collect your thoughts and write them down (with a pen folks-not on the keyboard), it allows you to slow your breathing and help to relax. You will be amazed at how just those few minutes will lower your stress level and help you to sleep each night.
  4. The Dream Catcher. Keep your journal by your bed at night to capture the ideas or images that may appear in your dreams. Brilliant ideas and moments of inspiration tend to come out of nowhere, and if we don’t write them down when they arise, we run the risk of forgetting about them.
  5. Uninhibited Creativity. A journal doesn’t have to be solely comprised of words written. A journal can also include collages, drawings, doodles, paintings, poems, songs and more.

You don’t have to have a fancy journal, you can use a notebook or just blank pieces of paper.  Whatever works best for you.  Need some ideas to write about? There are so many great journal prompts out there.  Here are some to get you started.  I would love to hear from you about your journal time and if it is making an impact on your life.  I know it is mine so I hope that it will for you too.

30 days of prompts for April

  1.  Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?
  2. Trading spaces. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of the opposite sex for a day? What do you think life would be like?
  3. Happiness. List 10 things that make you happy and why.
  4. Write 30 things about yourself and make sure there are 4 that no one knows about you.
  5. Shuffle your music and take the top 10 songs and write about them. Why do you like it? What does it remind you of?  How did it make you feel?
  6. What 3 lessons would you want your child to learn from you?
  7. Does a messy home make you anxious and cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?
  8. What are your favorite comfort foods and why?
  9. Bullet point your entire day.
  10. What is someone or something you are missing. How can it impact your day?
  11. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would go and what would you see?
  12. Write about something that scares you
  13. Name 10 things you should always have
  14. One thing you need to stop doing and why.
  15. One thing you need to start doing and why.
  16. What are you bad habits and how can you break them?
  17. Name 5 things that you and your best friend have in common
  18. How are you feeling today?
  19. What went wrong today and how could you have done it differently?
  20. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be? Draw it.
  21. How can you add creativity to your day?
  22. What 10 modern inventions are you grateful for?
  23. What are some of your most cherished memories?
  24. If you could go back to one day in the past and change it, what would you do?
  25. Write the lyrics to your favorite song.
  26. If I were a caterpillar I would……
  27. Create a story about 2 strangers you saw today.
  28. Describe the day you took your driving portion of your test to get your license the very first time.
  29. Write about making mistakes.
  30. Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing.
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