Start a journal!

So often we find that we are caught in the rat-race of life, even if you are a homemaker!  Days and weeks seem to pass in a blink of an eye, and so often we miss (or forget) the special moments in our lives.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give anybody is to start a journal.  It is a key tool in knowing yourself and a wonderful method of self-therapy.  Not only that, but it can also be your personal biography and a history book of your life.  I started my first journal as soon as I was able to write complete sentences, and I have been writing ever since.

How writing in a journal has helped me

1. Improved Handwriting

When I was younger, my handwriting wasn’t the best in the class.  When I started writing in journals, I wanted to keep it looking neat and tidy, so I put a lot of effort into writing neatly.  I was able to write slowly, unlike in a class environment where there is usually a limited time to perform the exercises.  Over time this improved my handwriting to the point where I am now told my handwriting looks like that of a primary school teachers.

2. Writing as a form of therapy

I have found that writing has become a form of therapy for myself.  Sometimes my mind is racing at 100 miles and hour on an oval track, meaning it is going in loops.  Through writing I am able to slow my mind down, organize my thoughts, make plans and work through any issues I am experiencing in my life.

Writing in a journal provides a way for you:

  • Organize your thoughts by writing down everything that is on your mind and make action plans.
  • To do an emotional check-in with yourself.  How do you feel?
  • Look at your problems from an outside perspective.  If you were reading a friend or your child’s journal, how would you advise them to handle the problem written down?
  • Notice destructive patterns by reading back over a month or a year, or longer!  I noticed that too much social time would cause me to become drained and the smallest things would frustrate me.  I also noticed that not enough social time puts me into a mild state of depression.  Whenever I am depressed, it is when I haven’t had enough time with friends or family.
  • Calm yourself when stressed, angry or crying.  Writing has an amazing calming effect because you can only write so fast, you have to slow down in order to write out everything that is on your mind.  By slowing down, you also calm down.

3.  Keep track of important events

When important things happen in your life, you can write them down in your journal.  My journals are a record of when I met certain people, when I found out I was pregnant, the first movements of our baby, finishing university and much more.  If I am not sure when something happened, I will go back and look through my journal until I find the date that I wrote about.  This is how I know that I met Mark in September 2008.  I also got to see my whole thought process and why I decided we should date each other at that time.

4. Place to keep special papers

Journals are also great places to keep newspaper articles, photographs, birthday cards, and report cards you are especially proud of.  I often stick birthday cards, or love letters from Mark into my journal.  It isn’t clutter and you can go back at any time to look at them.

5. Thankfulness

Thank you for my beautiful house.  Thank you that I am able to do what I love every day.  Thank you for my husband.  Thank you…

It is so important to be thankful for what you have. There are also some schools of thought that believe that the more thankful you are for what you have, then the more you will receive.  Even if you don’t believe that, I can guarantee that by going back and looking through the things that you have been thankful for over the past week you can change a negative day into a positive one .  I made a habit of writing at least two things I am thankful for in my journal each day.  By focusing on positives, a person remembers that it isn’t so bad.

6. Dreams

I’m not talking about the dreams you have while you are sleeping (although you can journal those too if you want), I am talking about the dreams you have for your life, and for the future.  A journal is a great place to write down your dreams.  What does your dream house look like?  What about your dream job?  What sort of impression do you want to leave on your children?  Over time a person’s dreams may change, others will stay the same.  It is amazing to look back at previous journals and notice which dreams have become reality and which ones seemed so important once upon a time.

7. Stuff I have learned

A big part of my journal became my research into my own personality.  I also used it to keep track gardening tips, recipes, notes on book-keeping, organizing, and ideas I want to explore further.  Sometimes my journal looks like a school notebook for a few pages!  When I write stuff down, I remember it better.

8. Knowing myself

In the end, keeping a journal has given me a better understanding of myself.  I have come to know how I think.  I know my likes and dislikes.  I can monitor my progress, my behavior patterns and how I have changed over the years.  By knowing myself, I am better able to live to my full potential.

Journal options

A journal can be as simple as a standard notebook bought at any stationery shop, or it can have a beautiful design that reflects your personality.  It doesn’t really matter which you choose, it just needs plenty of space for you to write your thoughts and occasionally stick a special birthday card, letter or newspaper article.

My first diary can be seen in the photograph to the left.  My mom bought it for me, and my first entry was about a friend that slept over that weekend!

I had many journals between the first one and the gorgeous one pictured to the right.  I spent a lot of money on that one, it is by far my favorite.  I bought it because it reminded me of a spell book and I was going through a Goth phase at the time.

Recently I have just been using standard hardcover notebooks and writing the dates down the spine.

It is always nice to have a pretty one as your first journal, so maybe go and spoil yourself by buying something special from Etsy that reflects your personality.

Next Actions

  • Buy a journal
  • Add “Write in Journal” to daily checklist

Journal Page Printable

Here is a template that you can use as a daily reminder for what to journal about, feel free to print and share!  Click on the image to make it bigger.

Journal reminders page | www.AuthenticallyAsh.com
Journal reminders page
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