A life observed – Journal writing: why it is so good for you and where to begin

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I have been writing journals most of my life and have found them to be the best tool for putting life in perspective and order. While photographs record a moment caught in time, it is just the external captured for that single second – a journal is a record of the inner journey – thoughts, emotions, fears, joys.

It is how we experience our lives, how we reacted to what was happening and what was important – on that one particular day.

If you have not kept a journal – I hope that this blog post will convince you of that journal keeping is worth the small investment of time.

a journal is your dearest friend

A journal is the best friend you can have

Make a pact with yourself – that you will never allow anyone else to read what you write and you will discover a sacred place where you can be yourself and where your soul finds its voice.

A home for your wildest dreams, your ideas, hopes and plans.

A journal is a gift you give yourself, it is your kindest, most patient listener, your loyalist companion and your tolerant loving confidant. It is a place you can go any time; day or night – where you are never judged.

Captured within the bound pages of a journal –  is place of safety to pour out your heart, express your fears and record triumphs.

Those blank lines can hold all the emotions that course through your veins – the disappointments, the jealousy, the rage,  once expressed, have a tendency to lose their potency. You can lay bare – the thoughts and feelings that could not be discussed with another living soul.

life is fleeting

It gives your life perspective

I have been journalling over twenty years, there are a stack of books that represent my life so far, not the external –  photograph albums but the internal – thoughts, emotions, reactions and lessons.

Life is fleeting, days fly by and before you know it years or months have passed, a journal is like catching each day, and preserving it.

At any moment I can travel back to a particular day and read what was on my mind. It helps me to see each day as a page in my book of life, one that moves the ‘story of me‘ – forward.

I have the photographs of my daughter’s wedding, but I also have my joy recorded in the pages of a book, the elation, the laughter, the pride – the preparations and small incidents noted that would be forgotten. Any day I choose, I can go back and re-live that moment of triumph- preserved forever.

Journalling gives perspective

It helps us to solve problems

Life gives us lessons, sometimes painful lessons; our journals can be a place where we can record how we react, but once the emotion is spent, we are able to discover our own inner wisdom.  It can be where we reflect and explore strategies to handle similar problems in the future.

We can re-read the some of the darkest moments of our lives with the benefit of hindsight – the fear that gave us sleepless nights – resolved itself eventually.

We can read how we were knocked back by life – and yet, slowly, day by day, got back up and began again.

Hopefully – when the same lesson presents itself – we know we shall survive. We are able to see how much we have learned, how well we handled the situation – and how much faster we recovered.

Arguments and disagreements feel like monumental events – but  as time moves on – they change,  incidents can lose their importance. The argument with the woman you work with – years later is someone who’s name you had forgotten. The period of unemployment – was an opportunity to review your career path and a change of direction.

words have power
Kipling

It puts you in control

If the past is still haunting you, a journal can be a place to re-write the story; laying events to rest so they don’t overshadow the present. You can record all the great ‘come backs’ you could have said, or write an ending where you come out on top. The job you didn’t get – can be a blessing.

Just the act of writing these things – helps us to release the grip of pain and regret so that they don’t take up any more of our lives than necessary.

Simple Abundance Companion - Sarah Breathnach
Simple Abundance Companion – Sarah Breathnach

This lovely quote from The Simple Abundance Companion always fills me with joy – words have a tremendous power to change our feelings, change our perceptions and alter the course of our lives.

When you write in a journal, that power is in your hands.

the power of the pen

It makes you happy

We live in a world full of advertising – bombarded on all sides with glimpses on a better life that are designed to make us dissatisfied with what we have. A journal can be a place to record all the blessings we have which give our lives balance.

Happiness comes from within – recording just five things that you are grateful for every day – focusses your thoughts on what you have. It can turn the worst day, into one where it is good to have a warm bed, good health and something to eat.

It helps creativity

As the digital world takes over, written documents are becoming increasingly rare. Handwriting becomes an exercise in mindfulness, it slows your thinking.

The Artists Way advocates morning pages – three pages of stream of consciousness writing – it gives an outlet for all the thoughts running through our heads, clearing our minds for creativity.

Ideas can be captured, expressed and developed – all within a place of safety, until they are ready to emerge.

Anias Nin Quotation

Journalling is accessible and affordable

I tend to use blank journals, a diary has limited space and if you are busy there are no empty pages to greet you when you return. Some days I can write night and morning, or I will miss a week or two.

You don’t need an expensive notebook, some of my early books were simply exercise books – you need something that you aren’t afraid to ‘spoil’.

Journals are your very own story –  recorded in your own hand – who you are and the life you have lived.

journalling

Why not start writing your story today?

Here is how

Or here are some great books that will start your journey into finding your authentic self, click on the pictures for a link to purchase. (I am not being sponsored for these clicks!) they are all books that I have found useful.

kindle-book-heal-v2-2

Simple Abundance Companion

Peace and Plenty

The-Artists-Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “A life observed – Journal writing: why it is so good for you and where to begin

  1. Interesting. I know some people find keeping a journal really useful, but I’ve never kept anything more than a learning journals. I don’t feel any need to write down emotional or more personal things or to read back through them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bekki That is surprising to read, as most great writers have been prolific journal keepers!

      Learning journals are quite different – you might not have felt the need to journal in the same way as I do, but it is one of those things that you can’t really appreciate the value of them until you do it.

      I know we are all very different, and a journal doesn’t have to include emotional or personal things, you can have journal just for creative ideas.

      I think the Artist’s way introduces the idea of daily pages, simply where you write out what ever comes to mind – it doesn’t have to be reflective or emotional – just a place fort your thoughts running round in your head. A dumping ground so to speak, what it does then is give yourself an opportunity to focus on writing (the Artist way is mostly about writing but she broadens it to all creativity).

      I can thoroughly recommend the Artist way to you Bekki, it has such great suggestions for creative people and it is about capturing and making the most of your creativity – which is a subject dear to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank for your long comment, but I have read the artists way and tried morning pages, but they didn’t do anything for me. Most mornings I’m thinking about my ideas (writing or otherwise). Even if I’m not and I’m thinking about life or some sort of challenge, I still find thinking about it a much better way of ‘growing’ what I’m thinking about or finding solutions. If I take out a pen and paper I just loose that creativity.

        Liked by 1 person

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