I’ve kept a journal on and off for my entire life but about 3 years ago I started journaling frequently and have kept up the habit of journaling several times each week since then. I think the reason I’ve stuck with it this time is because I completely relaxed any rules I might have had in the past for what should and should not go into my journal.
These days it’s a catch all of everything: long rambling writings, mementos like ticket stubs and programs, cards and letters from friends, lists of things I have to do, goals for things I plan to do, travel logs, drawings and paintings and more. My journal of choice is a Studio Oh! coptic-bound notebook that’s 192 pages. When I fill one up I start another. I don’t worry about starting a new one on a particular date, I just move on and at this point I’ve got a shelf full of full journals along with the one I’m currently using and an empty one to go to when that one gets full. In other words: I’m prepared to continue and I like the continuity of them all being the same format.
The benefits of journaling are widely accepted. It can help with stress, anxiety and depression. It can improve memory, creativity, optimism and problem solving. Truly, keeping a journal is an amazing tool not jut for reviewing your life but for enhancing your life, too. I think there’s something magical about putting pen to paper and, as a writer, there’s just no better way for me to process my feelings than to write them down and read them back to myself. And clearly, I’m not alone. A quick search on Pinterest will produce countless prompts and ideas, netting everything from keeping track of your spending and moods to deeply personal questions to ask yourself and then write about.
Keeping a journal is a great way to practice self care and I encourage you to give it a try if you don’t currently have a journaling practice. If you aren’t sure where to start I would suggest writing a list of things you are grateful for and go from there. I think you’ll be amazed at what you discover.