Journaling is the modern-day version of writing a diary. In earlier days, the diary was considered as a person's best friend as it knew all details about its owner, even their deepest darkest secrets. There are a lot of problems or other issues that a person cannot share even with their closest friend or family member. It mostly happens because the fear of being judged is too strong within us. A diary or journal on the other hand would never judge you. It will be your closest confidante.
There are no restraints about what to write in a journal. There are numerous kinds of journaling that exist –
You can buy one from shops or online stores or you can make your own one at home. If you are making your journal, you have to first decide what you want to write in it. It could be anything. You can write about your dreams, your thoughts, your feelings, your ambitions – the list is endless. Journals also help you to be more productive. You can make a to do list, maybe a daily or weekly or monthly one, and keep a check on your progress.
Gratitude Journal Gabrielle Henderson / Unsplash
There are numerous ways to journal, each carries its own set of qualities, here are some ways you can begin:
Financial Tracker – It will help you to make a budget, track your expenses and save money for the future. You will also find it helpful while paying monthly bills, as it will have all your financial transactions in one place.
Habit Tracker – Use it if you feel that you need you make some changes in some habit, or keep a check on them.
Gratitude Journal – This is for writing down about things that make you feel grateful – it could be people, some things or even certain experiences. Later, if you go through these writings in times of distress, they will make you feel better.
To-Do Lists – You can start with these in a – daily, weekly or even monthly manner. It will help you complete you regular work and be at pace with your schedule.
Daily Journal – Use it to write about your day, what went right, what went wrong, did anything exceptional happen, etc.
Planner – Plan out your life whichever way you want. Maybe start small and make weekly or monthly goals and try to accomplish them. Then, go on to make annual goals. You may also plan out small goals to enhance your career.
A person filing up her journal Marcos Paulo Prado / Unsplash
Journaling might seem difficult at first, here are some tips to keep you going –
Turn journaling into a habit
It will help you in the long run. There are a lot of interests or hobbies that we pick up and then often leave in the middle because of various reasons, journaling should not be one of them. You need to be consistent and try not to give up on this habit. There will be days when you will be very happy and there also will be days when you will be very sad, both can be recorded in your journal.
Journaling is not a chore
Don't treat it as a chore. It should not feel like an everyday chore that you tick off your to-do list. Do it if and when you want to.
Avoid overthinking and procrastination
One thing to avoid while journaling is overthinking. Also, you should not be inconsistent with your journaling just because of procrastination.
Decorate your journal however you want Estée Janssens / Unsplash
Your journal doesn't need to be very prim and proper. If you feel like doodling on the borders of the pages, do so. If you want to paste stickers or make small motifs and patterns across the pages, go ahead. Your journal is your own private space, no one can dictate what you can do and what you cannot. Decorate it if you want to or keep it plain and simple – whatever makes you feel better.
One important thing to do after journaling is that once a week or maybe once a month, you should read through your journal and see how your days were. Check whether you need to improve yourself or not, what went wrong and why it was so. Do you need to manage your time, or your workload or other things?
Journaling and mental health
Don't be worried or feel any pressure about what to write in your journal. If you do not feel well a particular day then, feel free to skip writing that day, or fill it up later when you are in a better condition. You can fill up your journal any time of the day, there is no particular timing, choose what suits you the best. Journaling is mainly done to get you out of emotional or other kinds of stress, not to add to it. Penning down what is going on in our head helps us get clarity.
(Keywords : Journal, benefits, mental health, diary, dreams, thoughts, feelings, ambitions, financial tracker, habit tracker, gratitude journal, to do list, daily journal, planner, habit, chore, overthinking, procrastination.)