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Do you ever feel like you can’t make sense of what’s going on in your brain?
Do you ever feel like too many things are happening at once, and you can’t seem to process them all?
Do you ever wish that you could remember exactly what you were thinking, feeling, saying at some pivotal point in your life?
Do you ever struggle to verbalize your feelings?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to start journaling!
Journaling is an easy, cathartic way to work through thoughts and emotions. It’s an excellent way to document what’s going on in your life, for your own or your posterity’s sake. And the best part is, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to journal. There’s definitely a workable method for everyone!
Why I Journal (and Why You Should, Too!)
I have had some form of a journal since I was old enough to put sentences together… about 6, I’d say. The first journal I had was a thin, square, green spiral notebook about 6in x 6in. It had a big lady bug on the front. One of my first few entries went something like this…
Over the years, my journal entries obviously got a lot longer, and my writing skills improved. 😉 I have had some kind of journal, whether physical or digital, almost every year of my life since then.
But without further ado, here are some reasons why I journal, and why I think you should, too!
Journaling as an Outlet
I don’t know about you, but life has been really insane for me at times…okay, most of the time. HA! From family business start-ups and shut downs to new marriages to deaths to moving out to… well, you get the idea.
Journaling has become a major outlet for me. Whether I am feeling confused, frustrated, anxious, elated, shocked, or just plain happy (or some simultaneous mix of those), working through my thoughts and feelings on “paper” allows me to deflate a little and regain a sense of calm.
Journaling to Communicate
Have you ever had something to say to someone, but didn’t know how to say it? Or maybe, you couldn’t say it because they weren’t in your life anymore?
Many times, when I’ve had something on my mind for someone else, I’ve written it out in the form of journaling, just so I could get it out.
This has happened fairly often since Grandma Marie passed away. When you lose someone, you never feel like you had enough time with them. At different milestones in life, I’ve felt compelled to write to Grandma and tell her about it, just like I would if she were still here.
Journaling to Problem Solve
You could say that this is interconnected with “Journaling as an Outlet”, but I think it has it’s own place. Think of this as a pros and cons type of writing.
Problem solving can become quite involved, whether you’re working through an external situation (something happening outside of your person) or an internal situation (something going on inside of you).
Journaling to work through problems can be very effective. It allows you to organize your thoughts in such a way that the solution starts to become clear.
Journaling to Remember
I’m not sure that I ever thought of this as a child or teenager, but now as a young adult working on a memoir, I am SO grateful for my journals. It helps me to remember and relive some of the things I’ve been through.
That may not sound appealing to you, but when you’re writing a memoir, it’s important to bring in the feelings and emotions of those moments into your writing, without sounding cynical and bitter.
But that’s another topic for another time. 🤭
Reading back through journals also reminds you of small, but wonderful moments in your life that your mind has pushed to the back burner. I love it when I come across something silly or sweet that happened in life!
Different Ways to Journal
There are SO many different methods of journaling out there! I’m not even going to attempt to cover them all, but I thought I’d list a few. Really, there’s a method out there for every personality type, whether you enjoy writing or not!
Traditional journaling is, well… the traditional way. 😉 This is simply sitting down and writing or typing whatever you want to say.
This is my all time favorite method of journaling, but not the most practical thing for me. There’s nothing like reading through a handwritten journal. Hand cramps aside, actually writing out your thoughts and feelings can be so cathartic.
This is the method of journaling I use the most nowadays. There are a lot of journaling apps out there, as well as a variety of word processors and document storage that connect to all your devices. Think Google Docs, Evernote, and Microsoft Word.
Also, you could just use the notes app that’s likely already installed on your phone. 😆
Bullet journaling popularity has steadily increased over the past few years. If you browse through Pinterest long enough, you’ll probably see some kind of bullet journaling example.
It’s pretty simple. Rather than writing out your thoughts in sentences and paragraphs, bullet journaling involves summarizing your thoughts into bullet points. It makes it easier to skim over what you’ve written in the past and it doesn’t require as much writing / typing as traditional journaling.
Artistic journaling can be loads of fun and can be as detailed or simple as you want it to be! This is perfect for people that can’t stand writing, but find themselves doodling all the time. Why not transfer your doodles to a notebook to “catalog” your thoughts and inspirations?
Rather than relying on words as your method of journaling, artistic journaling relies on drawings to get your thoughts and feelings onto the page.
Personally, this method doesn’t work well for me, because I don’t express myself through art.
(Although, one time when I was a sophomore or junior in high school, I drew an amateur comic strip to explain to my friends a complex situation that was going on in my brain. But, that’s beside the point.)
If you express yourself through art, artistic journaling is certainly something you should try out!
Journaling can be one of the best things you do for your mental and emotional well-being. It provides an outlet from life, a way to communicate, a method of problem-solving, and a great resource for remembering. With all the different methods of journaling, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try – even if you can’t stand writing. 😉
I created a list of 30 thought-provoking journal entries to help you get started!
Do you journal? If so, how do you go about it and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!