Do yourself a favor this year and start a journal. If you have one and infrequently write in it, how about increasing the number of journal entries? In a blog post back in 2018, I touched a little on the fact that I journal. I’ve been journaling for a little over 20 years and it has been a lifesaver for me.
I was having a conversation with my daughter the other day, and I mentioned that my journal is my psychiatrist. She corrected me and said “psychologist”. I looked quizzically because I always get the two confused. She explained that one prescribes drugs and the other does not. Probably more differences than that but I won’t get into that now. Suffice it to say, my journal is the non-drug version.
Among other things, I journal for mental health. It’s the one health habit that I’ve stuck with consistently over the years.
I didn’t start journaling for mental health, however. I did it to improve my writing skills, but soon found it was an integral part in helping me to discover who I am, how I think and why I think the way I do. Let’s face it, no one person in the world, except maybe my mom or dad (may they rest in peace), wants to hear about the plethora of thoughts going through my head. A journal does.
Forms of Journaling
Let me first say, I strongly recommend journaling. Let me secondly say, don’t follow any of the advice gurus offer about journaling. Journaling is a very personal thing. Do what works for you!
Over the years my journaling has changed. I was never one to use a pen and paper journal. I was always an electronic journaler. I type much faster than I write, so typing was a better option for me. When I’m totally alone (like in the house by myself), I sometimes dictate my journal entries.
In the past, I used a software program from my tech writing days. Nowadays, I use the Day One Journaling app. I like it because of its versatility. Well, it’s sort of versatile. It’s only available in the iOS ecosystem. In other words, it won’t work on Android phones or Windows PCs (so much for versatility). But, since I’m knee-deep in the Apple ecosystem, it works great for me.
Features I Like about Day One
With Day One, I can type entries on any iOS device, email entries to the journal, or even text entries to it. I can dictate, add recordings, photos, or videos. I’m able to search and sort through my entries. I find that to be a handy feature. I can’t tell you the number of times my journal entries cleared up questionable foggy memories about certain events that occurred in the past.
The other feature I like is the ability to print a hard copy of my journal. It’s not something I’d even consider doing, but the option is there. Printing the journal is not free. They charge $14.99 for about 40 pages.
From the photo, you can guess that my journal is well over 40 pages. I took that photo over a year ago and it did not include all printed entries up to that date. My anal-retentive nature encouraged me to print it, but then common sense prevailed. Why print out the journal if I’m not going to share it with anyone? So I shredded it all. A perfect waste of paper (and I’m NOT proud of it)!
When I’m gone and everyone I know is gone, then maybe I’ll allow my great-great-grandchildren to print and read it. It will be a legacy thing. Until then, it will remain securely tucked away.
Begin the Journaling Practice Now
I’m strongly encouraging you to start a journal today. You don’t have to write in it every day. As you can see, my journal’s title is, “Not So Daily Writing”. Although, as I look at the photos, can you imagine how big it would have been if I did write daily? Sheesh!
Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to sell you on the Day One Journaling app, but to plant a journaling seed. Since my journal is over 20 years old, I get to see the good, bad, funny, and painful times in my life. There are some ‘seasons’ that are still too painful to review, while other entries have me laughing out loud. On rare occasions, I share bits and pieces of my ramblings with folks either to make a point or to brighten their day.
Since it’s a new year, why not give journaling a try. It’s easy, cheap and you just might learn a lot about yourself.