When I was younger I had a diary. Okay, I had about five. Every time I started a new diary, I would be so excited thinking about all the secrets I was going to stash away and how this time I would write every day. I had dreams of maybe turning my diary into a book someday. But almost every time I would write for a week or so and then get out of the habit. Again.
When I was older I tried it again a few times. This time I used a journal. A journal is a lot like a diary, but in a journal you just share anything that goes through your head including stories and poems. I guess you can do that in a diary, too. But a diary is usually more of a daily account of what happened in your life. A journal is more open to thoughts and ideas.
Despite my best intentions, the journaling didnít stay strong. I still have my journal and I write in it every now and again. Despite my failed attempts, there are very good reasons to keep trying to get in the journaling habit.
Catharsis is a big word that means emotional release. When you write about your emotions it can help you process them. If youíre feeling overwhelmed and sad, writing about your life, your thoughts, and being free to just say anything that crosses your brain can help a lot. Nobody but you reads the journal, at least in theory, so you donít have to write in complete sentences or use punctuation. Just get your thoughts down to let the healing begin.
Writing is also good for giving you time to process something before reacting. You hear your best friend is talking about you behind your back. You can immediately confront her, but all of us know that we tend to say things we donít mean if we donít stop to think. So next time you get bad news, write about it. Treat that journal like the best friend it can be and help your brain shift though everything so you have a clear head and a good understanding of what to do next.
Finally, diaries and journals can be a lot of fun. Itís fun to write in them at the time. I canít tell you how many weddings Iíve planned. But itís even more fun when you find the journal a few years later and sit down to read it. Youíll see yourself as you never have before. A diary is like a time capsule. Itís amazing how much you forget over time, but reading your thoughts on a friend or seeing the names of your crushes from grade school can make you laugh and appreciate your life that much more.
And just think, if you love your journal two years later, imagine what it will be like when youíre an adult. Or go even farther and think about what your kids would think if they got to see what their mom was like as a kid. You might even ask your mom or grandmother if they have a journal or diary. They might be willing to share it and then youíll get to know your own family like never before. The written word can be truly amazing.