The Journal Thing: Why You Might Want to Try It
"Why don't you try keeping a journal?" You’ve heard this heard this before right? Any time there is some kind of trouble on the home front and we are looking for some way to calm our nerves, journaling is right up there with diet, exercise, meditation, and medication. Journaling can serve a variety of purposes and can be done in any number of ways, depending on your intention and your personality. Keeping a journal does not have to be like, ‘Captains Log, Stardate: January 23, 2017, I’ve noticed a rumbling in my stomach that sounds like Mt. St. Helen’s’. YOUR journal can be any way you like, because it’s yours and yours only. Unless you want to share it of course, but, I suppose, that’s a type of journal too, isn’t it ;).
Journal #1: Status Check
I am a paper and pen guy. I’ve tried reading on a Kindle but prefer a hard cover, heavy a** book. That’s me, and thus, my journals are kept on paper in notebooks. That said, many of you prefer the digital stuff, tablets, laptops, phones, etc. Whatever medium works best for you, go for it. It is really deciding on the purpose of the journal or journals that is most important. I keep three kinds of journals. I keep a daily log describing my mental and physical state in a completely honest and clear way, so that I can look back on it and know how I was feeling at a particular time. Sometimes I have a difficult time remembering how long it’s been since I had a flare and the aftermath, so it’s helpful for me to know when I have had trouble. This is important for me because I am the type that likes to say everything’s been great, when in actuality, I was in pretty bad shape just two or three weeks ago.
Journal #2: Let It Flow
My second journal is for venting. Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes stream of consciousness rants, I’ll scribble, put voodoo curses on people…you get the idea. Some of the stuff, I keep for future reference and some I burn. No really, I burn it. Please be careful folks with burning journals. I take no responsibility for this particular type of journaling. The idea behind this is that you have expelled your demons and have no particular need to look back on these thoughts. They are negative and harmful to your mental health. As human beings, it is natural to have these types of dark thought processes. As these moods arise, they should be addressed in a healthful manner. Keeping a journal is once such way to process the mood. Once the negativity is released, however, it is time to be in the present and move on.
Journal #3: The Good Stuff
Finally, my third journal is a positive affirmation journal. I remind myself what I am grateful for, what makes me special, what makes me happy and what GOOD things are happening right now. If you say to me, ‘Man, there is nothing good in my life right now’, I would say to you that you either aren’t looking hard enough or that you have become so immersed in your problems, whether they be emotional, physical or mental, that you have become detached from the things that once made you feel good. If you can’t remember a time that you felt good, it might be a good idea to seek professional help. Please don’t gloss over this, there are people out there that can provide support, if you just ask for it.
There are all sorts of other journal types; art journals, inspirational writing journals, idea journals, dream journals. The list goes on. Ask yourself, what type of journaling appeals to me? What would be helpful during this time? With a little research, practice, and perseverance, you may find that there will come a time when journaling is part of your life’s routine.
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