This year I began keeping a journal. I don’t write every single day, but when I feel compelled to because of intense emotion, boredom, introspection, or a particularly interesting day locally or in the world. The frequency ebbs and flows as often coinciding with the action in my life.
The benefits are multi-faceted. For me, I notice that during moments of stress, it allows me to process through my thoughts and feelings more effectively than without journaling. Putting it on paper offloads it from my mind at least somewhat, making me feel calmer and clearer immediately after making an entry, no matter how short or long. According to Psychology Today,
Writing your memoirs can help you think about and understand your own history, put your past into context, and make sense of experiences that might not have always made sense to you when you were younger. It can also help your memory.
I look at a physical journal as a manifestation of my future legacy. As a kid, I would’ve relished devouring my parents’ or grandparents’ journals, if they’d had them. I would be very curious to learn about their first-hand experiences and what life was like around them. Even the physical journal, including its design and the handwriting, sheds some insight into its author beyond the content. I would like for my loved ones to have a more authentic and intimate picture of who I am/was. Social media also keeps records but I think most would agree that it is generally not authentic or intimate.
If creating a legacy within your family doesn’t spark your enthusiasm, consider some of history’s greatest minds who were avid journal writers: Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, etc. They all kept a journal because in one way or more they found value in it. Perhaps it helped stir their creativity. I feel that personally. When I write, it isn’t just therapeutic; the creative juices flow. I consider how I want to express myself, which requires a choice of expression. Keeping a journal doesn’t even require that you write in it. You can draw, paint, sketch. It’s your paper, your place to imagine.
d’Estries, M. (2017, October 25). 8 famous visionaries who kept a journal. Retrieved from https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/lifestyle/famous-people-who-kept-journal-albert-einstein-marie-curie-mark-twain-charles-darwin
Keeping a Journal Can Be Good for Your Emotional Health. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201805/keeping-journal-can-be-good-your-emotional-health
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