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Why journal?

Written by Keshsa Vasant

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Posted on May 26 2020

“fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”. – William Wordsworth

Before you read any further, I want you to do something. 

Pause, grab a pen and paper, be seated in a comfortable position, take a deep breath and, on that paper, I’d like you to ‘just write’. 

It doesn’t need to make sense, it doesn’t to be perfect, just write all that comes to your mind. Even if it looks gibberish or feels funny/awkward, just write. Try doing this for a good 2/3 minutes and get back to the article. 

How did this feel? 

How was your experience? 

I’m going to tell you about some of the responses that my clients have given me during sessions, anytime I’ve asked them to try this activity -  

  • “I felt really light”
  • “I’ve no idea what s**t I’ve written but feels so light”
  • “I couldn’t write a lot felt very awkward but I liked the process of writing, will try again”
  • “I want to cry now. I feel so emotional”
  • “I think I’ve let go of that anger I was holding on to”
  • “I Love this! I’m going to do it again”

And plenty more similar responses…

If you’re new to the world of journaling I get how slow, boring or unadventurous this whole process can look to you but, what most people don’t get about journaling is that – It’s a tool to help you align and understand your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals and dare I say your life too. 

If you’re a sceptical, I assume you’re curious to know how randomly writing will help you align your thoughts and your life. It’s not uncommon for most to be hesitant to begin journaling, simply because they are unaware of the many benefits of actually putting pen to paper and expressing your thoughts, feelings and ideas. 

Journaling is pretty much like having a heartfelt conversation with yourself - “it is like whispering to oneself and listening at the same time” said Mina Murray. You don’t need to be good at it or be a writer to journal, you need to be willing to open your heart and pour your feelings out. 

Here are 8 reasons why Journaling is such a powerful tool – 

  1. Sense of release – This is the most common reason for people to journal. We’ve got so many thoughts and feelings we’d like to say and talk about but we’re afraid of expressing. Your journal is a safe space to actually let things out without worrying of being judged or justifying. This is also a great way to get a release from all the pent-up anger and emotions that you cannot otherwise express. 
  2. Clarity and Insight – I’ve always believed that we’ve got the answers to all our questions and doubts. All we need is some clarity and insight.  When we write consistently our thoughts and beliefs are all available for us to understand on paper. It’s like a blue print. In those pages and words, you’ll find a theme that tends to speak to you. It’s repetitive and on similar lines. These themes tend to give us clarity and insight. 
  3. Inspires Creativity – Journaling can be done via sketching, painting, writing poetry, designing, narrating, collaging even. I’ve come across many people who weren’t comfortable in writing their feelings but expressing them through different mediums. Many artists have found their inspiration through journaling. Many have become artists by daily journaling. It’s a great way to feel inspired and create.
  4. Relax and Unwind – Without any doubt it’s relaxing and comforting. Play some soothing music and just pour your thoughts out. It’s like a good meditation session. It leaves you relaxed and refreshed. 
  5. Closure – Dealing with loss can be deeply painful. Its like a wound which is open and needs to be catered to. Journaling about the past, the unresolved and unfinished business can help you give the closure that allows you to then move on. Sometimes talking it over may not be an option, sometimes it helps us prepare. One of the many methods I’ve used for my personal life and others is Journaling or Writing a letter of closure in a journal. 
  6. Reflection – It’s also a great way to be able to go back to the event/situation and review everything. Recording about the situations helps you understand what worked for you, what didn’t work for you, what you need to change and what you need to work on. It’s a great way to be honest with yourself about your behaviour. 
  7. Prioritizing – When you take the time out to journal, you’re giving yourself a priority. The need to spend some quality time with yourself. This little gesture, improves your self-esteem, self-confidence and of course a great way to practice some much-needed self-care. 
  8. Organization – Writing about your goals, the process, the to-dos, the achievements really helps you stay organized. Especially when you start your day with it. It encourages you to be productive, avoid procrastination, improves your habit pattern, eventually decreasing your stress. Referring back to your tasks is a great way to understand your work capacity and how much time you spend on each activity. 

The best part about journaling is that it’s private, unless you plan on showing it to someone. It’s a spiritual way to be honest with yourself and reconnect with yourself. It also helps you maintain relationships. It’s always with you and serves you for the better. 

Remember – Everything takes time to work and change, especially if you’re giving it a go for the first time. Give yourself the opportunity to get started with Journaling. Try it consistently for 30 days to see how you feel about it and then take a call. Don’t worry about getting right, just show up each day. 

Hope this Journaling journey helps you feel balanced, peaceful, insightful and joyful.

Nikita Vyas

M.Phil, M.Sc Psychology 

www.nikitaavyas.in