Do you journal? Probably most of us have kept a diary at one time or another. Perhaps when we were younger. But how many of us journal as an adult?
I never kept a diary as a child or teen, but I have kept a journal for about 20 years. Sometimes I’ve kept two journals.
Is there a difference between a diary and a journal? Yes, but it is a very subtle difference. Specifically, a diary is a daily record of events and experiences. A journal is a record of news and events of a personal nature. See what I mean by subtle difference!?
I keep a journal and try to write in it everyday. For me, journaling is a sort of therapy, a meditation, a relief valve from the daily stresses of life. It is where I can regurgitate every important happening of my life, every thought, every feeling to be examined and then discarded within the pages or organized and better understood.
Writing in a journal has many proven benefits. Much research has been conducted and articles written regarding the psychological benefits of journaling. It can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can help to simply get negative and troubling thoughts down on paper. Once on paper perhaps the cause of the stress and anxiety doesn’t seem quite as troubling. Or perhaps we can better examine those written thoughts and find solutions from that new perspective of the written word. Sometimes just getting those thoughts out of our heads is enough to render them less powerful. Journaling isn’t a cure all for mental illness but it can be part of a process.
There a many different types of journals. Teachers will ask students as a way to reflect on what they already know about a topic or what they have learned after the lesson is over. Some people keep journals around a specific topic like their exercise or career goals. Some keep a travel journal, detailing all their travel adventures. There are reading journals where a bibliophile can keep track of the books they have read or want to read next. Gardening or nature journals are a wonderful way to keep a record of what occurs in your garden or simply nature observations. Creativity journals are fun ways to collect ideas, sketches and magazine clippings to use as inspiration for a special project, art work or creative writing.
There are just so many ideas for types of journals one can keep. Most of the time my journals have been a combination of many different types. An amalgamation of thoughts, ideas, worries, and desires. My journals contain story ideas, future plans, dreams and goals, drawings, beloved quotes, observations and clippings of favorite decorating ideas.
I think after 20 years of journaling it seems right to share my knowledge and love of journaling with others. So I have created a class on journaling to present to adults and teens in libraries, schools, senior centers and other places.
I hope to instill in others a love of journaling.