• Sarah Pullen

My top reasons for keeping a journal

I've kept a journal on and off since I was a child, usually writing most intently when I was going through a period of change or feeling stressed; a kind of therapy I suppose. What I haven't done, however, is keep a journal consistently. That is until the start of this year.

About a year ago, I started reading a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. A book written with the intention of helping people with artistic creative recovery, teaching techniques and exercises to assist in gaining self-confidence in realising and making the most of your creative talents and skills. I’d started this book once before but, for one reason or another, stopped reading it half way through. However, on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give it another try. I still have the final part of the book to finish but the chapters that I have read have had a profound impact on my life. Cameron introduces us to the concept of morning pages, a kind of creative outlet done first thing in the morning as a tool for releasing our concerns, worries, ideas and thoughts, putting them to paper and, as a result, freeing up space for new and creative ideas to develop. I decided to give morning pages a go at the start of 2019 and haven’t looked back. Over the past year, my version of morning pages has morphed into a daily entry of whatever is on my mind. Writing first thing in the morning with a cup of tea or coffee before I head out the door to work has become part of my daily routine and something I miss when life gets in the way, as it inevitably does. Keeping a journal has helped me deal with a challenging year; it’s helped me deal with stressful events and a lot of change. At the same time my journal has provided me with an outlet for expressing and recording all the ideas I have racing around my mind, freeing up space for me to focus on tasks at hand.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, or aren't sure keeping a journal is for you, I really would urge you to give it a go. Below are my top reasons for why.

Creativity

Writing, particularly first thing in the morning, provides an opportunity to capture ideas before daily activities get in the way. It prevents you from forgetting those ideas you may want to act on in the future. Journaling also provides a platform for taking an idea, and developing and working it through independent from any judgement.

Stress & Anxiety

Writing truly is one of the best forms of therapy. Worries and concerns once written down become far less significant; words on paper are less scary than the thoughts running wild through our mind. Through the act of writing, anxieties begin to dissipate; journaling allows us to see them from a different perspective, one which has less power over us.

Journaling encourage mindfulness, bringing us back to the present moment and calming our thoughts. If ever I wake up feeling anxious, my journal and the process of writing always, without fail, makes me feel better.

Manifesting your dreams

I’m a believer in the law of attraction; you get back what you give out. Journalling is one tool for manifesting your dreams. Writing down your goals and dreams makes them more real, more tangible. It helps with visualising a dream actually become a reality.

Writing has helped me get to know and understand myself, my beliefs, and my goals better and, I’m certain it is helping put me on my way to realising my ambitions. Writing has become a way to process my thoughts and feelings and to help me make decisions based on my gut instincts.

Reflection

My finally main reason to write a journal is the opportunity it provides for gaining clarity. Writing forces us to think things through enough to understand them. Journals don't have to be neat; a blank page can be used for mind mapping, doodling and working through problems. They are the ideal platform for reviewing lessons learned and acknowledging mistakes made as well as how far you've come. They also provide a space for acknowledging the things and people we're grateful for; for affirming our own worthiness and value; and, for helping boost self-confidence. What's not to love?!

In summary, writing for me, much like drawing and painting, is a form of self expression. It's my daily therapy in which I put to paper all the thoughts, ideas, feelings, both positive and negative, going through my mind. I note down ideas, things I'm grateful for, things I'm upset about. I write down my dreams.

My journal is my sanctuary.

Sarah x

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The lovely cover image is courtesy of

Hannah Olinger

on

Unsplash

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