Journaling or Journalling

Whichever way to spell it…. I admit that I was very reluctant to start journaling myself – I thought it was for people with lots of time and a leaning towards poetry … and American teenage girls… not me at all! It turned out that I was being too quick to judge.

Woman journaling

You can buy yourself a beautifully bound notebook to capture your personal experiences and insights in writing, set up a WordPress blog with this intention 😉 or simply open a document on your computer to allow you to capture all the things going on in your head or to vent your frustrations.

Journaling is about taking what is in your head and heart and putting it in writing.

No matter how you choose to do it, it can be powerful and beneficial!

 The Benefits
  • Research shows that writing about stressful life experiences boosts our emotional health and also improves immune function both in healthy people and in those with chronic illness. (It feels good and does you good!)
  • It gives you the freedom to express anything and everything that occurs to you, in whatever way you want to do it.
  • It can start a new train of thought or give you a new perspective. It opens space for creativity and new ideas.
  • It allows you to unburden yourself without complaining to other people.
  • It’s private and only between you and you, other people’s reactions don’t need to be considered.
  • As well as documenting your actions, plans and progress through life, it can be an indispensable healing tool in times of transition and stress.
  • Its a way to bring you to your Middle Ground. A place to connect with your Self. A place for centering and refreshment.
My Own Experience

I decided that I would spend 5 minutes every day writing my thoughts and ideas down in a word document before I opened my e-mails.  The first day I spent 5 minutes expressing how uncomfortable and unsure I was about it.

The second day I captured all the new ideas that had come to me during the night that I didn’t want to lose. It felt good to know it was there and I could refer to it later.

The third day was 10 minutes of venting my frustration about a disappointment and then an other 10 minutes on an action plan to move forward with an alternative course of action. Now that felt great. It can be a self coaching tool – and it saves spouses, friends and colleagues from being the recipients of the vent.

I found it works really well for me when I am over thinking and overloaded, or when something is happening in my life where I have little control over.

My other experience of journaling has been while at my Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training programs. It was introduced as a mindfulness practice. Writing by pen and capturing what came up during a particular exercise or practice. I found writing by pen was a different experience and allowed me to capture my stream of consciousness in the moment.

treasure chestBoth methodologies work for me at different times.

I came to see that my reluctance to start came from judgment and a fear of “digging up stuff that is best left alone”. What I found instead was buried treasure.

If you are like I was – just try it with an open mind and open heart and see what gems are there to be discovered.

 

Please share your own journaling or journalling story here if you like!

 

 

49 responses to “Journaling or Journalling

  1. My journal is part of my gratitude book and also it allows me to vent emotions before I go to bed… and I sleep better having written about certain worrying topics. I express my feelings better in there. I am not a good writer and it also helps with that , yes writing too! I enjoy it. Then it is fun reading what I wrote last year and smile about it.

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  2. I have only ever written in a journal during difficult times. It helps to take the power away from fear. It shows how far one has come in working through an issue as well. I have one particular journal that reflects an especially difficult time. I once re-read it (5 years after I’d penned it) and instead of seeing how far I’d come, it transported me right back into the pain. That was about 15 years ago. I never picked it up to read again. 🙂

    As for ideas, that’s what my whiteboard is for. I love how I can just get up and write on it and let the ideas germinate, or not (in which case the dry-eraser comes in handy!) I would actually like a whole wall to be a whiteboard or chalkboard… one day I will have that!

    Diana xo

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    • Diana, thank you for sharing your experience. I especially like “it helps to take the power away from fear”.
      I have a white board too for ideas, reminders and mantras to live by.
      A whole wall would be awesome!
      How funny we both share this 🙂

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  3. I tell clients that releasing our thoughts takes their power away–when you say it out loud, when it sees the light of day, the fears, the shame, the guilt, the doubts–all lose their power. And seeing things in black and white is a very different perspective. Journal away, my friend!

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    • Absolutely! Thank you for sharing the power in bringing those thoughts and beliefs to the light of day. There’s a distancing from the strong emotions and beliefs when are able to write them down. Val x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I kept a journal in high school and college. Reading it years later made me realize how far I’d come.

    I journal on occasion these days, but I don’t keep the entries long. Like my college journals, they are shredded into pulp for recycling.

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    • (The Canadian spelling too: )
      Funny, how I came here from Diana’s stick figure cartoon doing yoga rock ‘n rolls (sorry, not the official name; ) and here you’re a Teacher… Namaste, Deb.

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  5. I actually kept a journal of Nathan from when he was a baby and continued to do this for my two girls as well. Looking back I am so glad I did, as it helped me remember the precious times I had with him and lessen the guilt throughout my journey. It is a great healing tool to use Val. 🙂

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  6. I love journaling! I am soon to post on my joy from journaling too… I hope you can read my article on it too. I will post it in the next few days.
    But really is it journalling or journaling?? Haha! I have always loved writing and now I have a blog it is such a great cathartic enjoyable expression for me. http://www.anitaozo.com hope you can check me out! Xx 🙂

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  7. Strangely I was just considering the possibility of keeping a journal this very morning (for the first time) your encouraging post seems like a confirmation that its worth trying thanks!

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      • I bought a big book today to go at my bedside (I spend too much time on the computer as is.) I’m planing to decorate the cover with things relevant to my days and press flowers and leaves inside from walks etc. I used to love to do that as a child. Yes, I think I like the journal idea!

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  8. Hi Val, A great post! I have just started journaling (journalling) again after a long absence. I am really enjoying it and my experience is very similar to what you have just posted. I was only going to do it for a week but I can’t stop now!

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  9. Hi Val, great post! I love writing a few lines every day in my Insight Timer journal after I meditate. It’s a great app that times and tracks my sessions and has helped me sit for 4 years without missing. After time is up a prompt appears on the screen to write in the journal, and I usually do. The Insight Timer community of worldwide meditators is awesome too.

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  10. I kept journals for years, then I started a blog. I’m not hand-writing in a journal as much now, but my day isn’t complete without sharing words. I’m glad you gave it a try and have found it to be beneficial.

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  11. I have used journaling in many forms over many years and have always found it to be beneficial. It has become my friend, my companion who listens to me in all the phases of my life and all the moods and always free expression without judgment. I think I can safely say journaling has saved me on a few occasions and continues to be an important part of my day. I have always journaled with pen and paper, for me I feel I am just allowing things to come as they want to. For more formal, sharing writing I use the computer. I have so many journals now, some are beautifully bound others are just exercise books. I am grateful to them all. thank you for this blog I enjoyed reading it.

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