written by Alison Klektau
I always admired the idea of journaling, those artistic bound books with scribbles and thoughts tucked away secretly. In fact, over the years I’ve been given journaling books, often covered with cute baby animals on the cover, as if to encourage my inner desire. I never got it though. Though I liked the idea of journaling, I never enjoyed it. It was kind of exhausting and well, boring. It almost felt like a waste of time, because once the thoughts were written out it was sort of a – now what? I didn’t get it. I did go through a phase when I tried to journal, but the only time I wrote in it was when I was feeling down – I didn’t like it. I felt like it was a book holding all of my negative thoughts, so the pages eventually were torn and burnt in the fireplace. I felt better about that.
In recent weeks however, I was once again faced with journaling – it’s a required assignment for one of our classes. Now initially I wasn’t overly joyous I admit, but I was open to it, and actually it’s been a pretty great experience. If you’re like me, or if you just haven’t written in a journal for a while...here are some tips, as well as reasons why you might want to start or give it a try.
Why You Should Consider Journaling
It helps you become present. Focus on the now, what’s going on in your head. It doesn’t have to be pretty, grammatically correct or even coherent. This is your time to connect to what’s going on in your mind. With my assignment I have entries that are almost 2 pages, to ones that are only a few sentences. There will be days where thoughts flow easier than others, but it’s not about length. Just type a few words and see where it takes you – you might be surprised.
It can help express yourself. Writing isn’t the only way to express yourself, and sometimes I don’t think it’s the best. Sometimes I have the urge to dance and just feel the music. Other times I just need to call up a friend and have a heart to heart – and while there are many other mediums, writing is one that shouldn’t be ignored. There is a time and place for sure – how often you use writing as a medium of choice, will depend on your personality. I often find writing flows better when I don’t force an idea and I just listen to some tunes and write. With that said, the more I write, the easier it becomes.
You might learn something about yourself
You might learn something about yourself. I’ve actually had some moments in writing that I’ve made some major discoveries – those “a-ha” moments– and while it’s a little embarrassing to admit, it has made for some emotional days. But it’s good! We live in a society that as we age from childhood we’re told to put our emotions aside – we’re taught not to cry. Now with that said, journaling does not have to be a depressive activity, but for some, journaling might just be about that – a release. However, journaling is a great place to write down your fantasies, goals, dreams, ideas – whatever your heart desires. You can write whatever you want!
Do you have a purpose?
One of the reasons journaling has been a lot easier for me this time around – compared to previous times – is that there is a purpose. My entries are not going to be marked or read, but it is a requirement, giving me more of a reason to start. While some may feel that’s not a valid reason – you’re entitled to that – it is for me, because like I said, journaling was never my thing, and without having it as an assignment I may never have started. A purpose for you may be – just that, an assignment – in that you need to write a particular number of entries a month or that you want to explore certain ideas or work on a project. This is not easy. There are no right or wrong ways, no guidelines, and sometimes that can be very daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start. If that’s the case, then maybe that’s where you should start.
Being Vulnerable and Brave
The biggest impact for me though has been the self-exploration journaling has allowed by combining it with the activities around me. Now, for many, journaling is a private experience, but for me I’ve actually been sharing entries with close friends as a way to break down walls. For me, vulnerability has been one of my biggest obstacles. The fear of being judged and looked down at….but lately I’ve been feeling brave. But this is just me – maybe it’s my inner actor wanting to escape – either way it has been very therapeutic.
At the end of the day, perhaps you can at least have that – a place where you can safely rant, vent and just release what-ever is on your mind. You don’t even have to use words; you can draw or cut out photos (or write down song lyrics or movie quotes). Think of it as your own little art book. Or maybe do what I did, write it down and then burn it – release those thoughts, allowing them to vanish. Sometimes that symbolic connection can help us move forward.
Whatever you want to use journaling for, or however often, give it a try. Like everything, it’ll take practice, and you might find you resonate with expressing yourself better in another way, but you’ll never know till you start typing away.
Alison Klektau is a Nutritional Muse. She is here to inspire and guide you to live your life optimally, through incorporating simple, practical and most importantly, holistic lifestyle choices to release that incredible being within each of us. Alison is currently studying at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN) where she is working towards being a certified holistic nutritionist. Prior to enrolling at IHN, she earnedher BFA in theatre and film studies from the University of Victoria.