Why Journaling is so Helpful to Me

I have been journaling since as far back as I can remember.  It started in my early years with the typical “Dear Diary” books of a young girl.  I started to purchases pretty journaling books when I was a teen.  Those were the kind with beautiful pictures on the front and built in bookmarks.  In college, I journaled on my computer.  And when I first became a mom, I began journaling on a blog.

A quick note about journaling on a blog – I don’t do that anymore.  Yes, I blog, obviously.  But my actual journaling has gone back to paper.  Not every thought needs to be placed in cyberspace for eternity.  I learned that the hard way.  I lost a very good friendship by oversharing on a blog.

But that’s a whole other story.

Back to journaling… I love to journal.  I always have.  Do you journal?

 

 

One would think that with journaling as long as I have, I would have stacks and stacks of books recording my life.  But I don’t.  My journaling style is slightly different from what I understand the norm to be, so I thought I would share with you a bit about it.

I guess the biggest difference in my journaling is that when I am finished with a book, I destroy it.

Yep, I said I destroy it.

I will rip it apart, tear up every single page, sometimes shred it, and then dump it deep into the trashcan never to be seen again.

Why would I do that?

The answer is so simple… It’s therapeutic.

 

My Journal

 

I’m sure that some people will think this is silly considering that I destroy the final product, but I always buy nice journals.  I like them to be visually appealing.  In fact, my inspiration for today’s post is that for Valentine’s Day my husband ordered me a fancy new journal.  It hasn’t arrive yet or I would share pictures… Maybe when it gets here I will revisit this subject so you can see.

Actually, to be more accurate, what he ordered me is a journal cover with four separate journaling books inside.  With four books, I can have four categories for journaling all located in the same package – nifty!

I like my journals to be pretty.  I even sometimes decorate them.  I use different colors for writing.  I draw pictures.  I do all kinds of creative things – and pretty books inspire me to keep doing it.

 

Staying Calm and Releasing Emotions

 

I tend to become overly anxious about things.  I get worked up pretty easily.  When I sit down to journal, I let out everything.  I don’t care about my handwriting, I don’t care about grammar, I don’t care about the words I choose… I just release.  My writing style is known as free-form.  That means what I write is raw.  It is real.  It is unedited life.

I sit and I just write down everything that comes to mind.

If I had a crappy day, I write about it.

If I argued with my husband, I write about it.

If I’m mad at a relative, I write about it.

If my kids acted up and I’ve had just about all I can take, I write about it.

If life is beautiful, I write about it.

If my husband made me feel like a queen, I write about it.

If my family showed me love, I write about it.

If my kids made me feel like the best mom on earth, I write about it.

In other words, good or bad, up or down, happy or sad… I write about it.

My fears, concerns, desires, worries, anxieties, emotions, hurts, wins, loves, losses, etc… I use my journaling for it all.

I dump out everything in my brain onto the paper.  And most of the time, I don’t ever read it again.

 

Creating My Best Self

 

I know… most people think it’s completely odd that I don’t read it again.  But why should I?  Those emotions need to come out.  They need to be put somewhere.  Sometimes, the best therapy one can have is to just find a way to let things go.  Journaling does that for me.

And in letting things go, I make room for those things that improve me.

And those are the journals that get read again.

Because on the flip side of the free-form emotional release journal are my gratitude journal and my prayer journal.  I still destroy those when I’m done with them.  I don’t need to keep them forever.  But before I destroy them, I read them.  I read them to remember what I have been thankful for.  And I read them to remember what I prayed about, and to recount the ways in which God answered my prayers.

But these things are incredibly personal.  I don’t want to write a book from them.  I don’t want to share them on a blog.  I don’t want people finding them long after I’m gone from this earth and trying to know me through the words on a page.  Nope, that’s not their purpose.

Their purpose is in the moment – to get my thoughts down, out of my head and onto something tangible.

It helps me feel what I think, and that feeling helps me live more.

Yes, feeling the emotion come out, no matter what it is, helps me live a more full life.  I’m not suppressing it.  I’m not hiding it.  I let the feelings come, and I let myself grow from those feelings.

That is what journaling does for me.  Free-form emotional release, gratitude, prayer… it doesn’t matter which journal it is, I grow from the feelings I let out on the paper

Journaling is self-care for me.  It is me, using my own words and thoughts, growing into a better person.  And from time to time, I even write down someone else’s thoughts.  Sometimes an author or speaker will inspire me and I will write down what they’ve said.  Just the simple act of writing it down allows the words to penetrate my soul – and I grow.

I always grow.

So, if you journal, I’m curious how you go about it.  Are we similar, or do you think I’m a bit nutty?

8 thoughts on “Why Journaling is so Helpful to Me

  1. I do the same!!

    However I only tend to journal during my lowest points in life.
    I agree, it’s so incredibly cathartic to let it all out, knowing that nobody else will ever see your inner thoughts in written form.

    I rarely read these, the same as you. Seeing as I only ever write when I’m deeply upset or stressed, I find it too heart breaking to re-read and re-visit those moments. I burn my notebooks so that those feelings will be erased and hopefully forgotten.

    Learning about mindfulness (I don’t know if this clashes with the teachings of your faith) they say observe your emotions, embrace them and then move on. I see jotting down your raw emotions in all their negative form a good way of doing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so nice to know I’m not the only one out there destroying my journals when finished with them. Over the years, I’ve met people who have boxes and boxes full of old journals and I never quite understand why. They aren’t using them, they just hold on. It’s as if people think getting rid of the journals gets rid of some piece of them. Maybe I’m just not sentimental that way.

      I think mindfulness is a good thing. Not some zen meditation form for me, but like you said… observing emotions, embracing them, and then moving on. It helps a person to grow. Even in my faith, it helps me to grow. If I can’t realize what or how I’m feeling, it makes it incredibly hard to pray. I know God hears my prayers even if I can’t speak them, but a relationship with Christ takes some conversation. I need to be able to know myself to really know how He is working in my life… after all, if I can’t pin down my own feelings, how will I ever pin down His voice in it all?

      I hope that makes sense… it makes sense in my head. 😁

      Like

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