Writing a journal/diary has some amazing benefits and can be very beneficial to your health in many ways.
There are many reasons why we journal. From travel journals, dream journals, gratitude journals to prayer journals, we keep specific journals for different aspects of our life. In the past, many people kept personal journals, where they recorded the day’s events and their observations.
Without Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Frederick Douglass, we would not know much about the personal side of our history.
Although people nowadays keep blogs or vlogs, and record their lives on social media, very few of us jot in a journal and write down our experiences.
I started writing a diary when I was 14 while away at Boarding School. I managed to write two five years diaries during that time. I wrote half of my second diary in shorthand as I was just learning it at Secretarial College. The only problem I have now is that I have forgotten some of the shorthand strokes so I am unable to read them back. Tip number one – never write a diary or journal in shorthand. Also, some of my pencil entries have faded a bit so tip number two is – to use ink to write your diary it will keep it clearer for a lot longer.
They say journal/diary writing is a perfect way to organise your thoughts and emotions and improve mindfulness. It can help you to prioritize fears or concerns.
It can help you to get any worries you have off your mind and help you to remember special times in your life. It can improve your writing skills and inspire your creativity.
It can also help you to set and achieve goals, record any ideas you have, and allow you to self-reflect. It can definitely relieve stress and can help people in pain by taking them into another little world away from their pain.
Seeing your progress can also give you a serious confidence boost. You can feel proud looking back at the challenges you faced and seeing how far you’ve come.
If you are unwell it can track any symptoms you have on a day-to-day basis which can be beneficial for anyone who may be looking after you.
A great book to help you get started is Write It All Down: How to Put Your Life on the Page by Cathy Rentzenbrink – Available from Amazon and other good book shops.
Sunday Times bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink shows you how to tackle all this and more in Write It All Down, a guide to putting your life on the page. Complete with a compendium of advice from amazing writers such as Dolly Alderton, Adam Kay and Candice Carty-Williams, this book is here to help you discover the pleasure and solace to be found in writing; the profound satisfaction of wrestling a story onto a page and seeing the events of your life transformed through the experience of writing a memoir.
Perfect for seasoned writers as well as writing amateurs and everyone in between, this helpful handbook will steer you through the philosophical and practical challenges of writing, whether you’re struggling with writers block or worrying what people will say. Intertwined with reflections and exercises, Write It All Down is at once an intimate conversation and an invitation to share your story.
A few reviews on her book on Amazon –
Cathy is the person who first told me to write about my mental health when I was nervous to do so. She is a great writer herself and this [is] brilliant. — Matt Haig, bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and The Midnight Library
A gentle, wise and witty book that will take you by the hand and guide your words onto the page – I truly wish I’d read it before I began to write. — Raynor Winn, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Salt Path and The Wild Silence
Cathy has an extraordinary gift for helping people tell their stories and you need this gently inspirational book in your life. — Nina Stibbe, author of the award-winning Love, Nina and Reasons to Be Cheerful
They say you should try and write it about the same time every day but do not stress yourself out if that is not possible or it will put you off writing it. I used to write mine before I went to bed at school but now I tend to write it sometime in the morning.
If there is something important you want to remember then highlight it or write it in capitals. That way you won’t worry about forgetting it by just checking over your notes.
It is also a lovely memory for your children and grandchildren to have and know what your life was like back in your day. Secrets can be quite intriguing for another generation. I am just about to write my Dads life story after he passed a couple of years ago but I only have bits I have managed to put together and some stories my Dad had told me. I really wish I had spent more time and taken notes about his life as he had some fascinating stories especially when he was in the Navy during the war.
It is fascinating when personal stories criss-cross with big historical events. I am sure my grandchildren will find some of the antics we got up to at School very funny especially some of my diary entries about what I ate from the ‘Tuck Shop’. Some of today’s life could also be tomorrow’s research material and part of the history of the future.