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How to Journal and Why

What is a journal? 

Well a journal is a "special book" you use to express your deepest emotions. You can use this book to express positive or negative emotions. It is a place where you can go to be totally you. When you use a journal there is no need to pretend, no need to hold anything back. It is a place to vent a place to laugh a place to cry. It is a place to go where you will receive no judgement. A world in which all of your emotions and feelings are all that matter.

I do not like to write, can I still use a journal?

So many people do not give journals a chance. Many people do not like to write, or do not mind writing but feel like they do not write correctly. That is the wonderful thing about a journal. You do not need to know how to write, it does not matter if it is written properly. Really it does not even matter how you spell or how neat your handwriting is. What is important is that you can go to your journal as a release. You do not have to write pages and pages of paragraphs. You can draw, you can compile a list of words which describes the way you feel. It really does not matter. It is yours, put in it what you please.

What will a Journal do for Me?

The world is full of things that cause us stress, things that bother us and things that make us worry. Life can become so busy that we really do not make time for ourselves. Everyday things that we really are not aware of or we put out of our minds can build up inside of us. It can make our hearts and minds feel heavy. We can get to the point in which we feel so tired. So burned out. Keeping things in and not releasing them can cause us to feel unhappy, to feel burdened. Writing in a journal is a way in which to release those emotions, release those worries and start fresh. It is like this; lets say day after day you fill your refrigerator with left overs. Day after day you keep stuffing stuff in there. The refrigerator gets fuller and fuller and the stuff inside gets older and older. Soon there is no room for anything new. All that old stuff is still inside. All you have to do is remove it, get rid of it and then you would easily be able to make room for the new things. The things that are fresh, new and healthy. Writing in a journal is the same. It allows you to get rid of all of that old stuff. You can get it out of your mind and off your chest, allowing yourself room to create new ideas, add new thoughts, get a fresh perspective on things. You do not have to continue to keep holding on to the stuff inside. Get rid of it! It is no longer good. What happens to the old food the longer you keep it in the fridge? It gets moldy. It actually starts to grow things which are unhealthy and eventually it will start to spread and contaminate the food around it. If you hold in negative emotions it will start to affect everything else that is inside of you. You will start to feel more and more unmotivated, it will start to affect other areas of your life. Contaminate the thoughts that you have. Get that junk out of your internal fridge. There is no need to keep it!

Some reasons why we hold emotions in:

  • Most of us are afraid to express our true feelings. This can be for many different reasons. It could be that you are afraid of being judged. You are afraid of what it might do to a relationship or are afraid of change if you reveal the way you really feel. It could be that you are unsure of how to express your feelings in words.
  • We are really unaware of what we are feeling on the inside. This might sound a little strange. How can we not realize how we feel?  We become so involved in life and things that we do not take the time to sit down and explore the feelings we have inside. We tend to fill our lives with things to do. Sometimes we do not even realize that some of the things we choose to do cause us added stress or ill feelings.
  • Denial. There are times we have feelings that we wish we did not have, therefore we pretend they are not there. We will live our lives ignoring those feelings and keep on pushing them away. Compare it to this: You start off with a small debt. At one time you were strapped for cash and unable to pay a $100.00 credit card. So you forget about it. You stop paying the bill. Bill collectors start to call. You keep on ignoring them. Soon not only are you getting phone calls but you are getting letters in the mail. Everyday you come home and there are either messages or letters there reminding you of this debt you owe. Soon that $100.00 becomes $200.00 then $500.00. It just keeps getting worse and worse.  Then all of a sudden the calls stop, the mail stops and you kinda forget about it. Years later you are in a better situation and you apply for a new credit card. What happens next? Well the wonderful credit world sees activity on your credit and all of a sudden this old debt reappears. The phone calls and letters start again. Until you pay off that old debt, until you take care of it, it is really never gone. Just because those creditors did not bother us for a while does not mean that they were just not sitting back and waiting for a time in which to reappear. The same thing is true with our emotions. We can push them away, even forget about them for a while. But at some point they will come back. They will try to hold us back from receiving something we want or doing something we want to do. The best thing we could do for ourselves is deal with our problems. If we deal with them now, they will not come back later to haunt us.
This is the reason why expressing our emotions is so important. It gives our minds, our bodies a chance to start fresh. A chance to get to know ourselves. This is the best way to live a life with less stress, a happier healthier life.

So how do I start using a journal?

Like I said earlier. It really does not matter how you write in your journal. You will figure out what is best for you, but here are some tips on what you should include.

  • Be sure that what ever you write is true. Nobody else is going to read this and the whole point of releasing our emotions is to get them out. You do not have to be fake in any way. If you write only part of the story or partly on how you are feeling then it will not work. It will really just be a waste of time. The things you write in here can be absolutely crazy. It can be just a bunch of gibberish, venting, sentences that make no sense at all, but it has to come from the heart. It has to be real.
  • If you are one that does not like to write that is fine. Create a list. Write down words that express the way you feel. After you finish compiling your list, you can then go back and read each one individually and think about why you wrote that word down. It will give you a chance to explore yourself on the inside. It will make you think of why you wrote what you wrote and why you have those feelings.
  • Doodle. If  you are not in the mood to write but are feeling stressed doodle. It gives your brain a chance to relax. When you were in school and the teacher was boring you to death you would doodle. Why? To tune them out. While doodling you were not listing, you were not paying attention. You were in your own world relaxing. It will do the same for you now. It will release some tension and separate you from the outside world.
  • Remember that writing in a journal does not have to always be negative. You can express happiness and giddiness in a journal as well. This will give you a chance to relive those feelings in the future. It will give you motivation in the future if something is not going right. And sometimes things that seems so important to us, things that make us so happy might not seem so important or wonderful to another person. This way you are able to write down exactly how happy you are. Express how good you are really feeling. Realize that we do not always need acceptance from other people. What makes us happy will not be the same for somebody else.
  • A very important reason to keep a journal has to do with the self time you get. A lot of people do not realize how important it really is to have self time. But think about it, yes it is important to take care of our families, friends and responsibilities. But what about you? If you do not take care of yourself and your own needs then what? After a while you will become so overwhelmed that not only will you not be able to take care of yourself, it will affect the way you deal with your family and other responsibilities that you have. 
  • Starting a journal is just the beginning of changing the way you think. You can start living a life with less stress and find ways that help you to relax. Once you have been doing this for a while you will start to look at things differently. It will be easier to recognize the things that make you happy and the things that we need to eliminate or change. It will be easier to spend time by yourself and figure out things going on in your life. You will get to know yourself on a much deeper level. It will give you something to look back on. Sometimes we find patterns that have caused us unhappiness or stress and we will be able to actively work on changing those things. You will find that you are a really interesting person who might have goals, desires and dreams hidden deep inside waiting to come out. Get to know yourself!

 Star using a journal and figure out what will make your life better and start working on it today!

What do you need to get started?

It is simple: All you need is a notebook, a pen and some time.
You can use any notebook to start your journal, but I do prefer something a little different. Something special. A book that you will not grab to jot down phone numbers or rip pages out for writing down notes. You can use multiple books, one for happy entries, one for things that upset you and maybe one for goals. 
Make sure you use a pen that is comfortable. If you really get into writing then using a pen that is gentle on your hand is important. It does not have to be fancy, just a comfortable fit for you!

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