B is for BooksSince I am not a trained therapist (of any kind) my perspective on journal writing comes purely from years of experience and a lot of reading on the subject. I read wider than only journal writing - one does need a wider perspective in my view. Writing a journal is a simple exercise of taking a pen and writing in a notebook.
The problem with keeping a journal is that people very often start but do not keep up with the practice because they want to achieve something, set a goal, get to it and then you are done. Journal writing is not about achieving some goal. It is a process and as such can be difficult to keep up, unless you find another reason for doing so.
For me, it is the pure pleasure of writing. Of having a means to work through an issue in my head. Our subconscious minds are powerful and often we don't let it do the work it can - helping us make decisions, or sort through an issue we are having difficulties to define to ourselves. Journal writing helps me with putting the issue out there, even if I don't understand it or don't have an answer yet.
To my mind keeping a journal is not something I do, it is something I am. Whether it is a prayer entry, a whining and moaning day, or just recording some events because I feel I have to, my journal is a part of who I am; a part of who I have become. Even if the changes I have seen in myself over the years have been subtle or dramatic, I wouldn't hesitate to attribute at least some of that to my journal.
If you have recently started to keep a journal but find it hard to keep up the practice, you need to find something in the practice that you like. Writing with a beautiful fountain pen? Time to yourself, if only a few minutes? The way you feel after you let go of the stuff in your life that keeps you down or lifts you up after realising that something good has happened. We live such busy lives and it is only when we sit down to take a breath to take stock that we can see what is lacking; to see what we need to find our own happiness.
That is one reason why writing a journal by hand allows you to slow down and spend the time with yourself.
Books and articles I like that may also help you find your journey to happiness through journal writing:
- You Love What You Invest Yourself In
- “Mind Surgery”: My 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat
- Persist. It Matters
- 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms
- The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
- Flow - the Psychology of the Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief by Jordan B. Peterson, Ph.D
- Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick
- The Journal-Writer's Guide to Staying Started by Nathan Ohren
Read widely and explore with your journal, what these topics could do for your journey in life.