Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself. -Robin S. Sharma
One of my tools that has helped me the most through my life is a journal. It is also probably the thing that gets the most resistance when I talk to other people about the topic.
When I was first told to journal by a counselor I saw 6 years ago, I immediately thought, “Nope.” I was a math teacher. We don’t journal. Writing is not my thing. I am glad my counselor pushed it. She said “It is your journal. Write what you want to write about.” I thought about what I usually did when I was feeling sad or needed to deal with something. Listening to music was always where I turned. So I started to write song lyrics in my journal that were relevant to me at the time.
As I went through life, journaling served other purposes for me. Going through one particularly awful relapse where everything felt new and scary to me, I started to journal my symptoms and responses to certain treatments. I kept track of my blood pressure and mood in my journal. The first time I did this, I didn’t really have a reason for it other than to bring into my doctors if they wanted a record of my data. How it has been most beneficial to me now, is that when I am going through a relapse, I can look back when I feel like something is not right and see from the prior data that, “Yes. This is what day 10 looks like for me on Solumedrol.” It gives me a perspective that I wouldn’t have if I had nothing to look back to.
I have also gone through stages where I have done different programs that asked you to use a journal for a different purpose. I always try it and see how it feels. If I like it, I keep it up. If I don’t, I stop.
My newest passion with journaling is art journaling. I have been delving into it for the past year and a half. I can lose myself for hours in exploration of my feelings or things I am going through with a paintbrush. What a stretch from my days as a math and science teacher.
A final reason why I like to journal is it gives me something to look back at and identify triggers. If I can identify them, I can usually get a handle on them quicker. Like any of the other tools I have included in this blog, all I can say is to try it on. Your journal should look like what you need it to look like. . You may find it helpful for you in your journey. If you have other journaling techniques you have used and found useful, share them. Maybe others will find them helpful.