Consider for a moment that you are a teacher at the middle school level. You have the responsibility of supervising children aged 12 for five days each week. Now let's imagine that someone offers to recommend that you, as a pastime, try offering your services as a volunteer tutor to students in the seventh grade. You might be wondering whether that isn't what I do all day long. What could possibly be in it for me? Exactly like that is how I've always felt about keeping a journal. You can see, I write at least a thousand words every day. To be honest, the concept that increasing the amount of writing I do could make me a happier, more creative, and more productive person has always sounded like a lot of work.
What kind of person keeps a journal?
However, in the spirit of experimentation (and for the sake of writing something I could actually get paid for), I decided to keep a notebook for the next two weeks and write in it every single day. I really, really wish I could tell you that I have completely transformed into a new person who laughs at the memory of ever rolling my eyes when I was told to keep a journal (for my own purposes), but, unfortunately, it was a struggle. Continue reading for a record of my failed attempt at journaling, as well as some reasons why you might want to give it a try yourself, provided that it is not extremely similar to the work that you are currently being paid to do.
What are the positive aspects of keeping a journal
1. You Might Find That It Brings You More Joy
A study that was conducted at the University of Michigan in 2013 found that those who had major depression and kept a journal for twenty minutes every day had much lower levels of depression than those who did not keep a journal.
2. It can help improve your ability to communicate with others.
One of the skills that most of us, including ourselves, could certainly use some improvement in is communication. Keeping a journal is one technique to accomplish this goal. Why? It's a great method to get some practice verbalizing what you're thinking. "Both research in the field of writing and writing pedagogy have been developed to a considerable extent on the idea that, as a fundamental discourse process, writing has important ties to speaking," said a paper that was published by Stanford University. Writing can, in essence, help you become a better speaker; it's as easy as that.
3. It might assist you in becoming more mindful.
A fantastic technique to practice mindfulness is to take a seat, open a notepad, and let your ideas and thoughts to flow out of your head and onto the page. Mindfulness is defined as "an consciousness that occurs via paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally," according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, a molecular biologist and meditation teacher. Kabat-Zinn is also a meditation teacher. Some people believe that practicing mindfulness meditation can help with things like lowering stress levels, having better sleep, being more focused, and having more creative ideas, to name just a few of the potential benefits.
Anxiety may be associated with an increased chance of acquiring cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, according to a study that was published in 2018 in the journal BMJ Open. The authors of the study, however, hypothesize that meditation practices such as mindfulness — which have previously been demonstrated to be effective in reducing anxiety — could potentially lessen this risk.
The Results of My Attempt to Keep a Journal
I truly tried to like keeping a journal, but I just couldn't get into it. I pictured myself as the main character in a movie directed by Nancy Meyers, wearing a long cardigan and sipping tea out of a cup (that I'd have to hold with both hands because it was so dainty!). whereas I was sitting there, thinking deep thoughts as I looked out the window at my idyllic 42-acre property in New England and writing them down in a journal that I would one day give to my daughters and granddaughters (or, more to my liking, turn into a book, the proceeds of which I would spend on myself, since I don't have any children). I'm sorry to say that it just wasn't meant to be.
Along the same lines as my daily meditation practice, I resolved to keep a journal for twenty consecutive days. In contrast to meditation, I never found myself falling into a pattern. I attempted to write in my journal first thing in the morning, once again in the middle of the day, and once more right before I went to bed. When I say "journaling," by the way, I mean the following: I would put my phone in another room, get comfortable with my nicest notebook (this gorgeous one from Rifle Paper Co.), and attempt to write with a pen for ten to fifteen minutes at a time.
On certain days, I noticed myself repeating the activities that took place during the day, such as, "I woke up sort of late today and felt really exhausted, then I prepared coffee and got to work." (Snooze.) On other days, I took a more meta approach and wrote about the aspects of journaling that I disliked the most: "I just don't comprehend what people are getting out of this," they said. What exactly am I meant to be writing about anyway?'
It is essential to emphasize the fact that I accept full responsibility for the failure of this experiment: Because I earn my income as a writer, my mind automatically associates the act of writing with the concept of "work." According to what I've picked up from talking to other people about journaling, it is not at all supposed to seem like work. It's intended to be a creative outlet where you may say or do whatever you want, and there shouldn't be any restrictions on that. And I certainly can understand how that would be the case for anybody who isn't used to writing every day. Even though I haven't experienced any major shifts in my life as a result of my attempts to keep a journal, I would still recommend it to anyone who doesn't already do what I do.
But wait...could it be that I simply accomplished journaling by writing this? Just hand the victory on to me, all right?
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