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, consider offering your services as a volunteer tutor to students in the seventh grade. You may 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 notebook. 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 may make me a happier, more creative, and more productive person has always seemed like a lot of work.
What kind of person keeps a journal?
However, in the spirit of experimenting (and for the purpose of writing something I could really be 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 diary (for my own reasons), but, unfortunately, it was a struggle. Continue reading for a chronicle of my unsuccessful effort, as well as some reasons why you may want to give journaling a try, provided that the activities involved are not very comparable to the work that you are paid to perform.
The "One-Word Journal" is self-care for those who are too lazy to do anything else.
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 serious depression and kept a diary for twenty minutes every day had much lower levels of depression than those who did not keep a journal.
2. It may 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 experience verbalizing what you're thinking. "Both research in the area of writing and writing pedagogy have been developed to a considerable part on the idea that, as a basic discourse activity, writing has important ties to speaking," said a paper that was published by Stanford University. Writing may, in essence, help you become a better speaker; it's as easy as that.
3. It could assist you in being 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 instructor. Some people believe that practicing mindfulness meditation may help with things like lowering stress levels, having better sleep, being more focused, and having more creative ideas, to mention 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 research that was published in 2018 in the journal BMJ Open. The authors of the research, however, hypothesize that meditation techniques such as mindfulness — which have previously been demonstrated to be effective in reducing anxiety — might possibly lessen this risk.
The Results of My Attempt to Keep a Journal
I truly wanted to like keeping a diary, and I worked pretty hard at it. I saw myself as the main character in a movie directed by Nancy Meyers, wearing a long cardigan and drinking tea out of a cup (that I'd have to hold with both hands since it was so tiny!). 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 diary for twenty consecutive days. In contrast to meditation, I never found myself falling into a pattern. I attempted to write in my diary first thing in the morning, once again in the middle of the day, and once more just 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 started 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 meant to seem like work. It's intended to be a creative outlet where you may say or do anything you want, and there shouldn't be any restrictions on that. And I certainly can understand how that might be the case for anybody who isn't accustomed to writing every day. Even though I haven't experienced any major shifts in my life as a result of my efforts to keep a diary, I would still suggest it to anybody 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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