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Art of Journaling


“Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted – Jules Renard (A famous French author)”









Earliest form of writing appeared 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia. It was mostly pictorial in nature consisting of how people at that time led their life, ate food, and about their work, culture, etc.  Later pictorial signs were substituted by a system of characters representing the sounds of Sumerian and other languages.


Imagine, if people from early civilizations didn’t attempt writing at all, a world without history. We can undeniably say that written communication played a vital role in evolution and is a great resource from which we have learnt ways and means of life. With the advent of technology, the habit of writing has largely comedown, but the importance hasn’t.


Let us look at it by narrowing down the subject to one type of written communication i.e., journaling.  The practice of journaling dates back to hundreds of years. Famous visionaries like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc. have journaled their inventions, discoveries and achievements creating a permanent record of their extraordinary intellect.  And some have given us an insight into their personal lives as well.


A few examples…

  1. Marie Curie, a French chemist and a pioneering scientist in radiation, has journaled her ground breaking research on radioactivity. Even after hundred years of her death, her journals (stored in led-lined box), which are now preserved Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, require special clothing and a liability waiver signed with the library. As a part of her research, she exposed herself to radiation, carrying in her coat pockets the elements that she discovered (polonium and radium).  As a result, her journals, notes and personal possessions are so radioactive that it will be at least 1500 years before anyone could safely use them without protection.

  2. Leonardo da Vinci's, a great artist from the Italian Renaissance era, preserved his legacy in more than 7,000 pages of notes and illustrations, called Codex Arundel. The notebooks had mechanics, flow of rivers, optics, astronomy, architecture and many more. He never intended them for publication, the pages are not hard bound and are mostly loose papers and small bundles which also contained personal reminders about his daily chores and purchases.

What is journaling?

Practice of writing one’s thoughts, ideas, beliefs, goals and day-to-day activities is called Journaling.  It is a basic written record of life.  There is no strict rule to follow and is considered as one of the healthy lifestyle choices.  It can be tailored entirely according to one’s needs.  In old school way we call it diary writing.  

Therapists often recommend journaling as it provides insight into self, promotes growth and stabilizes energies. 

Purpose or benefits:

  1. Works as a brilliant form of expression of mental load and maintains mental health.

  2. Reduces stress of keeping up an active memory.

  3. Contributes to personality enhancement, making an individual more organized and sorted out.

  4. Helps guide towards goals in a constructive manner.

  5. Helps organize tasks to produce best results.

  6. Acts as a best companion without judgement.

  7. Works as a record for great ideas and enables knowledge transfer to generations.

  8. Though not admissible as direct evidence in court of law, diaries and journals act as proofs for undisclosed information, in disputes.

  9. Allows freedom of expression.

  10. Relieves mind from fears, problems and concerns.

  11. Helps recognize triggers and manage them.

  12. Helps reduce anxiety, stress and cope-up depression.

  13. Helps identify negative thoughts and regressive mind patterns.

  14. Encourages positive outlook.

  15. Acts as a guide for self-introspection.


How to self-motivate to write a journal?

Though there is no specific format for writing a journal, pick up an attractive book from the available options in market. These days journals and planners are available in all prices ranges, for different purposes like business, financial, habits, physical fitness, chores etc. They come in brilliant designs, with lot of Knick knacks like sticker sheets, bookmarks, labels, glittery tiny ornaments, etc. These keep us motivated in the day to go to desk, pick up a pen and start writing.  Some more helpful tips are:

  1. Do not begin the habit with serious stuff.

  2. Start with something positive, happy and helpful.

  3. Keep a fixed interval to write, like daily, weekly, fortnightly, etc. and follow it without fail.

  4. Keep the content brief and stick to context.

  5. Initially avoid emotional downpouring. This discourages from opening the journal next day.

  6. Do not push yourself too hard to write in bad mood.  Instead, write a good quote, joke, fun fact, a happy memory and close for the day.

  7. Buy attractive stationery to pair up with your journal.  Do not go over board with the expenses. All these are just to motivate and do not serve the main purpose.

What to write?

  1. Use planners to prepare schedules of work and house chores.

  2. Set weekly, monthly and yearly goals, and write them clearly.

  3. Design attractive tools or measures to achieve goals on time. And write them down objectively.

  4. Write memories both happy and bad, identify learning outcomes and highlight the same. This helps you concentrate on learning rather than the memory itself.

  5. Positive affirmations.

  6. Record even the tiniest of achievements. This helps in encouraging to bag more.

  7. Write observations about your physical health. Track your vitals and progress.

  8. Vividly express your mental chaos, then organize these thoughts, plan action for controlling or managing the peaks and troughs, all in writing.

  9. It need not be artistic or beautiful. It should be legible, organized and pleasant.

  10. Present your daily life, do not fail to mention magical or feel-good moments if any.

  11. Pen your negative emotions constructively.  Choose a format to express them like - What triggered an emotion, root causes if any, similar experiences and possible solutions to dilute the situation. This is just an example of how to give a structure to negative thoughts. 

  12. Update forms of expression from time to time.  Keep changing the style of presenting the situation to continue the habit.

Happy Journaling!!!

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