I started listening to Oprah Winfrey’s podcast about two years ago, and right off the bat, I began writing a personal journal. I’ve been doing that ever since and came to realize that this is one of the best tools I have when it comes to therapy.
At first, the idea sounded a little infantile. A diary? This is something I did when I was a teenager! I still remember fighting with a friend of mine over my diary: she wanted to read it, and I didn’t want her to.
Thankfully, we both grew up and I came to learn that writing a journal can be very much like therapy, not to mention that it helps with my writing skills and gives me a chance to look back on time.
Almost Like Therapy
Studies show that journaling can be really good for you. When your feelings are boiling, writing them down is a great de-stressing factor and it even fights depression. You have a chance to vent with yourself, opening the gate for self-awareness.
Writing down is especially good when you’re having a bad day. Believe it or not, it gives you a sense of moving forward and beginning to figure things out. Yes, because when you write things down, you have to arrange the facts and the feelings, and by doing so, it brings clarity.
It also brings you closer to yourself. Especially for teenagers who are so friend’s based. We need to realize that before having friends, you want to be your very own best friend, and writing about your own life, to yourself, is one path to achieve that goal.
A journal also allows you to re-live some of the happiest moments. When you read about your own life, written by you, there is a very beautiful effect, as if you can go back in time to that day.
Don’t be afraid of anyone snicking in and stealing your story, like my teenage friend. Place it in a spot where only you know about it, and again, don’t be afraid to be brutally honest.
A journal is nothing like social media. Lets’ face it; on social media, we only post happy moments. I treat it almost like “People” magazine. It’s about bragging, publicity, and showing the best of you. Nothing wrong with that! But a personal journal is none of that. It’s a moment you have with yourself. It’s you getting to know yourself better. It’s about self-knowledge, self-compassion, and finding clarity.
Better Writing Skills
As a writer myself, I couldn’t advocate more for writing a personal journal. This is storytelling at its best. With the advantage that it doesn’t need to be formatted for a pitch. It also teaches about self- discipline, and self-discovery. There is no set time, no set amount, no set hour. Just write. But try to do a little bit every day.
In my case, I find that writing has to do with gratitude and thinking about three little good things that happen every day. It’s a great exercise.
How to Start?
The secret to start—is to simply start it. Some people prefer to do it in a book; some people prefer to do it on the computer. In my case, although having a concrete journal is a very romantic idea, I type much faster on the computer, where everything I write is here too. So, this is where I make it happen. Choose whatever works for you.
Ok, this may sound delirious, but when you say it out loud, and when you write it down, it might come to you. Here is what’s exciting about the process: once you clarify and commit to a dream or a goal, mysterious forces begin to stir what would otherwise remain inert. Powerful, miraculous forces that are both cosmic and scientific. And be very specific: the clearer you are in your dreams and goals, the clearer results you’ll get.
Let’s go back to Aladdin, the Disney animated cartoon. Imagine that you have a powerful genie inside your mind working his magic to help you achieve what you want. But the genie has one requirement: you have to clearly state your wish. If you don’t know what you want, the universe can’t give it to you.
And you have to believe that everything is conspiring you to help you succeed. If you victimize yourself, that’s the worse thought process. You have to wake up every day and believe that the world is here to help you succeed.
You don’t know what you want
If you don’t know what you want, start with this writing exercise:
Think about some that would be cool…Wouldn’t it be cool if …. And then, complete the sentence.
Wouldn’t it be cool if…
Years From Now…
Who knows, your journal might become a book or a movie? Most people, including myself, write with the intent of self -improvement and want complete privacy of my writings. Some people though are willing to share their thoughts, feelings, and journals way past their lives. If you’re one of those people, consider donating your writings to a library, a university, or a film academy. if you know a producer who is looking for interesting stories, your life might become a movie once a day. You never know!