Journaling

I’ve been keeping my daily Raising Jane Journal for almost five years now,

so I feel I have some authority to say,

“Journaling rocks.”

Adolf Hölzel – Dorotheum, via Wikimedia Commons

But don’t just take my word for it.

“University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health,” reports PsychCentral.com. “Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit, and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.”

You can find 96 more reasons to journal here.

Good stuff, I tell you. My mother wrote in her journal (several volumes) most every day of her life, some days only a sentence or two. But, what a treasure to leave her children.

The new year is the perfect time to start jotting a journal. Yes, you! It won’t do to hide your head in the sand.

photo by Korall via Wikimedia Commons

Journaling is not another insurmountable task to add to your to-do list. In fact, it’s a wonderful way to tackle life with more merriment and less moping. According to a study published in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, journaling just 15 to 20 minutes on five occasions was enough to help the participants deal with traumatic, stressful, or otherwise emotional events.

Liebesglück – der Tagebucheintrag, August Müller, via Wikimedia Commons

So, let’s get down to the basics:

  • Creativity is not required (unless you crave it). Art journaling may evolve from your writing routine, but that’s another entry …
  • Eloquent writing skills and proper spelling aren’t necessary, either.
  • How about reserving a nice notebook for journaling only, something you’re eager to pick up. This year I’m started a Bee Journal as I journey into being a beekeeper.
  • Try to write a little—or a lot—every day. Whether it’s a single sentence vent (“This day has been CRAZY because …”) or a long meander down memory lane, or like me, I usually write about my fascination with people and things outside my personal world. Just pencil in a time each day to let your thoughts flow on paper.
  • You don’t have to be nice, but penning positive notes brightens your day.
  • Don’t give up if you miss a day or two. Just start again.
  • If you aren’t a fan of writing, you can still reap the benefits of journaling. The University of Rochester suggests substituting with a video or audio journal on your phone.

For a little more inspiration, here’s a video pep talk about the joys of journaling:

Leave a comment 7 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The past 12 years, I have used my daily planner as a sort of journal. It contains what I did as well as thoughts and ideas. The compendium to my journal is a second planner where I list ideas and goal for the each week. Some things are personal and others are an effort to stop procrastinating on doing something in particular. There is something useful to me to write it down and then refer back to it for staying on track and getting things done. In setting up my new MJF Planner for 2016, I read through my secondary journal to review what was done over the years and where I wanted to plan forward. With the layout of this new MJF journal, I think I am going to be able to combine everything into one. It is going to be my new brain for 2016 complete with must do things, ideas, dreams and projects.

  2. Deb says:

    I have been keeping a journal for 40 years. I started as a young bride and as we started my husband’s military career. I have over the years had to reference my journals for important dates and or information, and they have been quite useful. To me it is our Family’s story that future generations will read, I always write from my heart and with honesty. To this day I keep writing, who knows maybe I will write a book one day! Happy Sunday!

  3. I have kept a diary/journal my entire life ( well at least when I learned to write) . My parents encouraged me and gave me lovely journals as gifts .They knew it helped me to keep track of my creativity. When I caught my mom reading it I requested the ones that have a lock and key ( they still make them!)
    I left a whole box of nearly a lifetime’s worth of journals to be stored at my sister’s house a few years ago and she said when she moved the box was lost. I was bereft but it turned up years later.Yay, I labelled the box ” my whole life in a box”.
    Here is what I said on my website about the ” Gardener’s One Line a day ” journal that MaryJane gave me as a wonderful gift .
    ” I received a delightful gift of a small journal called “Gardener’s One Line a Day- a five year book of garden memories.” If you put in the long hours I do that is all the time you have to write – Perfect! Going through the journal’s entries I see so many daily small miracles and joys that I want to share with you fellow gardeners…..”
    Yes journalling is the way to go. This year I hope to go a regular one and also the gardeners one.
    I urge all my fellow farmgirls to buy a pretty blank book and go at it!

  4. Marti says:

    Thank you, Maryjane, for the “kick in the pants”. 🙂 My daughter bought me a journal for a Christmas present. I’m starting to write today. I appreciate the reminder post from you in my facebook feed. I have a tendency to think that I don’t have anything really important to say. And then, I think of my dear aunt Marian, (long gone now), who faithfully kept a journal over the years. She was able to tell us what the weather was on a particular day in a particular year. She could also relate family stories that we may have otherwise forgotten, through the magic of her journal. At 61, I am vowing to continue her practice so that someday I can share these special moments with my children and my grandson….and anyone else who might be interested. 😉

  5. CJ Armstrong says:

    I have several different journals that are filled up and another one in the process. I have used journaling for a variety of purposes and I’ve kept a “gratitude journal” separately. In the gratitude journal I write just a brief sentence or two about what I’m grateful for that day.

    Like Winnie, I also use my daily planned for very short notes on what I did, how my day was and log my exercise (usually power walks)

    I’ve also made and sold many, many journals to individuals!
    I, too, vote for journaling!
    CJ

  6. Bonnie ellis says:

    Aren’t we lucky you came out with a journal “just for us farmgirls” just in time to start this year. Yea, Mary Jane and staff!

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