Is This The Next ‘Meditation’?

On Why You Should Start Journaling

By Kennison Lay

“It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch,
and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about.”
— Joan Didion

Whether you’ve been a longtime diary-keeper or can’t stand the thought of writing, well, anything, it’s time you jump on board the journaling bandwagon.

No matter if you call it a notebook, diary, journal, or whatever, keeping some kind of written log – daily or otherwise – can be one of the easiest and most useful means of collecting one’s thoughts.

It’s like therapy. But cheaper. And with yourself.

Like an active form of meditation, journaling encourages you to set aside time each day simply for thinking. Time for yourself to explore the thoughts you had in passing that you may not have had, in the moment, time to investigate further. Nothing may come of these thoughts, but you’ll never know their true potential if you don’t try.

Plus, getting into the practice of respecting your ideas may actually make you more creative, may offer you clarity into that problem at work, may help you come up with a topic for that research paper, may simply act as an idea dump for things you don’t have the time or patience to truly take time to think about during a busy day.

Just jot ’em down!

Like many women, I often find my mind to feel too full to properly function! I can barely sort through all the madness running through my mind. These racing thoughts can be about anything — work, the weather, relationships, observations, interesting quotes, song lyrics, budget concerns, to-do lists, reminders, grocery lists, anything. It’s easy for it all to get jumbled up there, and, if you don’t have a specific method to keep track of it all, it’s likely that much of it will fall by the wayside.

Where meditation helps you let go and clear your mind, journaling allows you dig into it.

There’s a certain clarity that comes with writing things down. With the simple act of putting words on the page you often might find access to parts of your brain you hadn’t realized you were ignoring.

It’s about keeping in tune with yourself. Staying in touch. Honoring your unique self and every unique thought that crosses your unique mind. They don’t all have to be profound and life changing. In fact, none of them do. They’re only for you, and you are under no obligation to change the world or write the next bestseller. Even if you look back and see a lot of useless drivel, even if you never even bother to look back, I bet you won’t regret it. I bet you’ll realize that you’ve gained something, even if it’s just a better understanding of yourself. And I’d say that’s worth it.