Written by: @sophia_mohamed
We all know how to journal without even knowing it, and we all do it intrinsically. We lie in bed reflecting on our day, unconscious or conscious we are reliving the moments that made us smile, that made us sad, that made us uncomfortable and moments that pushed us to think further than we are comfortable with.
Journaling according to many dictionaries can be defined as “a personal record of occurrences, experiences and reflections kept on a regular basis”. I spent a lot of my youth putting others before me and not thinking about the consequences of that specific action. I became so dependent on making sure everyone around me was okay, that I forgot to ask myself if I was okay. I forgot to do things that made me happy and I forgot who I was independent of the people around me.
I began journaling 8 years ago and thought it was the hardest and most time consuming waste of time imaginable; but what I learned was that “waste of time” was time that I could spend on me. Time, I could try to put my self first and learn that it was okay for me to be okay, for me to want to be okay. It gave me the insight into my deepest and darkest secrets along with the brightest and happiest moments of my life.
Journaling is extremely personal and everyone has their own unique approach to doing it. I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that have helped me continue to write almost daily over the past 8 years.
Find a place and call it your own: it can be anywhere
- If it is in the corner of your living room, outside on your lawn, in a coffee shop, at a bus stop or in your bed. That's your place, claim it.
Unplug: walk away from the instant communication
- Turn it off, not on vibrate, or put it in another room. This is you time, focus on you!
Put pen to paper: it is the truest and rawest form of writing
- Start small, a couple minutes a day and work up to where you feel comfortable.
- I have friends who choose to completely ignore this tip. They prefer the feeling of a keyboard as they type, so why not try it? Start a public blog. Or like many others, find a way to anonymously share your story in an open, honest and non-judgmental environment (ex: NVSN Journal)
- This means write whatever comes to mind, it doesn’t have to make sense. Don’t think twice, don’t go back and add a comma or apostrophe. Write freely - I find this to be the most therapeutic form of writing!
- This is you time, try not to have a preconceived structure you want to follow.
- Do what feels right: If you want to keep your journal private, keep it private. If you want to share your journal with a friend, all power to you. It took quite a while to do so, but sharing my thoughts and journals with others helped me grow and understand my own thoughts even better.
- Sharing your thoughts, when you feel comfortable, is also a really good way to inspire others facing similar challenges. The simple fact of knowing that there are other people out there who face similar hurdles will hopefully encourage them to break their silence and free themselves of the pressure of feeling alone.
Remember, there are no rights and wrongs in journaling. I have been journaling for 8 years and I can journal for a maximum of 10 minutes before I become fidgety. It is incredibly personal and will change as you get more and more comfortable. Most importantly, do not rush. Take your time. If you’re not feeling it, you won’t write truthfully. It’s so important for journaling that you be the real you.
Before I sign off, I want to leave you with a challenge. Take two minutes or even just a minute and jot something down. Talk about a moment in your day that stuck with you or something someone said to you that changed your day. Reflect on what you wrote, look at it again the next day and add to it by writing what that moment meant to you or maybe start writing about something totally irrelevant to that moment. Let your thoughts grow as you write down each word. Soon enough, you’ll be sharing your journaling tips with someone just like you.
"Journal writing is the voyage to the interior."