Benefits of Journaling
by Loretta Peters-Martin
Journaling is highly beneficial for the soul, and even necessary if you feel depressed, angry or sad. It is a great way to understand your feelings and what makes you tick. The clarity it provides is amazing. Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Creativity, recommends three pages a day. The first page is the “busy mind” talking — the part of us that writes things such as “I’m tired and not in the mood to do this”; “I have to remember to pick up the dry cleaning tomorrow” or “I don’t feel like working today”. After the busy mind has the opportunity to vent, we can then go deeper, whether it happens on the second paragraph or the second page. I like to get up each morning and write 3 pages of “stream-of-consciousness” (as Julia calls it) writing. Many of my questions and concerns are answered when I journal, and I evolve by leaps and bounds.
Some folks prefer to journal on the computer. I prefer to write by hand, as it is more personal and allows the inner child (the subconscious) to express – especially if the non-dominant hand is used. I purchase beautiful, bright, colorful 3-5 subject notebooks from Staples. I also use my favorite pens and change colors every day (to make it fun). My personal preference is Uniball Vision’s Fine pens in hot pink, aqua, green, purple, red, wine, and dark blue. I spend a lot of time at my computer, and writing by hand not only gives me a break from the computer, but it also adds color and excitement to my personal journaling process.
If typing is your preference, there is a software package called “Life Journal”: http://www.lifejournal.com/. This journal offers a unique and fun way to write. The software costs about $40, and personal username and password keeps your loved ones at home from snooping. Of course, Microsoft Word or other word processing programs can be used for journaling, but the Life Journal adds some spice to the process and is a more amusing way for the serious journal keeper to express.
Just as some people feel “naked” when they are not wearing a certain watch or ring that they are accustomed to wearing, that is how journaling can be when you really get into it and skip a day.
Create a calming and enjoyable atmosphere when you write or type. I like to listen to soft music or a Gregorian Chant, and light candles and smell fragrances. I also pamper myself with a hot cup of my favorite herbal tea or curl up with a tasty organic Cabernet or Merlot. A friend of mine who is an author creates her fabulous books in her creatively-decorated colorful office. She uses bright colors to stimulate her creativity and also uses lighting, music, and scent to create different writing moods. Do whatever works for you. The point is to make it enjoyable for yourself so that you will stick with it. Make it fun!