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Healthy Habit #5: Keeping a Journal

August 5, 2008

I’m a writer. Not a professional writer, but I like to write. I make lists. I keep a paper planner (no blackberry or pda for me). I get some therapeutic satisfaction from actually writing things down (lists, thoughts, whims, etc.), reviewing them, re-tooling them, crossing things off the list – you get my point.

So…on the note of writing, I’ve been keeping journals for a long time – off and on. At some points in my life, I was writing everyday, at other points, the entries are very sporadic with months at a time with no entry. There is something very cathartic about getting whatever is in your head & heart out and on paper. When I’m planning or dreaming, it can be helpful to see those musings on paper and help them get a little closer to reality. When I’m frustrated or worried or burden, those problems or fears just seem smaller, less intimidating in black and white.

So here are a few ideas…take them, leave them, modify them to fit you.

Keep a journal by your bed – At night, a lot of us can have “mental chatter” before we go to sleep. Random thoughts, fears, plans all creep into your mind when you really want to just sleep. Getting those thoughts out of your head and down on paper can be helpful. Even if it’s just jotting down those “I gotta remember to”‘s, that’s a start.

Journal after your yoga practice – Yoga tends to bring up emotions, thoughts that we might overlook or avoid during our regular day. (As I once had a yoga teacher tell me in class: “our issues are in our tissues”) . Don’t ignore those – but explore them…take a journal with you to yoga and pop into a coffeehouse or park afterwards and jot those thoughts down. Maybe you had an inspiration on how to handle a challenge or felt a certain peace about something that’s been bothering you. Capture those inspirations.

Take a journal on vacation - Just getting out of your daily routine and scenery is great – that’s why we take vacations…but it can also help our perspective, our stress levels and our creativity. Maybe you’re inspired by a beautiful view or by experiencing a new culture or meeting interesting people. Capture your reactions to what you’re seeing, the highlights of your trip, and any new perspectives on the life you’re coming back to. Getting away can give us new eyes into our world.

Finally, since I have been journaling for awhile, it can be amusing and telling to look back over previous year’s journals and see what was important to me then, what seeds were planted then that have now come to be real parts of my life…

happy writing…

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