Date of the last update: 28.01.2022
To many people keeping a diary may sound pretty old-fashioned. Especially in the age of social media and smartphones, when it is so easy to capture moments with photos and posts. But having your diary with intimate notes is an entirely different thing. You can write down your sincere thoughts without being afraid that others will judge you. Does journaling help? There certainly are several benefits to this activity!
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What benefits does keeping a diary bring?
Keeping regular records makes sense. Here are some reasons why it’s worth doing.
Getting to know yourself better. Creating records without self-censorship is an ideal opportunity to get to know oneself better. People hide a lot of things on a daily basis and assume different social roles. Thus, sometimes it is difficult for us to distinguish between what we genuinely care about and what stems only from peer pressure or expectations from others. Keeping a diary contributes to strengthening one’s inner voice and making it more meaningful.
- Therapeutic function. Journaling as therapy? Yes, in a sense. This activity offers the chance to name, release and let various emotions go. Besides, “externalising” yourself and coming back to your notes after some time allows you to look at a situation from a distance and redefine it in your own mind.
- Capturing your everyday life. Researchers from Harvard University Business School argue that it’s worth noting down small, insignificant and sometimes even boring moments in your diary. Studies show that these little things gain value over time, and people appreciate it when they can revisit the past with their thoughts.
- Building awareness. Keeping a regular diary increases your awareness, helping you notice aspects of your daily life that you don’t usually think about. Thus, journaling can be an exercise in mindfulness.
- Helping to organise time. Diary keeping can take many forms. It does not have to include important thoughts; sometimes, it may be just about everyday activities. Writing a diary allows you to confront the way you organise your time. A journal can also be a form of planner.
Challenges in keeping a diary
Although keeping a diary has many advantages, there is no denying it: this activity requires motivation and a bit of effort. Here are the most common difficulties:
- Feeling ashamed. Writing honestly about your feelings can evoke a sense of shame in many people. You may be worried that someone will read your diary or simply feel embarrassed about your own reactions or needs.
- Decrease in motivation. Any activity that requires regularity is closely linked to an appropriate motivation level. And this may decrease with time. To see the benefits of keeping a diary, you need to give yourself some time. Unfortunately, with no quick results, it’s easy to get discouraged.
- Maintain regularity. Some days it will be easier to write a journal, while on other days, you may get distracted by multiple responsibilities or a bad mood. It’s challenging to keep regular notes, even though they don’t always have to be long or elaborate.
- Finding time for yourself. In journal writing, it is very important to do it in a quiet environment. Most people do it alone and treat it as an intimate activity. And yet, living with someone or the fast pace of life can make it difficult to carve out a moment just for yourself, even if you are highly motivated to keep a journal.
- Finding your own form. To make keeping a diary enjoyable and valuable, you need to find a form of note-taking that is suitable for you. It does not have to be a long and literary description. In some cases, lists and tables are perfect, while in others, drawings can be the thing. Finding your form increases your chances of successful diary keeping.
Throughout the centuries, many people have kept their personal journals. And even though we live in an age of digital progress, keeping a journal still makes sense. And you don’t have to get a paper notebook to do it. A diary can also be a file stored on your computer.