When you look to accomplished authors for advice on writing, many recommend keeping a daily journal. It’s a practice that seems simple enough, but even the sanctity of a blank journal page can be intimidating sometimes. What do I write about? Do I literally just describe what I see? Do I analyze my childhood? Write about my feelings? Doodle?
Yes. That’s the beauty of it. It’s that simple. Of course, if you’re at all like me, even the simplest of things can become overly complicated.
I came across an article recently that put journaling into another perspective and really helped convey the many benefits of casual, judgment-free writing on a daily basis. Benjamin P. Hardy’s article, “Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life” is just as persuasive as the title suggests and includes many lists of examples to support his topic.
Something I really appreciate about this article is that Hardy broadens the topic of journaling to incorporate its psychological benefits outside of writing. Journaling isn’t just a good practice for writers, it’s good for every human with feelings (presumably all humans, despite what some would have you believe). One point he makes describes the benefits of “gratitude journaling,” something I was vaguely familiar with but had never really thought about from Hardy’s perspective. He writes that “Gratitude journaling is a scientifically proven way to overcome several psychological challenges” and goes on to list thirty different ways it can improve your lifestyle. Again, it’s such a simple idea, reflecting on and writing down what you appreciate in life, but I’m the kind of person that is so often distracted by the negative things in life that I forget to take a moment to think about the positive. And I’m fairly certain I’m not alone.
While we’re on the subject, I think I’ll take a moment to say a few things I’m grateful for. I’ve had a pretty good education that has left me thirsty to learn from others. I have a wonderfully supportive boyfriend who constantly impresses me with his patience and his ability to listen and calm me down. And despite everything, I still have the ability to dream and want more out of life. I haven’t given up yet, and that’s enough of an accomplishment for right now.
I tried to find a real motivational poster to close this post, but I like this one too much not to share it.