Do you remember running to your bedroom, pulling your diary out from under your pillow, just to lay across your bed writing your inner most thoughts? I distinctly remember the lock and key, the feel of the leather cover, and the cathartic feeling of writing about boys, friends, and all my adolescent experiences. I remember this daily activity vividly, though at some indistinct point, the writing stopped. At some point, my diary became another artifact of my preteen years. Diaries were only associated with adolescent girls not adulthood. Once we became adults, writing our feelings were no longer necessary. We were made to believe emotional suppression was okay, it is all a part of being mature.
Like many others, I too retired my diary in exchange for adulthood. However, several years ago, while undergoing some personal challenges, I had difficulty articulating my thoughts. I felt that I was misunderstood and deemed angry and demeaning despite my greatest efforts to voice my struggles. Upon sharing these encounters with a good friend, she recommended the tried and true pen and paper. She encouraged me to write to voice my thoughts and feelings instead of verbalization.
Reflecting on that difficult period, writing became my outlet. Writing helped to avoid feelings of anxiety and depression. It helped me to navigate through many tough and arduous situations. Likewise, journaling was additionally helpful in recording moments of celebration.
As if my endorsement of journaling has not been obvious up to this point, I strongly promote the idea of embracing an unfamiliar approach to self-expression. However, as with any new task, getting started may seem a bit daunting. Therefore, here are few tips:
JUST WRITE - without limits or expectations, simply write whatever comes to mind, this minimizes the pressures and allows for the openness to flow
WRITE OFTEN - the more it’s done, the more comfortable it will feel, a daily routine helps to create a habit and increases your level of comfort with expressing yourself
MAKE IT PERSONAL- your writing is for you to write YOUR thoughts and feelings
WRITE FOR 10-15 MINUTES - to avoid feeling overwhelmed, it may be easy to begin by writing about your day
BE CONSISTENT- although you can write at any time, establishing consistency also helps to build your comfort and the likelihood of doing it.
I hope I have inspired you to welcome a creative way to communicate your feelings. This new concept may be a key that unlocks the door to changing your life.