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Your Journal, Your Journey, Your Story, Keeping a Journal

By Doreene Clement

Everyone has a story. Your experiences, your feelings, ideas, thoughts, and dreams all combine to form your life and your journey, which is your story. A great way to keep a relative reflection of all those things that have happened in your life is to keep a journal. A daily journal, a weekly journal, a month end summary journal, any or all these are ways you can keep track and record your experiences, your story.

Your story, your journal is all about whatever, whomever, however, whenever you want it to be about. YOUR journal can contain a word a day, a paragraph, or pages. You can write in YOUR journal every day, or you can write every week or every month. (Recently I did not journal for two months.) Some people have not journaled for years and then started again, when the time was right for them. Remember it is your journal, you choose when to write and when not to write.

YOUR journal contains whatever you want to write about - The beauty of the sunset you saw tonite, your concerns and hopes for your children, the joy and inspiration of the new art exhibit you just saw, your fear and excitement about what is happening in a relationship, how happy you are with your new assignment at work.

Writing about whatever is important to you right then and there is journaling. There can be a theme to your journal, or not. I have written about soup, the weather, my self, my friends, and my dreams for the future. A journal, which is the same as a diary, is a place where you choose to store what is important to you.

The start of your journal can be any day of any year. The day you feel you want to start recording your experiences and thoughts is the perfect day to start journaling. It can be January 1, August 19, or today. There is no set time of year to begin a journal or to start to journal again. Some people like the idea of starting their journaling on January 1. They write their goals and ideas at the beginning of the year. Others like the idea of starting the very day it occurs to them that they want to write about their lives in a journal. Whatever you choose, it is the right way for you, and that is all that matters.

What you want to journal in is up to you. You may get a notebook, plain paper, or a blank book. You decide. What you want to write with, a pen or a pencil, is also up to you. I journal with a favorite pen that makes my writing easier for me because it "glides" across the paper. You can also record your journal on tape, video, or the computer. Writing letters can be another form of journaling your experiences. Another way to journal is to write daily on a calendar.

Remembering to take vitamins is hard for me to do everyday. Unless I set them somewhere that I will see them, I can easily forget to take them. The same is true for my journaling. So, I keep my journal on my desk where I will see it every day. For you, that place may be where you have coffee in the morning, your night stand, or by your exercise equipment. Keep it someplace where you will notice it every day.

You may want to have a special, secret place for your journal, so no one else can read it. You can keep it in a locked box, or tuck it away. You can also ask the people around you not to read your journal, as it is private and only concerns you. As you journal about specific events or people you can also use code words or symbols for those experiences. It is important that you feel safe as you write and express in your journal. Think about how you can create that safe space for yourself in your own environment.

There are many benefits from keeping a journal. They include reducing stress, help in setting daily and future goals, and help with the organization of your thoughts and planning your day. Journaling also helps you focus as you are putting in writing, making solid on the page, what you are thinking and feeling.

Write it down, get it out. A journal also creates a very helpful personal reminder. Keeping a journal of your story, your experiences and feelings about your life can improve your well-being, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Taking time every day or week for you, to sit and to write in your journal, makes time for you. You can give that to yourself. The written record of your story becomes a reassured keepsake, a written scrapbook of your life and times.

A place to start journaling

On a piece of paper, write your answers to the question,

"Which three words best describe how you are feeling right now?"

For example-happy, excited, positive

For example-nervous, tense, worried

When you are done writing, you have just journaled.

Writing, expressing, can heal us. It can focus, support, and enhance our lives and well-being. Whether we laugh or we cry, whether through sorrow or joy, we can understand more about ourselves, and each other, through keeping a journal.

With the passage of time, we gain a different perspective. Time is a healer. What was once hard, or unbearable, can now make more sense, giving us a clearer picture. Recording and tracking our lives by keeping a journal, can actually bring relief, clarity, joy, and laughter.

About The Author
Doreene Clement, a cancer victor and author of The 5 Year Journal, is currently writing a new book, Blessed, about her life and her cancer experience. For more information 480.423.8095

Copyright 2005 OMDC, LLC All Rights Reserved

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