A former schoolmate’s private message contains a request to a topic for my next blog post.
I wasn’t just touched, I was flattered.
I wasn’t just touched and flattered, I forgot that I am also overwhelmed by all the tasks a blogger has to do. Even if the request was in August 2018, this post comes with a sincere apology and high hopes that everything is fine today.
My former schoolmate was feeling a bit down because of her two close friends who were sending her messages. Both have the tendency to take their own lives.
She asked me for advice and without batting an eye, I recommended journaling.
While I am no psychiatrist nor psychologist, depression is not foreign to me.
I truly understand what her friends are going through not to mention that Philippines, our country, hasn’t so much effort in taking care of mental hygiene.
I suggested that she get her two friends a journal and have them try it. It doesn’t have to be something grand. She can design and personalize it. If it will not give her friends the same benefits as below, then they must seek professional help:
Clears the mind
Writing down negative emotions and disturbing thoughts clear the mind. Doing a brain dump calms the nerves and eases the heart. It removes the heavy feeling on the chest.
The mere act of writing everyday experiences, struggles and little successes increase self- awareness because you see what makes you angry, happy and uncomfortable. This way you can start doing more of what makes you feel good and avoid anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, irritable and agitated.
I have a habit of writing my rage down and burning them down. It feels so good.
Vault of brilliant ideas
Journaling is not only about writing all the bad experiences. This will also lead you to have the life of your dreams. Business tycoons like Richard Branson is a perfect example. He kept his notebooks as he was starting his business ventures. His books are my all time favorite read. He wrote his struggles, heartbreaks, life-defying adventures, little successes, life as a boy, a husband and a father.
Who’d have known that one day he will be able to compile all these experiences in a series of motivational and inspirational books. His life story that came from his journals is like a treasure box for me because they are giving me ideas that I need today.
Source of gratefulness
During my darkest days, I also made sure that I also wrote down what I was still thankful for.
I noticed that they still outnumbered what I was depressed about. I did it daily until it became a habit. I made sure to do more of those things that make my heart swell with happiness and feel calm. Reading my angry, sad and confused entries feels heavy so I did my best to avoid that.
I realized through journaling that if only I practice mindfulness and living intentionally, my mindset will change.
Journaling made me stay positive even during those times that I want to give up. And that time, I also didn’t know what I meant by saying I already gave up.
I wrote them down consistently and eventually, I became more appreciative of the things and activities that can’t be bought by money.
Journaling made me express myself better
Before I started taking journaling seriously, I feel like I was just like a child who’d resort to fuzzing and crying if I didn’t get what I want.
The thing was, it would have been easier had I used my words to really say what I want. However, the main problem was naming emotions. Until now, this is one of the hardest things to do because first, we haven’t named all the emotions there really are and second, not all of us have strong emotional boundary.
It is hard to name emotion because unlike color which is something that we can describe easily, emotion is something that couldn’t just be explained in one word without having to explain and without having the fear of being misunderstood.
When it comes to emotions, everything is dependent. Dependent to the context. Dependent to facial expression. Dependent to the timing. Dependent to the relationship.
Journaling didn’t just improve my memory, it also make me feel like I have a different kind of appreciation towards things. Since I am always on the lookout for new words, it has made my vocabulary better. Journaling has made me a better communicator.
Journaling sparked my creativity and made me embrace the artist of life in me.
I will credit a huge part of launching my website to my love for journaling. Journaling lead me to mindfulness which lead me to minimalism which lead me to finding myself. I found my passion and soon, my full time career.
Since blogging is not just about writing, I have been continuously on the look out for new skills to learn that will make my website better. I am also looking for more ways to make it my sole source of my income. Journaling made me want to improve my writing which will soon not just a hobby.
Journaling as goal tracker
As my journaling skills improved, I developed a different kind of focus. I was able to write down how I really want my life to look like.
Little by little, I tracked the progress.
Suddenly, I found myself. I started to look for meaning. For a different kind of fulfillment.
I didn’t just become clearer on what I want, I also now have a tangible proof and basis of my actions. I can now see whether I am gearing towards my goal or not. I don’t just journal to vent out. I use it to do a life audit every single day especially those days when I feel like I am losing sight of my vision and purpose in life.
Including journaling to my daily habit and writing not just about my frustrations, goals, hopes and dreams is one of the best things I have done to bounce back from rock bottom.
Writing honestly, wholeheartedly and without the fear of being judged lead me to fully experience rebirth.
Journaling is cheaper than therapy.
Journaling is the cheapest anti-depressant.