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The importance of journaling (and how it can help you remember how to breathe!)

 As I sat down to write this post, as an odd sort of coincidence, Whitney Houston’s “Exhale” popped up in my Spotify feed.

Hearts are often broken
When there are words unspoken
In your soul there’s answers to your prayers
If you’re searching for a place you know
A familiar face, somewhere to go
You should look inside yourself
You’re halfway there

Sometimes you’ll laugh
Sometimes you’ll cry
Life never tells us, the when’s or why’s
When you’ve got friends, to wish you well
You’ll find your point when
You will exhale

In summer camp days of long ago, I knew what it meant to journal. It was my daily opportunity to turn off the drama of the day and be alone with my thoughts — it was a time when things felt a lot more dire than they actually were (some may say the same for my current universe), and putting pen to paper made everything feel more manageable.

Long before I had a journalism degree — or even the desire for one — I had been in the habit of cataloguing my thoughts and feelings. Something about the act of taking stock of my day – of my feelings that otherwise didn’t have a voice — it didn’t only teach me to be more observant about what I saw, experienced, and felt, but helped me process all these experiences and emotions into ideas. It’s how I processed, and learned,  and sometimes got passed things I would have otherwise dwelled on.

It was this spring, while my life was in a state of confusion and chaos that I revisited the journaling concept. In the past, it was always way too easy for me to pay attention to the negative side of things. Everything I’ve been through though has had an amazing silver lining — I’ve finally learned how great it is to shift that attention to the positive side, and as a result, to extract lessons from everything that happens, “good” and “bad”.

I pray that, by doing this, instead of taking things for granted, I will see everything that happens as an opportunity for growth, and not an excuse to hold myself back. . A lot of us, we have this not-so-silent “editor” in our heads – one who will scream at us, making us believe our thoughts don’t matter, our feelings aren’t valid. The journal can help you to kill that editor — its existence is only a manifestation of your insecurities anyway.

A lot of the reason I have returned to the concept of journaling is similar to why I’ve developed such a strong attachment to yoga. Things like yoga, meditation, keeping a journal — even going for reflection walks — they allow us to relax, reflect, and recharge. When was the last time you took some time out of your day to just…experience the day that had occurred? Detox isn’t just about not drinking or smoking or even ridding your body of a long-held sugar addiction, it’s about taking the time to BREATHE – to calm down, collect your thoughts, and come to terms with anything and everything the day has entailed. Trust me, everything on the computer can wait those few minutes.

And so I have extra enticement to visit my journal at the close of each day, I have chosen the most adorable one I could find: The Plush Kitty Diary for Claire’s is bright fuzzy pink  and lockable, just as my camp diaries of old — because, lets face it, my deep, dark secrets are a lot juicier now! A polka dot kitty wearing over-sized sunglasses and a large bow is pictured on the front, and it costs $12.50 and can be found here on claires.com.

The tool doesn’t matter though – make it adorable, or make it an old spiral. But give it a try — and let me know how it goes!



4 Comments

  1. Betty Baez
    08.27.2012

    last time i wrote in a journal was 5 years ago. now i remember how therapeutic it really was. I guess it wouldnt be a bad idea to start doing it again, expect maybe ill skip the journal and start it on my laptop

  2. You’ve hit on two things I have been meaning to add to my life, yoga and journaling. I used to take time to record the day and my thoughts up until I started working full-time, after I got married. It fell off strongly to hardly ever and totally stopped before my baby was born.

  3. Michelle S
    09.3.2012

    I think this is a good thing for people to do to get out all the emotions they want to hide from others, or for those who don’t have a good friend to confide stuff to.

  4. Jill L
    09.4.2012

    Journaling is such a wonderful way to slow down. Too much chaos on the outside, but we can take a moment to just Exhale.

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