Adapted from The New York Times, first printed August 30, 2020
Looking for a way to relax in these tense times? A way to know yourself better? What better time than now to start writing a journal.
Why? Research shows that journaling can be good for you. It helps you deal with stress and even some depression. It lets you vent. It makes you more self aware.
By writing during these times, you are at least moving forward, beginning to sort things out. A journal also helps capture the wonderful things in life so you can enjoy them vividly must later one.
The best journals are the ones most brutally honest. Such honest helps get to the truth, and the best bath forward.
Getting Started. Begin slowly. Write just a sentence or two. Perhaps you can dedicate some of the time saved by not commuting.
And remember, that you need not write every day. That said, try to write at least something about every day. If there’s no time to write that day, enter a few words, so you can recall it and write about it later.
No need to write a chapter each day. A few sentences will do. You’ll know when you need to write more. And the longer you keep a journal, the more discipline you’ll have to catch up when you fall behind.
Write or type? Some journalers prefer to write longhand – in a book – because their thoughts feel more genuine. But writing on a computer has many advantages. No scratching out to improve the writing. Easy searching. A Word or Google document – be sure it’s backed up – works fine.
But a number of journalers swear by apps that allow them to include photos, videos , sketches and audio recordings. You can even dictate rather than type, and use any of your devices.
Examples of apps, include:
Day One – Won “App of the Year” from Apple and is among the most popular for it simplicity and versatility.
Diarium – Reminds you to write every day.
Journey – Bills itself, not only as a journal, but also that it will motivates and uplifts.
But beware: Including images and recordings can distract from the writing itself. And it can make keeping a journal seem more daunting. Consider beginning just with the words to stay focused.
Dream. Simply beating yourself up in every entry will overwhelm you. Better to say what you like — force yourself even in hard times to recognize what’s good.