Expert Author Susan Leigh
I love reading that sales of stationary are on the increase. It's wonderful to imagine people handwriting messages of congratulations, commiseration, thank you's and other personalised notes to each other, thinking up ways to communicate their thoughts and feelings in notes, cards and letters which may well be treasured and kept indefinitely. Yes, texts are a quick and efficient way of communicating but there's nothing quite like receiving a personalised letter.
There's also something incredibly personal about keeping a journal, even when it's intended to be read only by ourselves in private. If you're thinking of keeping a journal mark it as an important part of your journey, a special commitment you're making to yourself.
- With that in mind, ensure you buy an attractive notebook, a quality journal that you're going to enjoy using. The contents are special and as such deserve to be held in a smart notebook dedicated to the process. Make a regular date with your journal for writing down your thoughts and feelings about what's happening in your life and allow it to become a kind of therapy in its own right.
- Transcribing the day's events, obviously from our own perspective, can help us process what's going on, so allowing us to reflect firstly on the fact that we're voicing our own interpretation of each story. Then we can start to work through how each situation impacts on us. Significant or difficult exchanges often benefit from a little retrospective analysis and consideration during this dedicated time and it's nice to do so from the comfort and security of our own home.
- We can write down our goals, perhaps on a daily, monthly or even annual basis and then determine the stepping-stones needed with which to measure our progress. In that way we make our journal something to be accountable to. And it's certainly a great way to monitor pitfalls or set-backs that crop up and have to be faced and overcome. We can learn from those and watch how we found solutions or alternative routes in order to progress.
- Also noteworthy things that inspire us can be treasured within our journal. Memorable phrases that we discover, ah ha moments, sights or experiences that strike a chord can be stored away for future reference. It's good to have a place where we know these little gems are safely kept, where they can be revisited as desired.
- Record your successes each day. Some people forget what they've actually accomplished and then lose the ability to give themselves credit for those accomplishments. Introducing the discipline of writing down three things achieved each day, things that made them proud or gave them joy can turn a naturally pessimistic or negative outlook around. So it becomes far more uplifting and positive.
- Also unlearn the bad habit of thinking negatively by committing to regularly recording even simple successes like going to the shops, doing chores or even travelling somewhere new. Things that may seem easy or straightforward to one person can require a massive effort and be quite a milestone to another. Train yourself to regularly visit your journal and value your successes and positive results each day.
- Some people may use their journal to write a letter to someone who's impacted on their life. It may be a letter to someone's who's passed away and there's now a desire to write an acknowledgment of the different emotions that have been experienced as a consequence of them no longer being around; gratitude at having known them, hurt, loss and grief through missing them. There may be a difficult relationship that needs to be explored and somehow resolved. A journal can provide a therapeutic outlet towards healing.
- Keeping your notebooks and journals somewhere safe, in a private place is important. There may be an occasion when you may feel inclined to show it to a special someone, perhaps as a way of explaining some aspect of yourself, a deeply personal demonstration of the trust you have in that person and the relationship.
At some point in the future you may then choose to re-read your journals, reflect back on your life and really value your route to becoming the person you are today.
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