Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing a series of posts called “Try This,” a collection of ideas for you to try when you’re seeking greater joy and peace in your life. These are things that have often worked for me, and which might be of benefit to you.
I’ll begin with a practice that I began at the age of 14, and have used fairly consistently ever since: keeping a journal. I have used my journals for many things: to rant about problems, to play with solutions, to capture memories, to record my journey. There is no wrong way to keep a journal but, if you are new to the practice, here are a few ideas:
Begin where you are. Describe where you are sitting, how you are you feeling, what’s on your mind.
If you’re upset, angry or wrestling with a problem, try this: give yourself some time and space to really get it out. Express your feelings, without censoring. After you’ve done that for a few minutes, switch gears. Find something good about the person or situation, or some lesson that you’re learning. If that doesn’t work, switch gears entirely–try writing about something else that brings you joy, such as your adorable 2-year old niece, the party you’re looking forward to, or just the way the snow looks on the mountains.
Use your journal to express gratitude. Simply writing down a list of things that make you happy can make you feel better.
If you’re concerned about privacy, there are apps that require passwords (I like iJournal), or you can enable password protection on many word processing programs. Or find a great hiding place!
As with any practice, experiment with different ways of doing it, and find a way that works for you. That could be writing every morning as you sip your coffee, or once a week as a Sunday night ritual. You may prefer a spiral notebook, a computer or a beautiful leather book (I like fairly large pages that open flat, but over the years, there’s nothing I haven’t tried).
Have you ever kept a journal? What works for you? If you have ideas, suggestions or questions of your own, I’d love to hear them!