A few years ago I was at my parents place sorting through old boxes and I found some of my school text books. As I ploughed through them reminiscing about my school days I came across one book that had no subject and it was covered in doodles and flowers and when I opened it, I discovered it was was a journal that I had started writing.
It was 1988….I was fourteen….the summer holidays had just started…and there was a boy I had a big crush on!
A local disco was a coming up in a couple of weeks and there was so much going on!
I couldn’t believe how much detail I had written in this journal, my thoughts, my feelings and so much excitement leading up to this big event, but the most beautiful thing about this journal… it was the closest thing to time travel, going back to meet a past version of myself.
Reading it not only gave me goose bumps I couldn’t stop laughing it really was funny, an absolute page turner…. but then it just stopped. I was so gutted, I wanted to know what happened at the disco, did I wear that dress, did I crimp or curl my hair, did the boy I had the crush on turn up!
After reading this amazing snippet of my life and then seeing the blank pages that followed it made me realise the huge value of recording your personal history and how it may be a great source of inspiration one day to your family, children, grandchildren, but most of all yourself .
From that day on I decided I will always keep a journal.
“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” ~ Oscar Wilde
I really have found some true treasures reflecting over my old journals and they are a constant source of inspiration for me now. I remember being told it would be a good idea to keep a journal when all my health problems started but I really didn’t want to write about how miserable and crap I felt some days so I started my little Gratitude Project. On a daily basis I wrote down all the things that I was grateful for, all the good things that were going on, beautiful affirmations and I drew crazy little doodles! I found it so therapeutic and when I wrote, it never came from my head, it was always from my heart♥
So it was no surprise to me to learn of the increasing scientific evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing.
Studies suggest that emotional or expressive writing can reduce high blood pressure, enhance immune function, decrease the severity of asthma and arthritis symptoms, promote wound healing, increase Aids patients white blood cell counts, improve liver and cognitive function and even help people quit smoking.
James Pennebaker, chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and pioneer in the study of writing as a healing tool says”he’s not interested in whether journal writing makes people “feel nice”, but only in empirical evidence of its ability to improve physical well-being” and he’s found that in abundance.
The other great benefits of journaling are-
♦ It reduces stress and the scatter in your life
♦ reveals your greater potential
♦ focuses and clarifies your desires and needs
♦ measures and tracks what’s important to you
♦ moves you towards wholeness and growth and to who you really are
♦ and creates more results in your life
How to start..
Its always best to keep it simple at the start, I’ve always kept it short and sweet! Just write about the “good stuff” that’s going on in your life right now, goals your working towards, intentions, something that made you laugh, books you want to read, websites you want to explore. In other words, whatever interests you the most. Even the simplest things you write down like how beautiful the sky was or the amazing breakfast you had, how funny your kids were today, you will look back one day and appreciate every single word.
My Mum is very fortunate to have some of my Grandmothers old journals. She also kept it very minimal but she wrote with such humour about how my Grandad drove her mad, her baking, even the day I came down with chickenpox. To read about myself growing up through my Grandmothers eyes is absolutely golden.
” These empty pages are your future, soon to become your past. They will read the most personal tale you shall ever find in a book”. ~ Anonymous
A true story….
Back in the summer I was travelling back from London to Brighton, the train was packed and as I was dreading my long journey home standing in the cramped corridor. The conductor walked passed me and said “you can go in first class if you like we’ve de-classed the train as its so busy” Bingo I thought! I found myself a nice seat opposite a very dapper old gentleman and we eventually struck a conversation, he was very witty, and we talked and laughed the whole journey home . He eventually told me he had recently moved to Brighton since his wife had passed away to be near his children.
He then told me a story about his first child a baby boy that he and his wife had adopted after the war, and at the age of four he developed cerebral palsy. He described him as such a courageous funny little boy, but unfortunately he passed away very young.
The Gentleman then told me that while he was packing and preparing for his move he discovered old journals that his wife had kept throughout the whole time they had their son. She had written about her deep love, joy and sadness for her little boy also how brave and inspirational he was to her every day.
He said that having these journals that came deep from his wife’s heart and soul in his eighty two years are the most treasured things he will ever possess and got him through his heartache.
As we made our farewells and I stepped off the train I have to say I was welling up a bit, but it completely clarified to me the reason why I love journaling….
Its soul medicine♥
So take action now and start writing the story of your life, no rules no filter, just write
You are unique
There is only one of you
And there will never be another one of you
So write your story
In years to come they will be the best books you will ever read.
Have a beautiful week and I hope through all the crazy festivities you are somewhere, somehow, finding some peace.