It has often been said that writing is therapeutic and keeping a journal gives you the opportunity to take some time to reflect, whilst helping to keep your brain as sharp as a pencil.
There are many reasons why people choose to begin journaling. For older adults, keeping a journal is a great way to keep your mind healthy – combatting memory loss by giving your mental muscle a workout. For others it’s a brilliant way to leave a record of your life for your children and grandchildren by telling stories from your life in your own words.
Writing a journal for yourself
Keeping a private journal can be immensely calming. It doesn’t just have to be diary of the day that has just passed, many people treat the act of writing a journal as a private deep dive in to their own personal thoughts, hopes and dreams. Even if you have never thought about writing, the act of putting pen to paper quickly becomes an addictive hobby and something that you can truly keep just for yourself.
For some writing down their goals is the first step in helping them to achieve them. By committing your hopes to paper you will have begun to articulate what it is that you want to achieve – something that many of us find hard to express to others. It can then be a way to organise your thoughts or to plan for the future as you go.
Writing a journal for your loved ones
Sadly, many of us have once thought “Oh I wish I’d asked my grandmother that” or “I should have asked my father years ago” - maybe you never asked where they grew up or how they met their first love. If like us you revel in hearing stories from your loved ones life, keeping a journal to give to your own family can be a way to record the details of your life that perhaps you’d never think to tell or they would never think to ask.
A journal can pass on your wisdom and life lessons learnt to your loved ones. Don’t try to be a writer, write in your own unique voice and style, write as you would speak. Don’t worry about chronology or shaping the story for the beginning, note things down in manageable chunks and see each entry as its own separate piece.
Getting started on your journal
- Choose your medium. You may want to be traditional and opt for a notepad and paper, or you could try writing on your computer, tablet or even on a blog.
- Don’t worry about spelling and grammar – this isn’t an academic exercise. Once you let go of hang ups about your writing style you’ll find it easier to let go and simply write!
- Find a time to write. Whether you journal daily, weekly or monthly, clear some space in your diary and make sure to make it a regular feature in your life. If you miss a day, resolve to pick up where you left off tomorrow.
- Recognise that whilst little details may not seem important, keep them in, especially if you are writing for your loved ones.