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“But what am I to do? I must have some drug, and reading isn’t a strong enough drug now.” —C.S. Lewis, writing about journaling after his wife died in A Grief Observed

Dear reader,

I was looking through my blog this morning and discovered that I forgot to wrap up my Journaling series. If there was one piece of advice I could pass on to others, it would be this: Start journaling. Journaling allows us to communicate with ourselves. It allows us to air out our problems and be totally open without having to pretend or act a different way. You get to talk to yourself as yourself.

As I mentioned in my Journaling series, there are plenty of journals, even ones that I did not address. I only wanted to address the journaling that I do, not cover types of journals that I do not have experience with.

As promised, I also wanted to provide you with the ritual I associate with my personal journaling. My ritual for journaling involves two time periods. The morning is for my dream journal and gratitude journal. I enjoy recording my dreams. I have found that the more time I put into my dream journal the more memorable my dreams are. They are not like this all the time, but the detail and my recall have improved over time. My gratitude journal is used just for that—to record all the things I am grateful for.

I use the evening to reflect on my day. I call this my daily reflection. My daily reflection is more like a diary. I record the events of the day. I also have conversations with myself about things that are troubling me, things that I’m thinking about, and even the problems I’m trying to work through.

I also log my food into an app called My Fitness Pal and my exercises into another app called Body Space. The app I use for my gratitude, dream, and daily reflection journals is called Diaro (www.diaro.com).

Look around the web and for “benefits of journaling” and you’ll find an endless list of good things that come to those of us that journal. The benefits that I derive from journaling is the ability to get things out of my head. Sometimes when I’m writing in my journals I get impressions or ideas. These ideas help me solve a problem or provide an answer to a question. Sometimes these impressions point me in a direction to learn something or give me a nudge to act in some way.

One question I’ve wondered about. Should a journal be handwritten or typed? I’ve been torn between the two but settled on typed. I cannot read my own handwriting. This is the reason. I like to go back through my journaling and dreams and read them. It is amazing how much transpires in our lives that we forget about a few months later. It is also a great way to remember great things that happened during the day. I always discuss things that have happened as a sort of record of my life. I think it would be nice to pass down to my relatives once I’m gone.

A journal is your own biography. It tells a story about your feelings, your dreams, the people you’ve loved, your fears, and your happy times. It is your history.

Journaling has been one of the best decisions I have ever made and committed to. Honestly, there are some days I just don’t want to have anything to do with journaling and those days the entries are pretty short, but there are other days when I have a lot to talk about and fill a few pages.

In some respects, even this blog is a journal. The content I contribute to this community is from me. It is mine, but it is tempered. There are things I would never put on my blog. Those things are reserved for my journal.

I used C.S Lewis’ quote because he used his journal to get through the death of his wife. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. A journal can be that “ear” when you need one. It can be a very healing process. I have used my journal during some tough times and it helps—it really does.

Well, this is the end of my journaling series. I hope you had a chance to read through my other entries. I also hope that this series influences you to begin your own journaling practice. You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time…