Updated: Jun 16, 2021
The act of journaling has been around since the early Fifteenth-century and up to today with modern technology, the need for capturing our thoughts has not subsided.
My Diary - A journaling app with almost 200,000 ratings on android has upwards of 5,000,000 downloads to date!
Meaning that around 16% of the world’s population is using an app to record their innermost thoughts.
Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and magically you have the ability to watch yourself as you move throughout your day.
Imagine following yourself around as you dressed and made your way to work.
Watched as you interacted with others, noticed little nuances and mannerisms that others know you for but you never had the chance to observe yourself.
Now, imagine for a moment that you also had the ability to hear all your thoughts and feelings as they occurred during your day. You could scan yourself in those moments for any hints of how those emotions may make you feel, before carrying on to the next task.
With all this information you would be able to sit down and reflect on the day you had, and more importantly how you the emotions you experienced.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?!
What’s more amazing is that you already have that ability - well sort of.
Allow me to explain.
Have you ever kept a journal?
Should We Journal?
As a teenager, did you keep a diary?
Perhaps you kept a plethora of locked personal diaries hidden under your bed that contained your innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions for your eyes only.
Perhaps you felt a little silly as you scribbled “Dear Diary...I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while” in one of your annual life updates.
If you yourself didn’t have a diary, you might have known someone who did.
They would take it everywhere and keep a little lock on it. You noticed them filling it in sporadically during the day and may have even let you read it.
When we become adults we no longer call them diaries but journals, Diaries when we are young seem to be a place for us to hide our secrets and when we become more mature the pages are filled more with thoughts and observations about ourselves rather than others.
Perhaps that's why it can be difficult to journal?
The point is that most of us keep journals of all sorts at some points during our formative years.
It’s during those times our emotions are new, always at their peak and we don’t yet know or (or want to know) how to censor or filter them. We feel it all.
It is during those times that we note down feelings or thoughts that buzz in our heads all day long.
So why do we stop doing this act of reflection when we become adults?
These feeling don’t go away, they just become overshadowed by bills, stress and obligations.
Our need for expression doesn’t leave us. It becomes something we toss in the backseat out of sight.
Our need for self-reflection becomes something we can’t fit into our busy lives.
Experts recommend that children regularly journal…
As an emotional outlet
As a way of developing a greater sense of self-awareness and encourage self-reflection
To plan out difficult conversations
To express unfiltered emotions in a safe place - and then to be able to reflect on those thoughts later and evaluate
To developing their emotional intelligence
The above examples are all crucial for a child’s development, but do these needs lapse when we become adults?
Here are 10 Journaling Prompts to get you started.
1. Describe your day from the moment you opened your eyes.
2. What did you have for breakfast this morning - can you recall how it tasted?
3. Have you noticed any recurring thoughts popping up throughout your day?
4. What would you like to accomplish today/this week/month/year?
5. What was the last thing you tried for the first time?
6. What was the last thing you taught someone?
7. Who was the last person you had a meaningful conversation with?
8. Who are the 5 people you spend most of your time with?
9. What is your favourite thing to do on a Sunday - or what would you love to do every Sunday?
10. What hobbies did you have as a child - do you still do those hobbies or have they changed?
So. Should Adults Journal?
There are almost as many journaling methods as there are reasons to journal and although one person’s motivation to journal may be different from another, the necessity to continuously self-reflect and be self-aware does not age or die.
A consistent journaling practice to document, ponder, reflect these necessities. Journaling encourages us to carve out time and space to watch and observe ourselves as we move through life.