01 Sep 2015

Keeping a journal

Greetings. A wise man once said that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living

One way of examining your life is to keep a journal.

I have been keeping a journal almost daily since 1978. Each night before I go to bed, I write one or two A4 pages about my day. I look back on what has happened and I record the incidents and thoughts that are important to me. It’s good for my memory and gives me a chance to put down my impressions. It’s also a way of handing my day over so that I’m not preoccupied going to sleep. It can be useful to look back on and it acts as a bench mark for my personal progress (hopefully!).

Why I keep a journal

There are a number of reasons why journal keeping is useful.

It can record your first reaction to someone or something new in your life, which would otherwise be lost.

It can be a way of spotting whether you might be low, or high, or paranoid. Sometimes, when looking back, you can spot an episode coming on, based on what you were preoccupied with, if you were too busy, or not busy enough, or even changes in your handwriting. This all adds to insight and self-knowledge.

It can also be a way of recording whether any changes in your medication affect you, and how.

Keeping a journal can serve as a way of improving your outlook. If you train yourself to look for and record the good in things – an attitude of gratitude – your writing becomes more positive.

A tip for journaling

Someone once gave me a tip of starting my journal entry with five good things that happened to me that day. It could be as simple as a smile from a stranger. Or even if I don’t record them, trying to think of five good things that happened that day before I go to sleep makes for a more peaceful sleep.

That’s all for now.

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