is a journal just a glorified diary?  

By Kathy Romard


Who here has bought a handful of journals and only written in, like, three of the pages? Just me? Fine. Guilty. 

For the longest time, I’ve compared it to other “life hacks” like waking up at 5:30am or drinking one gallon of water a day. I mean… isn’t journaling just a glorified diary? No shade. However, I have seen chatter about journaling on social media. In particular, claims that journaling has helped people practice mindfulness. So last week, as I sat in my room, staring at my dusty journals, I thought “Hm. Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s time to give it an honest go.”

If I were to attempt consistent journalling, I needed more than the anecdotal evidence on my timeline. So, I did what any rational person in the 21st century would do - I googled it. “Journaling and mindfulness.” “What is journaling?”

I landed on a few articles from  the Medito Foundation, Healthline, and the BBC.

The Medito Foundation explains  that writing in a diary is a way to clarify our experiences and allow ourselves to be distanced from them so that we can minimize their negative impacts. You could think of it like a sounding board, a completely neutral third party in which you can say however much of whatever you want.. 

Upon reading this, I instantly marked how journaling could be a great tool for practicing aparigraha (non-attachment). 

To make it sweeter, the BBC shares that journaling does not have to be reserved for sad emotions. You can use your journal as an affirmational space, which can in-turn boost your self-esteem, or you can reflect on what you’re grateful for. 

It sounds like a good gig. But where to begin? Healthline shares some easy tips for beginners like ourselves to get started: 

Start small. Set aside only two minutes and stick to it. If and when you are ready to commit more time, you’re free to do so.

Pick tools that are easily accessible - your phone, a pen and paper, a blank Google Doc. 

Free write! Just write whatever comes to mind, even if it’s how unsatisfying your lunch was.

Explore a prompt. You could write about a fond memory, the view from where you’re seated, or a silly ‘would you rather’ question. (Find some fun ones here!)

It appears that not only is journaling accessible by means of materials, but also by method. You can journal however suits you at any given moment. That freedom of self-expression is a big win in my books.

So, salti fam, are you in? I am, and I am DEFINITELY trying some creative prompts. If you’re on the fence, how’s about a deal? I’ll commit to daily journaling for 30 days, and then we’ll meet back on the blog to see how it went. I’ll take your silence as a yes. Sweet.

Until next time, happy journaling!