March 31, 2020 4 min read

Hello Everyone -- This is a guest blog from our friend Jestine Bernice Tomas. She is the creative mind behind Rediscover Analog, a place where she talks about using analog tools (journaling, fountain pens, stationery, and film photography) in the digital age. She is a gal after our own heart. We love her style and hope you enjoy this post that she created to help you in these uncertain times. Daily journaling is something we can all benefit from right now. Enjoy and let us know what you think!

THE BENEFITS OF DAILY JOURNAL WRITING

When I was younger, I never thought of keeping a journal nor did I have any interest in doing so. I have always felt that my thoughts and musings should just stay in my head so I never put them on paper. As a child, I also feared that my mother would come across my diary or journal and read it (and I would get in trouble for sure). Even with the influence of my friends, I still was not convinced that journaling would do me any good.

I started journaling (in general) when I was introduced to the Bullet Journal Method. The Bullet Journal is often viewed as a planner and a productivity tool but really, it is also where you can offload your thoughts. I’ve been Bullet Journaling for years and I haven’t put that (offloading) into practice as much as I should have been. I started writing bits and pieces – a few notes about how I felt in a day or what I did. It wasn’t too substantial or reflective so the

Surprisingly, I was not inspired to start long-form journaling because of the planning and Bullet Journaling community. I really decided to start because of my obsession with fountain pens and fountain pen ink. I just had to find a good excuse to put them to good use. Practicing my cursive was also a bonus.

I honestly did not think that I would truly benefit from writing long-form/longhand/stream of consciousness style until I took it seriously. The day I started to take it seriously was the day I started to truly reap the benefits.

I use journaling to manage my anxiety

Based on my interactions with people in the planning and journaling (Bullet Journal included), a lot of them battle with a mental health issue. Anxiety is probably the most common and then there are some with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). In fact, the creator of the Bullet Journal Method, Ryder Carroll, has ADHD.

I am not clinically diagnosed but I do suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. There are times when it’s manageable but most times, it isn’t. When I started to write every day, I noticed that I was a bit calmer and my sleeping patterns started to improve as well. Some of the (physical) symptoms were also kept at bay somehow.

Anything I was worried or feeling anxious about, I wrote it down. I treated my journal as a brain dump disguised as a personal journal. There’s nothing really “private” in my journal but it was just a handwritten account of my racing thoughts. Dumping all of my thoughts in a notebook helped me because it cleared my head of anything that could (possibly) trigger my anxiety.

It helped me solve personal problems

Whether it’s a problem or an opinion, I usually keep things to myself. I don’t run to a friend whenever I’m troubled unless necessary. I don’t express my opinions unless asked or unless the situation demands it. Whenever I find myself at a crossroad, I make sure that I “talk to myself” first. I also want to visualize my thoughts and a journal is the perfect medium for it since I enjoy writing anyway.

Writing down my feelings about a certain topic is like writing an essay. Through journaling, I’m able to list down points and explain each of them to myself. I’m able to get a clear picture of what I am thinking of and eventually come to a conclusion and solve the problem at hand.

My handwriting significantly improved

When I write stream of consciousness style, I write in cursive. I write in cursive because I write faster with it and also I find my cursive soothing to look at. I compared my handwriting from March 2019 and August 2019 and could easily see the improvements. The strokes and line height are more consistent compared to a few months ago. This was clearly the result of being able to practice (albeit unintentionally) every day.

Journaling helps me in my creative process

I am thankful that I discovered Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages exercise. She believes that writing 3 pages longhand every day will help unleash our creativity. Aileen from Lavendaire, a fellow creative, has been doing this for quite some time and swears by it.

I am a content creator. I write articles for Rediscover Analog and also prepare content for social media. Creativity (at least for me) comes and goes. I often find myself in a creative slump so I decided to give it a shot.

I was skeptical at first – because it could be some kind of placebo effect. Then I noticed I was generating more ideas and had more things to write about and these all happened ever since I started journaling.

Bullet journaling had already helped the first time around. It is what prompted me to start the website in the first place. However, it was my habit of long-form journaling that kept it going.

I don’t journal every single day these days. I’ve missed a few days here and there but I ensure that I can get back into the habit right away. I know that if I can do it as frequently as I can, I would still be able to reap the same benefits as I did when I used to write daily. It’s tough, of course. Journaling every day is really a commitment so if you are trying to find ways to improve yourself, you might want to give it a shot.

- Jestine Bernice Tomas


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