The Healing Power of Journal
By Wendi Williams, Editor
Summer has arrived
and with it comes the opportunity for grand adventures in the
great outdoors. I am reminded of my youth and how the neighborhood
children played together in relative harmony from sun up to sun
down. We rode our bikes up and down the street, played games,
or went swimming or wading in the local creeks. Adults also enjoyed
more leisure activities like fishing, hunting, or sitting outside
on the front porch snapping beans for dinner or chatting with
the neighbors. It was a time when most people did the things
they loved to do and the memories of the day's events were recorded
in a diary or journal. Today, journals are still kept to record
precious memories, but also as healing forms of expression.
Why Keep a Journal?
There are many forms of journals.
Journals are kept to record dreams, professional growth areas,
critical thinking, or religious thoughts. Journals are also used
to increase self-esteem or to reduce anger, stress, or frustration
(Hiemstra, 2001). Pouring out thoughts on a page not only helps
us to face our problems, but it can also provide greater clarity
or insight into solving those problems.
Journal writing is intergenerational
as well. Students of all ages are using journals in classrooms
across the nation to encourage creative thinking, to capture
a synopsis of ideas or personal opinions, to record values or
future goals, or to review their life from a global perspective.
In a study conducted by researchers E. Michael Brady and Harry
Sky at the University of Southern Maine's Osher Lifelong Learning
Institute, older adults used journals to help them make sense
of life's experiences. Whatever the reason, journal writing is
a form of therapy that generally comes without harsh criticism.
In other words, the author can elect to share those thoughts
with others or allow them to remain private. In reality, however,
anything written runs the risk of being read. So, be mindful
of what you write even if you write and store your thoughts on
How to Begin
To begin the journal writing
process, all you need is the desire, some quiet time, a pen,
and a journal of some kind. Bookstores are full of decorative
journals, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. A spiral
notebook from the corner dollar store will do just fine.
Next decide what type of journal you
want to keep. Will the journal be used to record daily activities,
dreams, or personal goals and aspirations? Or will it be more
free form? In either case why worry about being grammatically
correct; just write whatever comes to mind. If you are angry,
write down why you are angry. If you are stressed out, try to
identify the stressors. Even if you are recovering from a traumatic
event in your life, writing down your thoughts and feelings is
a great way to confront that experience. This process can help
you recover more quickly or perhaps think of constructive measures
to eliminate a problem in your life.
And as for you nature lovers like myself,
why not take your journal along the next time you take a walk
in the park.
Journal writing can bring healing
to the soul.
Hiemstra, Roger. (2001). Uses and benefits
of journal writing. In L. M. English and M. A. Gillen, (eds.),
Promoting Journal Writing in Adult Education (New Directions
for Adult and Continuing Education, No. 90. San Francisco, CA:
Quinlan, Rebecca. Journal writing
research reveals benefits for older adults. Osher Lifelong
Learning Institute. University of Southern Maine.
Slomski, Genevieve. (2007). Journal
therapy. Answers.com. Alternative Medicine Encyclopedia.
Retrieved June 1, 2007.
you do not have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat and wish
to view the
PDF publication on this site, click here
Return to Metro News...