Right now, I’m fortunate enough to know that my own emotional health is better and more stable than it has been in a long time.
Of course it hasn’t always been that way, though. When I look back through twenty years of diaries (many of them with appropriately black covers) I have written evidence of having struggled through the toughest of tough times, which I know I’ve experienced in common with so many Moodnudges readers. Perhaps including you?
Despite the unmitigated sadnesses that many of their pages captured, however, my bookshelf of diaries is one of my dearest possessions. On trips back to the UK, I’ve returned with a few more volumes each time, and they’re now safely gathered together again here in California.
If you’re a fellow diarist, that’s great news. But if you’re not, starting to keep one would be one of my strongest emotional well-being recommendations, particularly if you sometimes battle with low moods.
I don’t write my own diary for anyone other than myself, but the ten minutes or so that it takes me each day is something I greatly look forward to.
Different people have different diary strategies, some using them to pour their hearts out. That’s not really how I use mine. For me, it’s more about capturing what happened the day before, even if nothing much did (which has been the case during darker times).
After I’ve written about the day, I put the diary away and in some ways feel I’ve put the day away too, however good or bad it was. And that seems to free me to start anew again. Just as today’s page is blank at that stage, the day ahead can feel full of potential, too. New day, new page.
It annoys me that it can be hard to buy a diary after the year has started, but if you don’t have one, perhaps you’ll find one in the reduced section of a stationery store? It’s also sometimes possible to get hold of “any year” diaries, where you fill in the 2017 bit yourself.
More than anything, if you’re at all curious about what it might entail, rather than worrying about not being able to commit to the process every day, forever, why not just give it a try for a few days, or a week? And also free yourself from the tyranny of feeling you have to complete the whole page/section every day. Do, though, promise yourself to write something, even if it’s just a word or two.
I’m interested. If you already keep a diary, what have you learned from your experience? Alternatively, if you shy away from the very idea, what’s the reason? I’d love to know.