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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 159 > My secret journal

My secret journal

Journaling has exploded in popularity, and little wonder-it’s a great way to gain insight into your problems, connect with yourself, and it can be a lot of fun, too. Rachel Garnett discovers how to make the most of it.

self

Since I started journalling 18 months ago, it’s become one of the most helpful and insightful things I do for myself. Yet, for a long time, when friends talked about their ‘journals’, I dismissed the practice as the same as diary-keeping - to be restricted to teenagers wanting to detail their days away from prying parental eyes, or for reminders, such as “give cat worm pill’. Away in far-flung places, I never wrote a word - why recount experiences when I was living them? How wrong I was. Diaries may fundamentally be logbooks, but journals are your words about who you are. My mind was changed by awork event. There, I met a woman who had impressed me with her self-belief and confidence. She amazed me by saying that when her insecurities arise, she journals, and that by leaving them on the page, she frees herself from them. I was sceptical, but heeding her encouragement and wanting her tenacity, I bought a cheap book full of blank pages, with a pretty gold and pink cover; there are no printed dates in a journal, so none of the guilt of chronicle-free days. I wrote how I worried that my presentation and perceptions at a meeting would not be well received.

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