Want to live forever? Easy, keep a journal

"Please come in, make yourself at home"

“Please come in, make yourself at home”

Before leaving the UK and heading to Taiwan I had to have a massive clear out of the tit and tat I had accrued in a  lifetime of casual hoarding. There were half-broken ornaments from various travels to and fro, loyalty cards to cafés that were eaten by the recession, sticky notes of to do lists I had consigned to the wasteland at the back of the drawer; it was jumble and detritus.

I had justified keeping these things as mementos, tokens and idols of other times, as I had convinced myself that these things had intrinsic value that somehow stored and protected memories that would otherwise vanish. Staring at each item with vague despondency, I scratched my head and mumbled ‘where did this come from?’ and ‘who would keep this?’

But, I also found my old journals. I discovered secrets I had buried. Did you know that grandma Joy did confiscate my favourite jumper on Christmas ’95 and that was the last time I saw it? I had forgotten that the sink in the upstairs toilet was obliterated by a drunken older sister, not by a decorating accident, as claimed by her.

Though the objects littering my room were trying hard, the journal had them beat. If it’s memory retention you want, look no further than the trusty journal.

Many great people have kept diaries; Winston Churchill, Anne Frank, Theodore Roosevelt, Silvia Plath, … the list goes on. Of course, where would we be without Bridget Jones and the Princess Diaries? Perhaps the last point is not so clear, or perhaps it’s the clincher.

However you choose to spin it, the power of journals cannot be ignored. And whether you’re a writer looking to track ideas or a nanny trying to monitor behaviour patterns, journalling could change your life.

So, here’s the Itchy Quill run down of why you should start a journal in 2015.

1. It can keep you in touch with yourself

Sometimes in a world of chaos and distraction it can be easy to forget who we really are. Sometimes we act in certain ways that seem illogical and out of character. Keeping a journal gives you the opportunity to dissect those moments. It can also give you a peek at what thoughts are recurring for you, and which situations or people are good and bad for you to be around.

2. It helps to relieve stress

There are a multitude of studies that have shown a connection between keeping a journal and reduced stress levels, and it seems obvious when you think about it. Keeping a journal gives you a constant, routine opportunity to vent and process. Without the worry of offending someone with your frustration, you can be completely honest and (if you journal before bed) it can help you hit reset, ready for the next day.

3. You’ll be joining a neat club

As said before, some very famous people from different fields and occupations have kept journals. Idols such as Kurt Cobain, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Thomas Eddison and Andy Warhol; these people all kept diaries, and it worked out pretty well for them, right?

4. It makes you immortal

The world population is touching around 7 billion at the moment, and studies suggest it is going to keep climbing until at least 2050. Think of all the people that will come and go from our planet in that time, and then think about how many will be forgotten. Think about how many have already been forgotten. Keeping a journal grants you immortality, giving you the chance to leave your mark on the world forever.

5. It’s a time capsule, too

Leaving a journal behind gives the next generations of your family a chance to connect with you, long after you are gone. It affords them the privilege of seeing what life was like for their ancestors, and gives them an idea of the kinds of ideologies and personalities they came from.

6. It could save your life

“Studies suggest that emotional or expressive writing can reduce high blood pressure, enhance immune function, decrease the severity of asthma and arthritis symptoms, promote wound healing, increase AIDS patients’ white blood cell counts and even help young people quit smoking.” Cynthia Brouse, Best Health Mag.

That’s right. There are studies showing that keeping a diary can not only improve your mental health, but your physical health, too.

So what’s stopping you? Get yourself a notebook, use an app like Evernote, or even have a go at blogging. Whatever method you choose, go forth and diary. You won’t regret it, and it might change your life!

"Give me a D, give me an I..."  "Sorry Claire I can only do X!"

“Give me a D, give me an I…”
“Sorry Claire I can only do X!”

Special thanks to Bill Longshaw and phanlop88 @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net for use of their photos in this blog.

© Itchy Quill and ItchyQuill.WordPress.com, 2015

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24 thoughts on “Want to live forever? Easy, keep a journal

  1. 2. It helps to relieve stress

    I 100% agree with this. I have found it so cathartic as of late.

    Great post. I think my new blog is an extension of the journal writing I loved as a child.

    I actually still have many of them and cringe when I read them, ha-ha.

    Like

  2. Oh my gosh, you reminded me that a couple of years ago I found an old journal and couldn’t believe all of the things I’d forgotten about! It’s like finding a lost treasure!

    Like

  3. Yes it’s true! I have never been a constant person but I started one at the end of December and I’m still writing! It’s very interesting both to write and to re-read after a while.

    http://jumbleskine.wordpress.com

    Like

  4. Oh I never thought of these benefits of journaling. You’re right, maybe it is something I should start doing. Having something in common with Edison, Anne Frank, and Benjamin Franklin sounds rather intriguing. This is something I’ll be sending to my friends for sure. I can’t wait to check out the rest of your blog if this is a good post. I’m in blogging 101 too, so if you’d like, check out my blog as well! 🙂

    Like

  5. This is one of the best and most convincing posts I have ever read for keeping a journal. I have moved a lot. Every time, I have to get rid of things I thought were of value. Once, I decided to part with an old scrap book from my teens, and years of calendars I had kept. My calendars were like a time capsule of our family life. I regret getting rid of both.

    I stopped writing a journal a long time ago, because I feared that it would be read (happened in the past). I sometimes do keep a little bit of personal journal interspersed in my poetry journal. This post has inspired me to consider keeping a personal journal for its own sake.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s really good to hear. It took me a while to get myself back into the routine. Sorry to hear about other’s violating your trust by reading them. It’s a shame about the calendars too, but perhaps that can be motivation for filling up new ones?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Leave your mark on the world forever” – I like that! Oh, and Bridget Jones is great! Also, Julie & Julia – a blog that leads to a movie – you never know.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been journaling/keeping a “diary” of sorts since I was a young child. They are some of my most treasured memories! I know also have a large collection of blank journals & notebooks, because I’ve always been attracted to them. I have a hard time not purchasing new ones!

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  8. I really enjoyed reading your reasons of keeping a journal. It is a fantastic idea. I especially like the one about the time capsule. It would be fun for my future generations to read about my life and what life was like. We have a journal from my great grandmother and it is great to read. She was not alive when I was born so it is great to be able to “know” her. Thanks for the insight and motivation to begin a journal.

    Like

  9. Definitely keeps you in touch with yourself in another time and place. If you think life never changes or you never change, then keep a journal for a little while, you will see differently.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good points on keeping a journal. I feel as though my blog may be my journal and one day my great grandchildren will be reading it. Now lets hope WordPress is still around then! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have 5 year journal so I can see what I wrote the year before. It keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep expanding. Great post! I LOVE the title of your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A good, convincing demonstration there. I’m already finding it helps to process stuff and create a structure out of ideas. Totally agree with your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Being Eleven | The Exceptional Everyday

  14. I used my reply here as the inspiration for my post. Also linked to you in the Commons. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Like Clockwork; How Routine Habits Can Change Your Life | Itchy Quill

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