Could your new BFF be a Journal?

My new BFF is a Journal

For some, the act of writing in a journal is “like having a best friend that didn’t talk back. I didn’t get interrupted mid-sentence.” B. Lynn Goodwin, the former caregiver, and author admitted in an online article I recently read. And, while it is important to cultivate social relationships, like in the Shining Lights Community Small Group setting for Caregivers of Special Needs Loved Ones, sometimes your best relationship may be a “non-judgmental piece of paper.”1

Why? Well, for many reasons, such as:

  • Emotions are fickle.
  • There are good days and not-so-good days
  • Family and friends are not always available to talk to
  • You can keep it real. You can’t take back words said to people but you can ball up a letter and throw it in the trash if you like.

But before you toss this notion of “getting it all out on paper,” know that there are many benefits to expressive writing. Some of which are changes for the better in your:

  • Outlook
  • Concentration
  • Sleeping
  • Relationships
  • Immune function2

Sounds appealing, right?

So what should you journal? The short answer is … anything you like.

My personal suggestion is, to begin with, a gratitude journal. Since we as humans are much too quick to forget all the blessings we have. You could try to count them one-by-one, and collect your memories in a singular notebook, store-bought journal, or in a word processing document.

Other options could be to capture the main events of the day, a reaction to a bible scripture or a quote, or quite simply jot down the thought that is on your mind at the moment. It’s entirely up to you. Remember this is expressive writing and it’s for your eyes only.

Do you have time? Probably not, so you have to make the time and do your best to be consistent. Around 7 to 10 minutes a day in a private setting is a good start. Whether it’s morning, evening or at home on the throne, it doesn’t matter. The best time is always, whenever it works best for you. And if you miss a day, write about “why” the next day, or scrap it and focus on the present.

Whatever, you do, start today! You may find journaling to be the best friend and listener you’ve ever encountered.

The above is a transcript written for the Shining Lights Community Small Group for Caregivers of Special Needs Adults.

  1. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/journal on 10/30/18@ 2:08 PM, article, “Dear Diary: Journaling for Caregivers,” December 8, 2011.
  2. Article by Robert Busha, Ph.D., LifeWise Living Ministries, Copyright 2014
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