Credit: Jade Seah

I used to journal as a kid. Then, we called it writing a diary. I was six, and I remember my first entry was about my pet fish: four Creamsicle mollies. I recently went back to my mum’s and read my old diaries. Boy, I had sad entries about those four mollies dying the week after my entry!

I still journal up till this day, and I still start my entries with “Dear Diary”. Some of my thoughts are still childish, but that’s one of the joys of journaling. You don’t have to be perfect – you can write freely without the need to be coherent, politically correct or even legible. #truestory

Journaling is a form of self-care (2020’s buzzword) as well as self- love. It’s like becoming friends with yourself. Your journal isn’t meant to be shared with anyone; it’s meant to be understood, by you – the author.

Put aside other things to be alone with your thoughts. Through that process, you gain clarity. At 30, I thought I fully understood myself. But the past few years of journaling has surprised me, and proven that I haven’t stopped growing and evolving. Growth does not stop at 30. We learn, adapt and grow stronger and more resilient with age. Reading my old entries of the tough times and obstacles that I’ve overcome is a reminder of how strong I am. This exercise has been proven by science to be a way of building one’s resilience.

Writing a diary has helped me to understand myself: my real dreams, hopes, fears and insecurities, and true values. The easiest way is to write whatever comes to mind. Write about anything that happened, and how it made you feel.

Take notes about your thoughts from conversations with your friends. Rant about something or write down things that you’re thankful for. Don’t forget to write about what makes you cry, excites you, and energises you. Pen the lessons you’ve learnt, and relive the happy memories. Share the words you’d like to live by, and the things you can’t imagine living without. Or even something you wish others knew about you. The possibilities are endless. The best thing is, there are no rules because it is your diary – and for your eyes only.

(Read also “Make ‘Me-Time’ Your Next Life Priority“)

The hardest part, though, is getting started. For busy bees who say they have no time, set a three- minute timer, and pour your heart out on paper or bang it out on the keyboard. When the timer goes off, stop. I use this method, and it gets rid of the “no time” excuse. C’mon, everyone can spare three minutes! Happy journaling!

This article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of Her World.