I've kept a journal for nearly 10 years. It's therapeutic. Completely confidential, and helps you keep track of your life. If you're stressed, having a tough time or trying to keep your head above water, it's time to start a journal.
There is nothing like putting pen to paper. Computers are convenient and fast, but seeing your thoughts in your own handwriting can be profound. It makes you think more deliberately and carefully when you're writing with ink. It's more permanent, unlike the backspace button. Things can't be erased in a journal...you should just cross them out. It gives you more of a map to your thought process that way.
Here's how to use one to help you out:
Okay, so the first thing you need is a journal. This should be thin enough to be able to fill, but have enough paper to last a few months, or so. It's important to not get one of those giant lithographic things that you'll never write in.
Something small, something that you like looking at, and something personalized will serve you the most.
This journal is about 2 years old, and has writing in it from my Sophomore year of college to now. It's got a lot of miles on it, and a lot has changed since I first got it. I think that's important.
FOR YOU ONLY.
Now you have your journal, it's time to write:
It's a process where the foreign becomes local, and your thoughts truly become your own because you can see them on the page.
Start with a simple prompt, like " This is what I did today" or "This is how I feel today" and the rest will come out.
No matter what, you can't stop writing. Keep up with it every day and you'll see an increased sense of wholeness. You'll find yourself more at ease. I promise.
So now you're writing, and you're keeping up with it...how should you feel?
Well first of all, there is no should...with anything. There is only how you use the tool of journaling, and how you feel.
Journaling can be cathartic, scary and eye-opening. You will learn things about yourself, and you will definitely gain some perspective.
Sometimes the world is dark only for you, and you shouldn't feel ashamed or worried by that. Everyone's process is different.
by creating a safe space for yourself (your journal), you will ultimately bring yourself closer to achieving the ever illusive thing that most refer to as "happiness".