When I was first introduced as an adult to writing a daily journal, the only instructions I was give was to-write. As I learned and developed, I discovered an amazing connection between writing a daily journal and achievement, healing, clarity, improved emotional regulation and better thinking. If this were true I thought, than there must be specific types of concepts I should include rather than my daily itinerary. So I set out on my quest to find a structure that would allow me to find my own voice after time but would also provide a framework so that my writing would become purposeful. In the end I didn’t find a structure that I believed met my needs, so I took from various frameworks to create “Dean’s Daily Journal Guide”
The 5 Points
1.) Begin by identifying the overall emotional theme of your day. Was it a “good”, “challenging”, “peaceful”…use the appropriate feeling word. Today was an emotionally…
2.) Identify what you experienced as the high and low emotional points of your day. What was going on at the high point? What was going on during the low point? Over time you will see a pattern emerge that would have otherwise been oblivious too. This is the section where you can begin connecting the dots between feelings and actions or behaviors that are indicators of where you might need to work on some emotional regulation.
3.) How was today different or in what way did you find it unique from other days? If you have the tendency to say, “oh today was like yesterday, or most any day”, you aren’t practicing mindfulness. So pay attention to all the gifts each day brings to you and acknowledge it in the section.
4. Did you learn anything of personal importance? Did you have some insight into yourself or someone else you would like to preserve?
5.) If you had this day to do over, what would you have done differently?
Lastly, writing a daily journal has nothing to do with using good grammar, perfect spelling, or syntax. Don’t write what you think someone wants you to write-write about your experience, honestly. Get your feelings into the pages that you write. Eventually you will find that you will find your voice and naturally incorporate these concepts in a more natural organic way.