A Modern Twist on Journaling

Journaling like a “reverse agenda” is a dated take. Read below for a modern twist on this classic mental wellness skill.

What comes to mind when you hear me say, “journaling?”

For most of us we think of our middle school fuzzy diary with a heart-shaped lock on the front. We think of spilling our deepest darkest secrets or writing letters to our most recent crush. “Dear Diary, Today Mac sat by me in class…”

For others of us we think of journaling like a reverse agenda… like outlining our day in reverse or tracking each item we checked off of our to-do list. “This morning I made breakfast and dropped the kids at school. Then I ran errands and started dinner before picking the kids up from school. They each had their after-school activities and we ate dinner together.”

But what if journaling was different? What if journaling could be powerful and life-giving?

What if it was more than a record of our day, or a silly catalog of day-dreamy thoughts?

What if journaling was a way to create mile markers in our life? What if we used journaling to capture screen-shots of a season, to slow down time, to capture feelings and emotions and memories? So many clients come in to our offices with regret over time lost or time wasted. Even just from COVID-fatigue and feeling like 2020-2022 was time stolen from their timelines, many people are experiencing anxiety related to the passing of time. What if instead of lamenting the rapid passage of time we were able to flip back in our journal and read an entry from that season? An entry that captured the smell of the sun in the backyard, the peals of toddler laughter as they flew down the slide, the tightness in your chest feeling the overwhelming love and gratitude for an otherwise typical Thursday afternoon. Or an entry that captured the smell of the library, the weight on your shoulders studying for the GRE, the daydreams of future goals and plans.

What if journaling felt less like a task to do at the end of each day and more like an opportunity to capture beautiful moments. Or scary moments. Or confusing moments. Or monumental moments. Moments that define us in seasons, remind us of seasons, and pave the way for new seasons.

Give it a try. Some clients like a blank slate while others like some structure. The technique isn’t the focus, the goal is simply to capture moments, create mile markers, and train your brain to be mindful of the passage of time.

Listen as Ally Bayard, LPC-S, CAS, shares a fresh take on journaling