Journaling is the practice of writing down your thoughts, experiences and reflection in a personal journal. Yes. We’re talking about ‘dear diary’. We’ve seen this often in Hollywood movies where a little girl writes away her feelings. The act of jotting down your innermost thoughts seems somewhat ‘girly’. But no. That is not the case. Most successful and famous people are committed to it as it brings an array of benefits. Below are some of those who journal regularly:
Musician: Taylor Swift
You probably have indulged in her diary if you have listened to any of her songs. Yes. They are literally her diary where she discusses her musical journey, her long list of lovers, her struggle with body image issues, her fights with other celebrities (ahem, Kanye) and many more. Through her songs, she manages to evoke some sort of nostalgia from her tween years all the way to adulthood. This is what makes her one of the biggest celebrities to date.
In one of her interviews, she explained hour journaling helped her to get through life. “I would definitely recommend journaling because I have been journaling since I was 13. I just journal the way that I felt and somehow it kind of simplified it. Because sometimes nothing can really make you feel better about what you’re going through but a lot of the time it’s easier to understand how you’re feeling if you write it down. A lot of the time we get so overwhelmed by our emotions because there are so many of them but a lot of the time if you put pen to paper how you’re actually feeling will be what comes out on the page”.
Actress: Emma Watson
Emma Watson is a British actress and activist best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the popular “Harry Potter” film series. Among all of the celebrities in this entry, Emma Watson is what I consider a serious diary keeper. She keeps 10 journals at all times and habitually writes before she hit the bed. She always journals when she’s unhappy. In her own words, she said “I must have 10 different personal diaries: I keep a dream diary, I keep a yoga diary, I keep diaries on people that I’ve met and things that they’ve said to me, advice that they’ve given me. I keep an acting journal. I keep collage books”.
But why does she love keeping a journal so much? Similar to Taylor Swift she agreed that putting it in writing helps her to understand her emotions. “I think your thoughts are so much less frightening when they’re tangible when you can see them on a page in front of you”.She also turns to journaling as it provides her with a safe space. “They’ve given me a place where I can try to figure myself out because those kinds of ideas feel too personal to put out into the public or even discuss with anyone else. It allows me to get things out of my head and work them out in a way that feels safe”.
Sports: Serena Williams
Serena Williams is a highly acclaimed professional tennis player from the United States. She is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Serena Williams turned professional in 1995. Throughout her career, she has won numerous Grand Slam singles titles, including Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open. She has held the world No. 1 ranking in women’s singles tennis on multiple occasions.
But that doesn’t happen by chance. The New York Times reported that Serena keeps a pink notebook with her and she likes to read it during changeover. It is believed that she keeps tabs on her opponents’ strategy and read them before a match. This notebook serves as a mental preparation. She also learns from defeat. The more she plays an opponent, the more information is gathered.
When it comes to her view on journal she said, “Writing down your feelings in a notebook or journal can help clear out negative thoughts and emotions that keep you feeling stuck.”
Inventors: Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman who played a pivotal role in the development of several important technologies, most notably the electric light bulb. He developed a practical and commercially viable incandescent light bulb in 1879. This invention revolutionized the way people lived and worked by providing a reliable and safe source of artificial light.
Similar to Emma Watson, Edison is also another serious diarist. During his lifetime, Thomas Edison maintained a continuous habit of journaling, documenting not only his inventive creations but also the workings of his mind. He meticulously penned more than 3,500 journals, amassing over 5 million pages of detailed notes. These journals were used as a way for him to study his own emotions and thought processes. He used journals to keep track of modifications needed for his invention.
When it comes to the importance of journaling he said:
“The most necessary task of civilization is to teach people how to think. It should be the primary purpose of our public schools. The mind of a child is naturally active, it develops through exercise. Give a child plenty of exercise, for body and brain. The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind. It casts the brain into a mold. It insists that the child must accept. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation.”
President: Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela, whose full name was Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, was a prominent South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist. In 1962, Mandela was arrested and subsequently sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in anti-apartheid activities. He spent 27 years in prison, primarily on Robben Island, a notorious penal colony off the coast of Cape Town. This is where he started to write. The journal began as a note on his calendar. Soon enough this habit branches into journaling where he recorded the daily experiences he was grateful for like having milk in his tea or the joy he felt seeing a flock of ducks swing back and forth around the prison compound.
On the topic of writing he said, “In the meantime, the mere fact of writing down my thoughts and expressing my feeling gives me a measure of pleasure and satisfaction. It is some means of passing on to you my warmest love and goods wishes, and tends to calm down the shooting pains that hit me when I think of you.”
Philanthropist: Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is a highly influential American media mogul, television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her long-running talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which aired from 1986 to 2011. Oprah Winfrey’s journey from a challenging childhood to becoming one of the most influential and successful media personalities in the world is a testament to her talent, determination, and commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Journaling does play a part in her success. She turns to writing as early as 15 years old. This has led her to achieve self-awareness and become a purposeful person. In addition, she also believes that journaling was one single important habit she has ever committed to. She said, “I wrote a lot of bad poetry in my teens and 20s, mostly about how some guy had done me wrong. I used my journals as therapy. Oh, the time I wasted worrying about men and weight, and what other people thought! In my 40s, I got wiser. I started using journals to express my gratitude — and watched my blessings multiply.” Apart from that, she believes in the power of writing things down to translate ideas or opinions into words. “You have to write them down. It’s very different from just saying ‘I’m grateful for today’. You have to physically write them down because there’s power in the words.”
Journaling brings an extensive amount of benefits from helping people to untangle complicated emotions to strategizing. It is a simple habit but if you do it long enough, it might lead you to success. I personally believe that everyone documents their thoughts and emotions in their own ways. Most of us opt to unload on social media. But you might not be as honest as you can be because you are aware that your friends and family might read them. So, are you ready to take up the pen and paper and be honest?