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What is a Diary or Journal?

Nov 13, 2007
Diaries and journals are essentially notebooks, books, or computer files that we use to write down our thoughts and feelings. Many people use journals for various reasons, from documenting their workout schedule to recording their daily struggles with life in general. Regardless of what you choose to write about in your journal or diary, you will be able to experience the numerous benefits that are available through them.

There are a number of health benefits associated with journaling and many therapists and physicians have used journaling as a way of getting a person to open up their feelings. There are several ways that you can keep journals. Technology itself has opened a lot of doors to those who wish to keep journals that are online or just on their computer.

One of the most common journal or diary keeping methods is through a notebook or simple bound book. These are similar to those you may have received or purchased as a child, but not necessarily locked up with a padlock. You can go as simple as a three-ring binder or spiral notebook, or you can go a little fancier with a leather bound book.

Computers have changed the way we journal. You can begin a never-ending file of daily entries in any word processing program, or you can even blog about yourself on the Internet. There are several free journaling services to choose from and they allow you to have your own website, in essence.

The most common form of journal entry is on paper. Many people purchase specific notebooks or blank books just for keeping their journal entries in. Many people purchase special books, paper and pens just for writing their journal entries on. This adds a certain amount of uniqueness to the journaling process and makes it a special experience.

Scrapbooking is another way of journaling that includes photos and other printed materials that are pasted into a scrapbook. As you design your scrapbooks, write little thoughts or bits of information that will remind you of the photos and what was occurring at that time. You would want someone who is looking at your scrapbook several years from now to know what is happening and how you felt about it at the time.

Letters and emails as entries: Letters used to be the main form of communication before e-mail took over the world. Many letters have been compiled into literary diaries to document the lives of several historical figures. Many of these historical letters have given us insight on the history of our country and the way that people lived during specific time periods. Today, e-mail is more prominent, but the typical e-mail can still be saved. Print your e-mails out before you send them and store them away for safekeeping. If you send letters home, ask your friends and family to keep them for you so that you can add them to your journal later. If you journal on your computer, you can simply copy and paste your e-mails or letters into your journal entries.

Digital journaling: Digital entries are becoming more common as technology is integrated more and more into our daily life. You can journal on your personal computer through a word processing program or, more commonly, you can use an online journaling service. Online journaling has several advantages over previous forms of journals.

You can journal anywhere and anytime, as long as you can access an internet connection. You can also choose whether or not you would like to share your journal entries online with other people who may stumble across it. This allows your visitors to make comments if you would like their personal opinion or view on what you wrote over.

You can often include photos along with your entries, to create an online aspect of scrapbooking. You can more easily sort through previous entries - searching entries by date or keyword is a trivial task. You don't have to worry about misplacing your journal, getting liquids poured over it, etc. You can leverage technology to remind you to make entries at times that work with your daily schedule.

A journal is not just a record of your life, but a tool that can help you as well. You can use your journal as a self-evaluation tool. You can also use it to improve yourself as well. As you write you will come to several conclusions and you may learn that there is a lot about yourself that you didn't even know or never realized. This is a great tool to see inside your own heart and soul.
About the Author
Javier Colayco is the founder of InboxJournal.com, a journaling site for keeping a private or public diary. Users can post entries directly in daily journal reminders, set reminders according to their schedule or post directly through the site.
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