Like any habit, journaling is easier said than done. I tried for years (all of the half-empty notebooks in my childhood bedroom can attest to this) and didn't form a sustaining habit until I studied abroad in university and wrote in a travel journal daily. Something just clicked during that time, and I kept it up when I was back home, where it morphed from a catalogue of the places I visited and food I ate into a place to work through feelings, expand on questions or random observations, and set goals for myself.
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I'm always searching for ways to counteract my type-A, future-focused tendencies that make me a tangled ball of stress. Try meditation, they say. I've tried sitting still, focusing on nothing in particular and thinking about not thinking. I've had some success with it, but the real breakthrough came when I started journaling.
Jack London said every writer should keep a notebook. "Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it," London said. "Lead pencil markings endure longer than memory." It's sage advice, but then again, Jack London didn't have Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or OneNote. This week, we test the classic battle of man versus machine to see which is better for journaling.
iOS: There is no shortage of apps for writing down your thoughts, but many writing and note-taking apps suffer from feature bloat that impedes the actual writing. Just Open & Type forgoes the unnecessary stuff and lives up to its name.
Journaling might seem silly on the surface, but a journal is extremely useful as both a permanent record of your thoughts and as a cathartic release. Regardless of how you plan to use a journal, our favourite on the iPhone is Day One.
Unless you don't frequent the internet very much, you have probably heard about bullet journaling, an organisational tool that is basically a to-do list, planner and diary all in one. It can help you keep your life in order, but it can also be used to plan your weekly meals.
Look up #bulletjournal on the social media platform of your choice, and you can feast your eyes on a sea of neatly inked notebook pages designed to track everything from daily to-do lists to inspirational quotes. Go ahead, roll your eyes. But bullet journals are an amazing productivity tool, if you can learn to adapt them to your life. No coloured pens required.
iOS: When it comes to journaling apps on iPhone, it's hard to beat Day One. Not everyone needs the complexity offered from Day One though, and if something a little simpler is more your thing, Ipsum is well worth a look.
There are a lot of great reasons to keep a journal, and getting over a breakup might be one of them. The key is using your words to reframe your suffering into a positive, or at least meaningful, experience.
Even if they only last a few minutes, panic attacks can be overwhelming and disabling. Write in a panic diary while you're having the attack to calm yourself and get through it.
Nobody likes complaining, but is it really that bad? Complaining feels cathartic. Complaining gives us something to talk about. Ninety per cent of Seinfeld was just listening to four characters complain, and it was entertaining and relatable. Complaining can be harmful and obnoxious, but it can also serve a purpose. It just takes approaching it the right way.
iOS/Mac: Day One has long been the go-to journaling app for Apple devices. It's feature rich, well designed and consistently updated. Today, a new version launches for both iOS and Mac with a few added features and a new price tag.