Diary

Oh, diaries. For most, they conjure up memories of being in grade school and scribbling about how Cindy stole your favorite pencil or how Miranda invited you to her sleepover or how Michael was so annoying—even though he was kind of cute—because he laughed at you and made fun of your hair. Those days may be long past, but perhaps it’s time to revive your long-lost friend…the diary (or you can substitute the word “journal” if that’s more your jam).

Here’s why I keep a diary (and why you should too):

1. Your diary is an unbiased listener.

We may be adults now and pouring out your soul into a book may seem a bit childish (if not dangerous—have you seen Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?!) but it could actually be very beneficial to those willing to give it a try. First, realize the diary is your own; nobody else is going to read it. This gives you infinite freedom!  With nobody judging you, you’re safe to say whatever you want. Any hope, dream, despair, concern, triumph, problem, you name it—all can be written about.  Diaries are intended for you and your eyes only, so any topic is accessible to you.

2. Your diary is a workbook for problem-solving.

Diaries also just-so-happen to be the perfect place to work out any kinds of problems. Back in the day when things didn’t go your way or someone said something mean, it was a bit more acceptable to throw a tantrum or to say that you weren’t inviting that person to your birthday party. But because you’re such a mature adult now, you’ve had to learn how to control such outbursts. Cue the diary: every crazy rant you may have can be fully expressed. You know for the sake of your relationships or career some fights aren’t worth having. But those feelings of irritation still stick around, whether you like it or not. A diary is the perfect place to get those feelings out of your system without hurting anyone. Everything remains peaceful and you’ve gotten your feelings out. It’s a win-win.

Conversely, a diary is also the perfect place to rave. Let’s be honest: your friends—even your BFF—can listen to you gush about that hot guy (or girl) at work only so many times before they get sick of listening to you. But your diary will never roll its eyes at you or tell you to quit talking like a stalker. That means you can fill page after page with the most vivid descriptions of your future husband’s perfect eyes and gorgeous smile and infectious laugh without sounding like a crazy, obsessed person. Although, you should consider just talking to him, if you’re really that crazy about him in the first place.

Aside from that, your diary is a good place to turn to when faced with a problem. Feelings can be tricky, and when you’re filled to the brim with them, everything can get a bit overwhelming. By taking some time to stop, sit and write it out, you might gain a new perspective on an issue or clear your mind.

Maybe you’re faced with a big dilemma. Write it down, describe how you feel, list the possible outcomes or write down anything else related.

3. Your diary becomes a logic-map.

In writing out your thoughts and feelings, you might be able to make better sense of what’s going on in your head. This logic can be applied to anything. No matter what the situation, confronting how you feel and writing it out does wonders. If using a pen and paper and physically writing sounds off-putting, consider typing out your entries on a Word Document or an anonymous blog. However, the best way to ensure that your thoughts remain private and yours alone is to use an old-school journal or notebook.

Besides being a self-help tool, a diary can be a lot of fun too!  Use it to write about everything that’s happened to you and everything you want to do.  Did you just pull off the perfect job interview last week?  Once you’re finished calling up all your friends, brag about it in your diary!  Did you just go on the perfect first date with the handsomest, funniest, smartest, coolest guy ever?  Write it out!  If you re-read those happy entries at a later time you can relive that night of elation and those happy jittery feelings. And if the job or the relationship goes bad, you can invite your friends over, start a bonfire and burn those stupid memories. Then make some new ones and write about those instead.