When we think about ‘journal’ or ‘journaling’, most of us think about those hefty biology/physics/chemistry journals we laboured over as schoolkids or writing a daily ‘diary’. The task of writing a daily diary or even writing a diary may seem tedious at a time when we seem to be more stressed than ever! But have you ever thought there may be more than one way to ‘journal’ or there may be more things to ‘journal’ about other than travel or the traditional ‘things that happened to me today’?
More than one way to journal
I was a daily diary writer as a child, in fact, up until my early 20s. And then, I lost track of the habit. Journaling happened only when I was travelling or needed to vent/share about something that was making me very sad or very happy. Until, in 2019, Moon Moon handed me this precious little box called the ‘History Hive’ kit which enables journaling with the help of a map, writing prompts et all. What is more important is that I realised there was more than one way to ‘journal’.
For notifications about upcoming Instagram Live conversations, follow me on Instagram @from.the.corner.table; don’t forget to switch on the post/stories/live notifications for alerts. To get regular updates on recipes, travel tales, conversations, and stories that warm your heart, subscribe to the monthly newsletter.
A better understanding of journaling
A little bit of searching on the internet led me into the fascinating world of journaling while making me realise that every single one of us is journaling every day, in one way or another. This blog too is a way of journaling, it’s a space where I share what is mine.
In an attempt to delve deeper into our understanding of the term journaling, understand some of its benefits and equally important, explore different ways we can journal and different topics that one can journal about, I asked Moon Moon Jetley – a journaling pro, historian, researcher and founder at History Hive – to talk to us. Here are some (edited) excerpts from the Instagram Live conversation that can be accessed directly on Instagram (click here); you can also choose to watch/listen to the conversation using the files shared below.
What exactly is journaling? Can you define the concept of journaling for us?
I don’t think there’s a definitive term for journaling, because I think it may mean different things to different people. But I think somewhere in your introduction creative you had mentioned – what is journaling for which you had looked up a dictionary, and it said, occurrences, activities, experiences. The thing is, Rapti, I think you would agree with me on this – our life is not just defined by the kind of work we do or our careers or our 10th or 12th standard grades or how much we score in college or – it’s a combination of many occurrences. It’s a combination of many activities. It’s a combination of many events. It’s a combination of experiences or the kind of emotions that we go through. There are many things that define our life. And I think when you get down to recording these occurrences, activities, emotions, experiences, in a very cohesive manner in a very organized manner in a very meaningful manner. That simple act is called journaling. If you look up for it online, you would find tons and tons of definitions on journaling. But based on my experience, this is what I think could be like a definition of journaling. It’s basically a cohesive, you know, record of your life which you yourself are creating you.
There are a lot of benefits to journaling, then obviously, a lot of them are very personal. It depends on what kind of journaling you pick up – but could you quickly tell us a few benefits of journaling? Or, more importantly, what is the importance of journaling?
So, I’m actually really glad that you asked that question. The first one, especially, what is the importance of journaling? And I think my answer will be very contextual, because I will go by the context of the times that we are living in.
You will agree with me that in the last couple of years, we’ve been talking about mental health quite a bit. And we’ve been talking about the relevance of mental health that how mental health is as important as our physical health. They’ve been events in the recent past, which I don’t want to bring up, which once again have reinstated the importance of mental health. So, the importance of journaling in such a context is that we are living in a time where everyone goes through a certain level of anxiety, stress, depression.
So, what happens is that, when you take on journaling, when you’re actually venting out your mind on a piece of paper or on a diary, then you are emptying your mind – you are just clearing out your mind on a piece of paper or it could be any form. And what happens is that you become aware of your thought process that maybe this is what I’m feeling or I’m not feeling right, I’m not feeling good, I’m not feeling positive. So once you start addressing that and you become aware of the fact that okay, I am not going through a good phase in my life, you start finding a solution to that or you start seeking help from outside. So the importance of journaling in this particular time is that it is a good way to relieve your stress, it’s a good way to relieve your anxiety and it’s a good exercise for your mental health…. (for more, listen to the audio file or watch the saved conversation on Instagram)
History Hive is a product development and research venture that develops products designed to revisit and preserve history. The venture also undertakes historical and anthropological research projects. You can check out their products and get more details at HISTORY HIVE.