Journal Vs. Diary

I am a firm believer in the healing power of journaling. I’ve been journaling in one form or another for 6 or 7 years now and have experienced immense healing that I don’t think would have happened if I hadn’t started journaling.

I believe in journaling for healing so much that I hope to become a journal therapy facilitator one day. In the meantime, I’m learning everything I can about journaling to become a journaling coach. I’m not sure how I feel about that title but I want to teach people to use journaling for healing the way I have.

I wanted to talk about the difference between a journal and a diary in my opinion. Many people don’t see how journaling could have healing effects but quite often that’s because they are keeping a diary instead of a journal. Some people will probably disagree with me on this but this is the way I see it.

The main difference between a journal and a diary is the purpose for keeping them. Diaries are for keeping records. They are meant to keep a record of the events in a person’s life so that people, especially descendants can go back and read about that person’s life.

So whereas diaries are about recording events, journals are about sorting through thoughts. Journaling is about getting the thoughts swirling around in your brain, out of your brain and onto paper. Journaling is also about bringing the subconscious thoughts into the conscious mind. Once those thoughts are brought out, they can be sorted through and dealt with. It is also about release. People who journal often do so when they are stressed or overwhelmed. Journaling releases those thoughts, clearing the mind and allowing it to function better.

Diaries are often meant to be passed down to future generations. Journalers often would never want anyone to ever read their journals. Diarists might read past entries to relive memories. Journalers rarely go back and read past journal entries because they have moved on from whatever was going on at the time. If they do go back, its only because they need a reminder of how far they have come.

Because of the nature of diaries being record keepers, keeping a diary is more of a discipline. Diaries are most effective when written in on a consistent basis. Journals usually don’t require such discipline. Usually you journal when you have something you need to work through or as a de-stresser when it feels like the walls are closing in. There’s nothing to say that you can’t journal on a regular basis or that it can’t be a discipline if that’s what you need. It just doesn’t have to be in order to be effective.

I have plans to talk about journaling much more in the future so I want to make sure that you know where I’m coming from and understand what I mean when I say journaling.

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Originally published at moonflowerliving.com on October 16, 2015.