By Dr. Nancy Buck

Do you keep a journal? Maybe you write in a  diary? Not the kind of diary that people in the US call a calendar and folks in the UK call a diary. I mean the kind that preadolescent and adolescent girls keep, locking it with a key that’s kept in a secret hiding place.

If this isn’t part of your daily practice, let me invite you to begin a wonderful habit worth cultivating for your Mental Health & Happiness. Even if you think this may not be for you, give it a try for 30 days before you completely dismiss the possibility.

There are many different ways you can keep a journal. Your journal can keep your thoughts, experiences and learning from the daily Mental Health & Happiness challenges if you are participating.  Your journal may not be words at all, but doodles and drawings. You may prefer a combination of the two. Perhaps you are reading a daily contemplation or prayer book. You could journal about your thoughts and experiences inspired by your daily meditation or prayer. Or maybe you read a daily blog or book of inspirational quotes. Why not add that to your daily journaling experience.

Happily, there is no right or wrong way to journal. What you want is to discover your own way. There are more than a few books, blogs and articles you might find useful to help you find your own personal journaling practice. Let me share two of my favorites:

Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way advocates writing three morning pages where you dump all of you unhappy complaints and grumps that are circling in your brain. Eventually what may emerge are your deeper thoughts, feelings and ideas. This is the one that launched me into my practice. Another example I highly recommend are all of the books by SARK. These “books” really read more like a glimpse into her journals that include ideas in words and drawings.

Journaling is a habit worth starting. Not only will you be cultivating your creativity, you will also be learning about yourself and developing an improve relationship with yourself. You may also develop a more loving relationship with the greater worlds, both inside and outside or your skin.

If you give this a try and your Mental Health & Happiness don’t improve at the end of 30 days, perhaps you will decide this practice isn’t for you. Or perhaps you will decide, as I did, that hanging in there for another 30 days might be worth the effort. Before you know it you just might have developed a new, effective and helpful practice.

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