On maintaining a personal diary.

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What is a personal diary? Simply put, it is a diary or a journal in which we record events or experiences which have occurred in our lives, during a certain period of time. The period may be a day, a week, or even a month, though usually the entries are made daily. The entries are maintained date-wise and may be extremely discrete and personal, where we have spoken about our feelings or emotions, comments, or personal experiences, about which no-one should know. If you maintain a personal diary, you are a diarist.

Although we do know about certain people whose ‘personal’ diaries have been published, and in some cases, had even been written with the purpose of due publication, most diaries are maintained for private use of the persons who they belong to.

As fancy or tiresome maintaining a diary sounds, that too with daily records, you’d be surprised to know about the advantages it has. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Writing a diary or a journal has been called the equivalent of meditation. And why not? It helps you relax, it relieves anxiety, reduces stress, and can make you smile. All your bottled emotions, and pent-up thoughts which you were fighting to keep inside you all day, come out as soon as you have a pen and your diary in hand. And once they are out of your system, the heavy load is off of your shoulders.
  2. Writing a diary increases your concentration levels. Because you are so focused, each day when you are writing the entries, it helps you to concentrate on other things as well.
  3. It improves your memory. When you are filling in your experience of the day, even the smallest of details seem to be clear, about which you would have otherwise forgotten. It also makes you extremely alert about your surroundings, because you know you have to get home and write about it.
  4. A diary helps to put your priorities straight. As you write about various things each day, it helps you to filter out what the important things are, and what your goals and objectives should be.
  5. I personally feel, a diary really simplifies our lives. It helps us get rid of unnecessary thoughts, clears our mental vision, makes us thankful for all that we have and helps us note our achievements.
  6. It improves personal relations. When you write about a fight you had, you feel lighter, and can then gauge what the situation really was all about. Whether it was a misunderstanding, and what should be done to fix it. And if you write something nice about someone you love, the emotion gets heightened, and it helps you to really value the presence of that person in your life.
  7. Writing a diary makes you more patient. It makes you more calm, and sorted, and it increases your level of understanding.
  8. And the best part about writing a diary is, reading those entries after a while helps you re-live the happy times you have spent.
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These are just some of the benefits of writing  a diary- there is just too much good that comes out of it. And the only con I can think of is that if you don’t keep your private journal hidden from general view, someone or the other might just trip upon some of your dirty little secrets!

To me, writing even just one paragraph before I call it a day, each day, is more than just maintaining a record. To me, my journal is closer than my best friend, closer than the closest person I can think of; my journal is a part of me. It is me, living outside my body, in the form of words, emotions, and memories. With every entry I make, I give my diary a little part of me, to keep safely, till I need that memory back again.

Every year, when I look back and read what I had written last year, not only does it give me a sense of nostalgia, but it also shows me clearly just how much I have grown in a year. And that in itself is a sense of achievement. Things which seemed to affect me and trouble me so much last year seem trivial now- a sign that I have matured, that I have learnt to forgive and forget. Although we don’t feel ourselves changing each day, but through our old diaries we remember the person we used to be, and realise the person we have become today.

Just the other day, I was reading an article about how some doctors speed up their patients’ healing process, by asking them to write. Writing about their traumatic experiences, abstract thoughts, emotions, things which might be bothering them, actually helps to strengthen their immune system. Their visits to the doctor become less frequent, their blood pressure, lung and liver functions improve, their stress-level is lowered, and the patients themselves can feel their psychological health improve. Added to that are reduced absenteeism from work and other commitments, better performance in sports, even an increase in memory.

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So to everyone reading this article, I urge you to please start writing. Write something, write anything. You don’t have to do it everyday, but that would be preferred. Write about whatever comes to your mind, if something makes you angry, tell your diary about it, if something makes you happy, double your happiness by sharing it with your diary and so on. A diary is the best listener- it doesn’t judge you, doesn’t interrupt you, and doesn’t tell on you. It is the best friend-always there when you need it, at any time of the day or the night, always ready to support your tears, and witness your smiles. A diary is a better you. So go out there, get yourself a diary, grab a pen and begin with “Dear diary….” And watch your life transform.

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