Many people think that keeping a diary is something that teenage girls do. It's seen as a space to write down who you have a crush on, a place to write down secrets, things you don't want anyone else to know. The stereotype is that only women keep diaries. In fact, your diary doesn't have to have pink flowers on it. Keeping a diary, also called a journal, is a very old tradition. It can be useful for many different kinds of people. Many famous people have kept diaries. Many powerful people have kept diaries. Some of these people include famous writers and even presidents.
Keeping a journal is said to have health benefits. It improves not just mental and emotional health, but also physical health. Studies show that keeping a diary, that is, writing out thoughts daily, can decrease asthma and arthritis symptoms. Writing uses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is busy, your right brain is free to create and feel. This removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brain power to better understand yourself, others, and the world around you.
The key to successful diary keeping is not editing, which means not stopping any thoughts from coming through. This even means allowing thoughts that disturb you to come out in your writing. It helps clarify your feelings, and is especially useful if a person is faced with a hard decision. Sometimes just writing down the pros and cons help you better understand an issue. You begin to see a problem from different angles. This is helpful if you are having a disagreement with others.