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You’ve Got a Friend in… Your Diary?

I’ve recently invested in a planner to help organise my life. It’s got space to record deadlines, construct to-do lists, enter timetables and write down reminders. But what has inspired my article this week is the seemingly insignificant space the planner leaves totally empty. 

This space has become my miniature diary. I write down anything from things I did that day, to how I was feeling or even just what I had for dinner. I’ve been enjoying it so much that I’ve realised I need to invest in a proper diary. It’s something I have attempted to start in the past but never kept up. This time, I’m determined to stick at it, and I’d like to convince others to do so too. So, here are five reasons why a diary should be on the top of everyone’s Christmas list this year.

1.       Release

Writing down how you are feeling can be a soothing process. This is especially true if you are someone who doesn’t like to talk about their feelings often. You can spill the beans to your diary, and it will never judge you. This could be particularly helpful if you have just started university and don’t feel totally comfortable talking to the people around you yet. A diary may be just what you need to get everything off your chest without feeling vulnerable. 

No one has to see anything in your diary if you don’t want them to. Just make sure you don’t leave it lying around the house if you have younger siblings at home.

2.       Motivation

As I mentioned earlier, I use my planner to write to do lists and there’s no reason why you can’t do this with a normal diary either. Seeing my different tasks written down on paper is great motivation for me to get on and do them. I promise that you’ll feel endless satisfaction from ticking items off your list, especially if you manage to complete everything. I’m sure your productivity levels will go through the roof!

3.       Progress

This could relate to your academic, fitness or health goals, or any other type of progress you can think of. A diary will help you keep track of whether things are getting better or worse and then you can adjust accordingly. This might require you to look back at previous entries. Personally, I quite enjoy looking back at what I’ve been up to, even if I haven’t been making much progress. 

However, I realise this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If even the thought of reading back over your writing is cringeworthy, then perhaps it’s best left untouched. You will likely have an idea of your general progress anyway, especially if you are writing regularly. 

4.       Simple

A diary can come in any shape or size. You might get a proper journal to write in, or simply use an old notebook that’s lying around the house. You may even just use loose paper that you keep together in a corner of your room (this option would be particularly good for disguising your diary as university notes to keep any prying eyes away). 

The fun thing about keeping a diary is that there are no rules or limitations, you can do what you want to do. Write every day, once a week, or just randomly at times when you feel like you need to let everything out. 

5.       Proven effectiveness

It’s not just me that is banging on about the benefits of keeping a diary. There is lots of research out there saying the exact same thing. Journaling has been found to help improve mood and aid with symptoms of depression (Web MD, 2017). In addition, keeping a diary can also help manage anxiety and reduce stress by helping you prioritise your problems and deal with them accordingly (University of Rochester Medical Centre, 2019). It’s clear that maintaining a diary is not just an activity to pass the time, it could have a real impact on your life. 

Hopefully now, as you finish this article, you are already out of the door on your way to the nearest stationary store to pick up your new diary. You never know, you might just become the next Bridget Jones.

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Meghan Jarvis

Nottingham '20

Meghan is a third year student studying English at the University of Nottingham. She enjoys reading, writing and all things food. Meghan is a features writer for HerCampus Nottingham magazine.
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