“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine Saint-Exupery

One of the oldest ways of self-exploration is listening to your heart, i.e. writing a daily journal. Keeping a journal provides a way for you to clarify your thoughts and express your feelings about the present, record the past, and dream about your future. A journal is a private, personal place to write. The tools you use can be as simple as a notebook or an online record. Personal journal entries are inspired by the daily events of your life, your sensory experiences, and your feelings.

What you see (films, TV shows, buildings going up around you, plants growing, etc.), what you hear (how birdsongs change with seasons and the weather, etc.), what you taste (special meals, new fruits, etc.), what you smell (in kitchens, food factories, in malls, etc.), and what you touch (tactile fabrics, building textures, animals’ fur or feathers, etc.) are all incorporated into your feelings about people, places, and things. By expressing your feelings in a journal, you keep in touch with who you were on that day, who you are now, and who you hope to become. Over time, a journal provides a window into your growth as a person.


Writing in a journal about the past can have several different purposes. It can preserve personal and family history and become a useful written record for future generations of genealogists and historians. A journal can chronicle for other generations how much our society and world changed during your lifetime, and how these changes affected your personal journey. Creating and sharing this kind of journal can be the starting point for fascinating inter-generational conversations. Writing about the past can also be a vehicle for expressing your feelings about personal events and releasing old guilts and hurts.


Writing in a journal regularly can help you appreciate the present. Some people keep a gratitude journal and record before going to sleep five things they are grateful for each day. Re-reading this during a bad-hair day can restore your spirits. The act of writing about your life on paper can help you understand events and allow you to tap into your inner wisdom — your heart — to solve problems. It provides a record of events and illuminates your path through the year.


It is never too late to hope and plan for the future. Ask yourself “What are my dreams for the coming year? What is important to me? How will I spend my time? What will my priorities be? What possibilities does the future bring?” Recording these thoughts and ideas in your journal each day can help turn your dreams into reality. At the least, you’ll see a path of where you’ve been.

By Kim Ballard. Reproduced for educational purposes.

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