Commonly proclaimed as the essential self-help tool, many believe you should keep a journal because it is the key to a peaceful and restorative sleep and the balsam to our frantic modern lives. Whether you prefer to write pages of prose or compose an artful creation of your self-expression, you will certainly find your niche in the journalling world. With some help from this article, delve into the history of journalling, discover how to keep a journal and find out why it can be more therapeutic than a week-long retreat at a spa in the Cotswolds.
The desire to record the minutiae of our daily lives and catalogue the inner workings of our mind is most likely as old as handwriting itself. Journalling as a form of an autobiography, the modern-day diary, is said to have begun with Samuel Pepys in England in 1660. Since then, numerous illustrious literary figures from Tolstoy to Virginia Woolf have praised the virtues of journalling for creative practice.
It was not until the 1960s that the therapeutic potential of reflective writing became widely discussed, thanks to a psychologist in New York City who began offering workshops in what he called The Intensive Journal Method. Nowadays, there is an abundance of articles and blogs revolving around why you should keep a diary and its healing capacity. Keeping a journal can be meditative, can combat stress and trauma and can simply boost your creativity or sense of achievement. It helps with memory and problem-solving and often forms a component of university courses, for example, by helping students to reflect and improve on their study.
Let us not forget that it can also be both satisfying and relaxing. Many of us choose to take five minutes to ourselves before going to sleep to clear our minds of any troubling thoughts or unfinished tasks, which then prepares us wonderfully for a restful sleep.
The internet and social media have caused an explosion of journalling trends; you can immerse yourself in hours of tutorials, take a sneak peek into someone's life via their journal and explore complex methodologies for creating the perfect bullet journal.
Bullet journals, in which you break up the usual components of a journal into bullet point snippets, are probably the best-known of journal trends. Traditionally, you would use a blank or dotted page to freely create your own fluid agenda or layout, rather than following the fixed format of a pre-made diary. Take a brief foray into it and you will find the internet peppered with enviable pictures of gloriously decorated journals and lavishly illustrated notes, alongside sticker-decked planners and meticulous, minimalist pages.
Journal trends make their way into other aspects of life, too. Wellness journals are now favoured for keeping track of important self-care and wellbeing, as well as for gaining a deeper insight into our moods. Many parents keep pregnancy and baby journals to document this precious time in their lives, saving mementoes like hospital bands and congratulations cards within the leaves of their book.
You may also consider a career journal; inspired by the academic practice of journalling to reflect on your learning techniques, career journals help to document progress, goals and aims. Followers of this trend suggest recording your continued professional development, such as workshops and courses, to ensure you are gaining the most you can from it and to help you map the direction of your career.
Whichever type of journal appeals to you, there are a few necessary elements that make journalling a thoroughly enjoyable hobby. Firstly, the journal itself is essential; opt for a Refillable Journal with a handmade cover in burgundy saffiano leather, ideal for indulgent evenings by the fire writing down your thoughts with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. For those who enjoy travelling, our pocket-sized leather notebooks are perfect for chronicling journeys when you are on the move.
Aspinal's next recommendation is the writer's sword: a Sterling Silver and Leather Pen from our refined collection, which will serve as a reminder that the written word is an art form. Discover durable and sophisticated rollerball designs featuring exceptionally comfortable barrels, handcrafted in Germany by renowned pen makers who have been in the business since 1918.
Alongside these covetable items and some creamy-white refill pages for when your creativity is flowing, all you need is a little inspiration. Whether it is your daily musings, your culinary exploits or adventures abroad, keeping a journal honours our everyday experiences with mindfulness and gives us space to appreciate the small things in life and to reflect on how we feel.