November 24, 2020

Journal for health, journal for history

It’s a proven fact — journaling is good for your health. The process of writing down your thoughts, feelings and experiences relieves stress and anxiety and wards off depression. It helps you gain a calmer perspective on life’s challenging times.

So for that reason alone it’s a great idea to keep a journal in this uncertain and strange period.

But there’s another reason journaling is such a good thing, especially now. And that has to do with documenting history.

Remember the future

Thirty or 50 years in the future, historians and researchers in many fields will be looking back on 2020 to study the coronavirus pandemic and how it affected people.

As author Katherine Sharp Landdeck points out in a Time magazine article, the journals we keep today will be of immense importance to future generations as they try to understand this unprecedented historical event.

They will have news articles and opinion pieces, transcripts of news conferences and government documents galore. They will even have access to some Tweets because the Library of Congress is archiving selected Twitter feeds. (However, Facebook chatter will be lost.)

The historical value of journals

There will be oral histories, and they will be valuable sources for historians.

But according to Landdeck, some of the richest material future historians will have will be the daily writings of ordinary folks like you and me. That’s because our journals record how we feel and reveal our hopes and personal challenges.

So by all means, keep a journal for you and you only. It is your friend at the end of a pen and will always be there when you need it. And you can destroy it at any point if you don’t want anyone else to read it.

But if you keep your journals and intend to leave them behind for posterity, remember that you are recording history. And that is an important and worthy endeavor.

[Note: Great thanks to my colleague and friend Mike Grazcyk, who shared this Time magazine article with me.]

Writing spark 

Use one or more of the following springboards in your journal:

In this time of pandemic, what I miss most __________

Yesterday, I felt _______________. Today I feel ___________. Tomorrow, I hope to feel _______________________.

The hardest part of social distancing and staying at home is ____________.

Speak Your Mind

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