Categories
Food for Thought

It’s Never Too Late To Start Journaling

WRITTEN BY: ALEJANDRO ALAYA SCHMITT


I was first introduced to journaling about 12 years ago when I was working for the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City, Utah by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, best known as the Mormons.

My experience journaling isn’t extensive. I started journaling just a bit, here and there, not very often. In the past, I was more used to pondering on important things and sometimes speaking to myself about my own thoughts and feelings, as a reflection of what I have done and haven’t done yet, or perhaps, how good or bad the experience was, according to my perspective or paradigms at that moment.

Then, recently I found JoClub because I watched an interesting and very entertaining series on Netflix, “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals” where I met Jo Franco, Megan Batoon and Luis D. Ortiz, who are the hosts of the show. After that, I was curious about them and started Googling. I found out more about each of them and found the awesome JoClub project about journaling.

Once I started journaling, it became more familiar to me as I did it more often. For those that visit the JoClub website for the first time, they may don’t know about journaling.

That is why I’ve included a definition here that I found online about journaling as follows:

“Now it’s called journaling. It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.”

And let me tell you more… I believe journaling is so much more than this! How many times do we take things we have or experience for granted? 

How about a journal specifically to give thanks for what we have, experience, and feel every day. Being grateful or thankful is one of the reasons many of us dedicate time to write down in our journals. 

Another good idea to keep those thoughts, feelings and experiences could be a desire to help others to achieve a better life or understanding that can become a book that can reach or help hundreds or thousands of lives… A legacy.

Another example can be a testimony about the benefits of journaling, like the one I found in an article by Hayley Phelan, titled: “What’s All This About Journaling?”. These benefits of journaling are scientifically sound and proven. I’ll just mention one of them because I’m sure you will be more interested in reading the whole article: “Writing in a journal can lead to better sleep”.

Wow, that is amazing! 

Again, here is something else that we may take for granted:

Many of us are able to sleep well, but think about someone that does not, and struggles every night to go to sleep. Think of the many young or elderly men or women that are not able to do so because of their age or health.

She mentioned this in her article and that is very true: “One of the more effective acts of self-care is also, happily, one of the cheapest.”

Well, I hope you enjoyed this article, remember: Journaling is a very powerful way to care for ourselves, become better every step of the way, and help others achieve their greatest potential, as we care for them, as well. It is never too late to get started. 🙂


Alejandro was born Mexico City and was raised in Chihuahua State since he was 7 years old. He was the former IT Manager at the Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City, Utah, but now he currently works as a Customer Service Advisor at a Retirement Government Institution. At the moment, he is working on his first book about Type 1 Diabetes in order to share his personal journey to help others. He has been a Type 1 diabetic since age 12.

He joined JoClub to connect with like-minded peers to develop his writing skills by journaling.

Connect with him via email.


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Testimonials

The JoClub Community Speaks

JoClub is a community of journalers bold enough to share their thoughts with the world. Our membership is for anyone who wants to make lifelong connections with other people who want to dive into self-improvement, mental clarity, and journaling for life.


Here’s what some of our members have to say:

“Being a part of JoClub has given me more insight into how effective incorporating journaling is. In result, we have evolved into an international community in which I am so grateful to be a part of.”

-Mary Bell

“I’ve been journaling for most of my life –  it’s something that anchors me and always brings me back to my center. 

So, by joining JoClub, I get that same grounding experience, but times 20 (or the number of members at each meeting)! What never ceases to amaze me is the depth to which we go each session, and how our unique inputs enrich each other. 

It’s been the coolest experience to be a part of such a wonderful international community where we grow and evolve together.”

-Rita

“Being a part of JoClub has been so dope. It’s allowed me to journal in a different way. I felt really stuck in my writing. I was less frequent in my journaling but using the prompts and being a part of the group has helped me be more accountable. Which has allowed me to go deeper with myself. I am so happy I found JoClub!”

-Mariah

“When I first joined JoClub, I wanted to build my journaling habit and possibly meet like-minded people. Our Discord group gives us the opportunity to interact on a daily basis and foster these global friendships. The connection among us, particularly as we grow, continuously becomes more and more gratifying. Our dynamic remains unmatchable.”

-Maryse


Don’t forget to grab your copy of
The Global Journal – Issue 2.

JoClub members came together around the world to create a new monthly digital magazine where JoClub members share the insides of their journal entries, insights and passions, leaving you inspired, and connecting you to the community.

PS: By joining JoClub, you don’t only get access to the magazine, but have the opportunity to help create it!


Join JoClub here.

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Categories
Food for Thought

Here’s Why You Should Keep A Journal

WRITTEN BY: MARYSE S. MARIUS


Writing in a journal can lead to a plethora of benefits. In essence, journaling helps with clarity and organization.

People start journaling for different reasons. These reasons can be personal, professional, or a mix of the two.

To list some, journaling can help you:

  • Take care of your mental health
  • Track your personal development
  • Alleviate stress
  • Manage anxiety
  • Cope with depression
  • Improve your writing skills
  • Build and track personal habits and achieve your goals

And more.


If you don’t journal, here are 3 of the BEST things about journaling:
(which will hopefully inspire you to start today!)

1. You can start RIGHT NOW.

You don’t need anything fancy to start.

If you want to keep an analog journal, all you need is an empty book (notebook, journal, scrapbook) and your writing tool of choice! (a pen, pencil, fountain pen- if you’re a bit fancier).

If you want to keep a digital journal, open up your writing tool of choice! (Apple’s Notes/Pages app, Microsoft Word, Google Document, Scrivener, Ulysses … you choose!)

2. There are NO RULES.

Journal as you see fit. Your journal is yours and you’re in charge.

Did you miss a day? No worries!
Writing daily is too overwhelming? Try weekly!
Tired of lined pages? Experiment with dots, grids, or blank sheets!

Remember, there is no right or wrong approach to journaling.

3. The results can be instant.

E.g. If you decide to journal for mental clarity:

When you do a brain dump and take everything that’s occupying space in your brain and put it on paper, you’re going to feel less overwhelmed.

E.g. If you decide to journal to cope with depression:

When we write and then re-read your entry, you have the opportunity to take a step back and process the information either through a different lens or from a completely different perspective.

This can help you be more aware: it can allow you to identify triggers, patterns, and even solutions.


How some JoClub members use their journals:


“I use writing as an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and memories. Because otherwise, I’m usually a very highly stressed person, running from one place to another, to another, and not really reflecting upon things. I would often journal in moments of crisis when it all became too much.”


“I started journaling during the pandemic. I needed an outlet for all of my thoughts and feelings as writing them down always helped. It was so important for me to write down my feelings and thoughts, otherwise, I don’t think I could’ve coped with a lot of things.”


“As someone who has a difficult time remembering a lot of my life, I thought it’d be good to document everything I was feeling whilst I and most of the world was going through one of the toughest times we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes. Committing to 5-10 minutes a day to journal during one of the toughest times in my life enabled me to process everything I was feeling. So many of my highlights from the last year have come about because of journaling and I’m so grateful.”


Tip: Find a journaling buddy and start together!
We don’t have to do things alone.


Maryse S. Marius is a creative non-fiction writer documenting her life experiences in words. She was born and raised in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 🏝, and loves learning languages.
Connect with her on Instagram: @MaryseSMarius


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Testimonials

The Sweetness of Shared Privacy

I have always felt that journaling is a very personal thing, and to be honest, before joining this Journaling Club, the idea of sharing didn’t quite convince me. 

If I had finally found a space where I was beginning to understand my ideas, why expose myself again to feel those barriers that often limit my words?

Yet I did it, and here I am! After several months in which I have read the words of people from all over the world and they have read mine, I only have one thing to say: YES! Breaking into that privacy is totally worth it. 

So, what would I say to that version of me who was hesitant to open up and share? 

I’d say: Just do it! 

In JoClub, you will hear such heartfelt, expressive entries that will, unknowingly, help you subtly and lovingly to see the world with new eyes. 

Yes, I know, saying out loud what you think is scary, but when you realise that more people identify with it and even expand your vision, you feel amazing and less alone. 

You will find people from all over the world that, despite having very different backgrounds, different ages and being in different stages of life, we have something in common: the interest in our personal development and having a better life experience, while we use words as the vehicle for our souls to express themselves. 

So I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every member of the club- thank you for sharing a little piece of yourselves, for your always refreshing, profound and valuable words. Thank you for being you, for having that view of the world and thank you because together we continue to move forward on the path of being better versions of ourselves and having a better life experience from now on. 

Love, Bren.


Brenda is a medical writer and language learning enthusiast. She is madly in love with journaling, and she works on achieving her dream of becoming a polyglot content creator.

Connect with her on Instagram and find her blog here.


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Categories
Journal

How Journaling In A Foreign Language Can Help

Learning a foreign language can be overwhelming. At school, we are taught in a very traditional way- using grammar books and vocabulary lists. Many people often give up before finding a method that works for them. For some, it may be using apps, for others, it could be falling in love. For the journaling enthusiast, it could actually be journaling.

When we journal in a foreign language, it’s like taking a magical path to achieve your goals- whatever they may be. You can get better in the language that you’re learning and you can even use journaling as a tool to start working on and/or prioritize your mental health.


Here are the experiences of two JoClub members.
They both speak 4 languages each.


MARYSE

A big part of my everyday life, at the moment, is languages. I’m in love with their power.

I’m a native English speaker and teacher.

I speak French at an advanced level, Italian at an intermediate level (still learning, of course!), and I’m currently a beginner in Portuguese (Brazilian, yes).

When I was studying for my DELF B2 exam a couple of years ago, I needed a way to practice writing. It wasn’t about getting the spellings correct, or asking and answering simple questions, such as those via text. It was about sounding complete, elegant and comme une française. So I started looking for ways to do this.

Light bulb moment. 💡
Yes, journaling.

I began writing everything in French. I journaled about my days, particularly those which were more dynamic, as I would need to learn new words and expressions to speak about these new, exciting things.

Journaling in a foreign language helped me realize that I could also write many other things in this language- grocery lists, to-do lists and weekly goals, for example.

Whenever a student wants to improve their writing skills, I advise them to write a daily detailed to-do list. The tasks are usually everyday, common things.

When I say this, I’m not referring to writing “clean the house”. I advise them to write like this: 

“I’m going to clean the house today. I will start with the kitchen, then I will clean the living room. After that, I will eat. When I’m done with my lunch, I will resume my cleaning by cleaning all the windows.”

You catch my drift.

This is simple, and allows you to routinely study the same vocabulary (while improving) and learn how to speak well about your life.

As I journaled, my French writing was significantly improved and refined with each entry.

Whenever I decided to journal in English, it felt too normal, nondescript and uninteresting.


BRENDA

For some years now, writing has become a door to know me: to express what my voice often does not dare to say out loud and to understand what I feel and what I am.

It’s the key to be open with myself.

Page after page, I began to feel deeply comfortable using the magical, expressive, full and usually “noisy” words in Spanish, my mother tongue. They help me fill the spaces that life may have.

But one day, I discovered journaling in English, and I realized that unlike when I learned to speak as a baby, this time I had more power. It was possible to choose how I would tell my own story.

A language that is not yet very connected to your soul and your mind allows you to choose the adjectives you use to describe your life and yourself more carefully.

I feel like the verbs let me act with more freedom, while gestures and expressions allow me to see that there are different ways to be me, to be myself.

I’m still working on the “English version” of myself. I love knowing that I can learn and choose how to tell my story because that adds magic and emotion to what I already am and know. 

It reminds me that, here and now, I can be connected with me, with versions of me I don’t know yet, and in the end, reminds me that I’m connecting with the whole of humanity… the humanity that I am part of.


Don’t let foreign languages scare you away. With journaling, we can offset the pressure of grammar rules and structures and be reminded that the main objective of language learning is to express yourself and be part of a community.

Be free with the use of words and enjoy the process.


Maryse S. Marius is a creative non-fiction writer documenting her life experiences in words. She was born and raised in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 🏝, and loves learning languages.
Connect with her on Instagram: @MaryseSMarius

Brenda is a medical writer and language learning enthusiast. She is madly in love with journaling, and she works on achieving her dream of becoming a polyglot content creator.

Connect with her on Instagram and find her blog here.


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Testimonials

Journaling: A Journey To Self-Confidence


Acknowledging that I struggle with self-esteem was ironically, a hit to my self-esteem.

I’d somehow convinced myself that I was a confident person who didn’t care about what other people thought of me, well, for the most part at least. What I discovered through journaling was that I deeply cared. I was terrified of failure and the rejection that I believed would soon follow. 

The truth is, sometimes I feel like my words aren’t worthy of being written down or said. Like if they’re not eloquent enough then I shouldn’t share them. And so, I listen. And at this point it’s so ingrained in me that sometimes people are surprised I have strong opinions about things. I’m always considered the quiet one, even though the commentary in my mind is anything but. A lot of the time I’m too busy worrying about saying the wrong thing and feeling like I’ve failed somehow. It wasn’t until I forced myself to write every day for a full year that I began to feel comfortable with sharing vulnerable truths not only to myself, but with people on the other side of the world. 

I think journaling gave me the permission I needed that I couldn’t give myself. It provided me with a way to speak without needing to be asked or heard. I was thinking about things I hadn’t considered before, and I was being honest because I had finally allowed myself to be. I got used to listening to myself and became more confident in sharing my thoughts with others in JoClub sessions, as I came to understand their value.

I’d love to say that I’m now this super confident person who doesn’t care about what other people think of her. The truth is, I’m still struggling with it. In theory and on paper I don’t care but in my personal life, it’s been difficult to follow through on the sentiment. It feels hypocritical in a way, valuing authenticity but not being brave enough to live it fully. What I do know though is that I am now committed to this journey of helping myself get to that point, and I know that journaling will have a big part in that.


Noa is a recent uni graduate currently trying to figure out what to do with her life. In her spare time she can be found starting new craft projects instead of finishing the ones she’s already started, watching too much tv or writing.
Connect with Noa here: @writingsbynoa_


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Testimonials

How Joining a Journal Club Changed My Life

Contributed by JoClub Member: MARYSE S. MARIUS


I’m 21 and I love writing with a pen.

I wouldn’t say that I was always a journaler, but I did have my moments. My mom always tried to motivate me to keep a daily account of my life. She did back then, and still does now. She always made sure I had an empty agenda book, or two (pre- headed with the dates), but trust me, I always had the pens. She always said it doesn’t have to be a lot of writing, just write the most important things from each day. She would regularly give me prompts and hints to get started. I did my best but I always met the next year with an almost perfectly unused agenda. I knew that I’d love to have a routine, but it was difficult.

I joined JoClub to build my journaling habit and meet like-minded people. I mean after all these years, I needed a push, right? As an introvert, this was already a big step for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Jo launched the Instagram page, this was pretty cool. Using her words, “This account will take you inside of strangers’ journal entries from around the world.”

Such an adventure! How can you say no?

31 May, 2020. First session. I was completely sold.
18 July, 2020. Membership. I found my community.

JoClub hosts 2 Zoom sessions per month. With each session, we all learn a little bit more about each other through our journal entries and discussions. These moments allow us to be more introspective and to dig deep. We have journal seminars, journal slams, Bring Your Own Prompt events, Plus One events, and even member- co-hosted journaling sessions! These all include live journaling and journal entry readings.

In addition to all this good stuff, we have our Discord group! It gives us the opportunity to interact on a daily basis and foster these global friendships. We have a variety of channels: #thecoffeeshop, #reading-list, #love-to-love, #prompt- suggestions, and more.

To make sure we stay on track with our journaling, say hello to our daily emails with the prompt of the day and food for thought, accompanied by song recommendations.

The connection among us, particularly as we grow, continuously becomes more and more gratifying. Our dynamic remains unmatchable.
With JoClub, when we open up, we can either find our global twins, or sometimes, we find comfort in discovering that we’re not alone.

The JoClub family is love.


Maryse S. Marius is a creative non-fiction writer documenting her life experiences in words. She was born and raised in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 🏝, and loves learning languages.
Connect with her on Instagram: @MaryseSMarius


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Food for Thought

Journaling Has Called You. Heed The Call!

WRITTEN BY: BRENDA SANDOVAL


“I’m not pretentious. I write for myself, to sometimes feel my soul speaking, singing, and sometimes crying.”
Clarice Lispector, Brasilian writer


Writing is one of the abilities that differentiate humankind from animals, and we should be proud of how much this capacity has evolved since the first cuneiform script system until today. 

However, despite the fact that all humans started learning this skill at a very young age, merely as an academic requirement, there are some people who are lucky enough to connect with writing on a deeper level and have the chance to discover that it’s actually a living and powerful force.

I’m pretty sure that you, the journaler, are one of them. So, this is a brief message for you.


Did we choose it, or were we chosen?

We may never know.

While some writers and journalers started out on an instinct, others have had to look for years to finally discover that this was how their souls express themselves.

Despite your situation, it is fundamental that you identify what your “why” is:

Are you writing to bring your new projects to life?
To express your inner thoughts?
To help yourself evolve through new perspectives?
Or, perhaps, to practice a new language?   


Take a page from the brilliant journalers’ minds.

After having identified your “why”, it’s time to see it through.

You need to start to be consistent until you finally reach your maximum potential.

Many brilliant historical minds have already done it, for example: Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein started using their journals to record all their new ideas and they ended up changing the world. Frida Khalo, painter, and Clarice Lispector, writer, preferred to use them to explore and understand themselves, and they created incredible art.

Follow the brilliant historical minds who journaled.

You and your writing can bring a great contribution to the world! 


Honour your gift by sharing it.

If you feel this connection with writing, then keep doing it and little by little, you will discover all the wonders that this gift can give to you.

Take care of it as it takes care of you.

That is the best way to honour it.


Brenda is a medical writer and language learning enthusiast. She is madly in love with journaling, and she works on achieving her dream of becoming a polyglot content creator.

Connect with her on Instagram and find her blog here.


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Testimonials

I Joined JoClub at 3AM.

Contributed by JoClub Member: LEA SEEG


JoClub has been on my Instagram feed for quite a while before I decided to take a step further and see what it’s about. I have been following Jo for a while, mainly because of her polyglot content. When I was going through a rough time last year, I felt the need to let go of some thoughts, and writing them down was always something I unconsciously came back to. 

So, one sleepless night at 3 am I saw a post about JoClub, and I thought to myself: “Why is Jo so passionate about journaling? Should I do it more regularly?”

So I clicked and signed up. And it’s one of the best decisions I made in the last year. 

First of all, journaling in general. Are you kidding me? Taking a moment every day to reflect on what is happening around me or inside me did so much for my mental health, and also for the relationship I have with myself. Writing brings closure for me. Closure with thoughts I don’t know where to put or how to deal with usually. Thoughts I don’t want to share with anyone else other than myself. It almost feels like having an insightful and deep conversation with yourself. 

Apart from helping me to find peace in stressful moments, it also helped me find inspiration for creative projects I have been wanting to start. It encouraged me to just keep writing and writing until I started liking the things I put out. 

Second of all, the members. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? It’s such a lovely community of like-minded people from around the globe. In this club, everything I could ask for is coming together. Everyone is so open, lovely, and willing to discover new things. The amount of support I’ve witnessed in both the discord group and the sessions warms my heart and makes me smile just thinking about it.  

I don’t want to miss JoClub, as cheesy as it sounds, but it became a stable part of my routine over the last couple of months.


Lea Seeg is a creative and comedy writer from Germany currently living in the Netherlands. On her Instagram account (@Leansdayaddams) or in her meme/comedy newsletter, she does what she’s most passionate about, entertaining people.
Sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hu9Ys5
Or read more of her stuff here: https://leaymary.medium.com/


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Food for Thought

Journaling: The Mental Health MVP During the Pandemic

Written by: MARYSE S. MARIUS
Quotations from: JoClub Members 💕


“I was struggling a lot with anxiety during the pandemic and journaling helped with keeping this under control.”

Life is overwhelming, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing less than a lot. Whether you turn on your TV, switch on the radio, tap your phone or pick up the newspaper, it’s there. COVID-19 stories are constantly surrounding us, whether we like it or not.
Learning to manage stress and cope with anxiety will make you more resilient. Journaling can help. Dr. Tiffany N. Brown, clinical psychologist, explains that “journaling helps you gain a better understanding and improve regulation of your emotions.”


“I just want to write down my experiences and see how I handled myself during the pandemic. Then one day I want to read it 10 or 20 years from now.”

Journaling during this pandemic is recording history through your own lens and being able to save and share your experiences and stories. When we revisit old entries, we enter an emotional journey. We don’t know what exactly to expect, but we can anticipate an engrossing, intriguing, amusing and entertaining journey. Our words on these pages give us the opportunity to relive and reflect on past events.

We often wish that we’d written more.

This experience could be like visiting an old friend. We have memories of who we were at the time.

Remember: Our previous journals are not a reflection of our present selves.


“The thing with the pandemic is that I have had the time to reflect more and consider where I am and where I’m going. It’s definitely impacted the way I journal: what I write about and how I write about it.”

We’re able to find meaning in things that have been or become unclear when we journal. We see new perspectives. Defining our experiences and situations in pen allows us to enter into a reflective state, and get clarity.

Free therapy. Grab it.


“The feeling of uncertainty was everywhere and I felt like journaling was something I could control at this time. I was able to commit to something that I knew would stay with me forever.”

Journaling doesn’t need a special, write-only-this structure. You’re able to create your own safe space to express your feelings. There’s no need to worry about making errors or making it pretty.

Journals keep the order when the world is in disarray.


“When COVID hit, I resorted to the one thing that’s always brought me peace and sanity: journaling.”

Writing in a journal creates a safe place for us to open up with ourselves. It can be difficult or uncomfortable at first to lay it all out there in ink. However, writing down our concerns helps us process them and deal with them.

It’s self-care.


Journaling is enjoyable and simple to start (little preparation) with loads of benefits. Since you’re reading this, you’ve already taken a step further to journaling.

If you haven’t as yet, start today:
(Tips from Jo Franco)

1. Buy yourself a journal that’s going to inspire you to write.
2. Maybe even get yourself a fancy new pen.
3. Always put the date on the page.
4. Write down where you are.
5. Start writing about your present moment.
6. Get out in public (if you can) and journal.
7. Number your pages.
8. Create your writing ritual.
9. Write titles to your pages to keep track of what you’re writing about.
10. If you don’t know what to write about, ask yourself: How are you?
11. BONUS:  Join JoClub. 😉



Maryse S. Marius is a creative non-fiction writer documenting her life experiences in words. She was born and raised in Saint Lucia 🇱🇨 🏝, and loves learning languages.
Connect with her on Instagram: @MaryseSMarius


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