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A publication from Medium on personal development.


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You’ve know that journaling has great benefits. But how do you even start?

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It might surprise you that as someone who teaches journaling and recommends it so frequently, the practice used to feel hard, confusing, painful, and weird to me. I was extremely resistant to it. I couldn’t see the use of journaling; my mind was already loud and chaotic and full of thoughts racing over one another and I didn’t get the point of writing them down on paper.

I think one reason I was resistant was that I just didn’t know how to start. It seemed overwhelming. I was just supposed to pick up a pen, stare down a blank page…

With ‘Four Corners Journaling,’ there’s no fancy lingo, no obscure writing prompts, no fluff

Photo: Javier Zayas Photography/Getty Images

I’ve heard that journaling is rocket fuel for self-improvement, which is why I tried to start the habit while I was unemployed during the pandemic. One night, I brought out a small notebook and jotted down my thoughts. I will never forget what happened the next morning: I woke up in an extraordinarily good mood!

It was easy for me to journal religiously — until I started my new job. My days quickly filled up with work, chores, exercise, and writing. With less time and energy, it became difficult for me to take the time to sit and reflect. …

A case for an Anti-Gratitude Journal

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I have a little white notebook that contains every negative thought I’ve had since quarantine started. I’ve dubbed it my Anti-Gratitude Journal. The pages are filled with coronavirus sadnesses big and small: “I am afraid my mom will die;” “I am so bored today and I hate my hair.”

The exercise helps me feel less anxious but, more importantly, it’s a bulwark against forgetting the pain of this moment. I harbor a fear that I will one day romanticize the long stretch of time spent with my husband, baby, and dogs. On Instagram, my life looks idyllic, and in many…

You don’t need an off-the-charts IQ score

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Once, at a party, I was discussing 80s music with a few other people and happened to note that it was Los Angeles punk band Wall of Vodoo that sang the hit song “Mexican Radio.”

A few people stared at me, stunned. “How do you know this type of stuff?” someone asked.

This happens to me often: I’ll find myself in the middle of a conversation, a piece of information from years or even decades ago will pop into my head, and I’ll think, “This fits!” It’s a nifty party trick, sure, but it’s also much more than that.



Even if you don’t see yourself as a journaler, the habit comes with powerful benefits

An illustration of a messy desk with an empty lined journal.
An illustration of a messy desk with an empty lined journal.
Illustration: Kyle Griggs

Writing down your thoughts is a simple act with powerful effects.

Over the years, a wealth of scientific research has extolled the benefits of “expressive writing.” It has been shown to play a role in lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health and immune function, speeding up healing, strengthening memory, easing symptoms of depression, and helping with test anxiety.

Those aren’t the reasons that Dee C. Marshall, CEO of the consulting firm Diverse and Engaged LLC, has kept a journal for over a decade. Her journal, she says, is a place to capture what she calls the “juice and gems” of…


A publication from Medium on personal development.

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