You can give vent to any feeling with this immovable, non-judgemental friend and be sure it will be kept a secret

Dear diary,

I know with the advent of online diaries it might seem like you are a dying breed, but there is something so therapeutic when it comes to picking up a pen and inking my thoughts on you.

Why visit diary land?

You’ve had a rough day, a tiny hiccup in your office or irrational anger on burning the dal in your kitchen leaves you feeling like you’re a magnet of problems. Your spouse might invent a silly reason to fight or your best friend doesn’t meet you for coffee — all these are fleeting thoughts which you might not want to harbour or discuss with anyone. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a confidant waiting in the privacy of your bedroom ready to take in all your concerns? You can whine and give vent to any feeling with this immovable, non-judgemental friend, and be sure it will always be kept a secret. This friend is your diary dearest.

Sometimes it feels stupid to voice out every thought of being lonely, confused or morose, so when you write it down, it feels like a heavy burden has been taken off your mind. Lamenting on a loved one’s death, or regretful feelings, when inscribed on paper, lessen the intensity of the issue momentarily. Your diary won’t raise eyebrows because you gobbled that extra piece of pastry in the party. However diary writing isn’t always recording your affair with sadness. You can write on the kindness of your street’s chaiwallah, or on the inspiration and learning from the ted speaker you heard last night. You can be random and not pretend to be someone you are not.

Benefits of journaling

Psychologists say the ‘Bridget Jones effect’ of voicing your feelings helps your brain overcome emotional upsets making you happier. Latest research indicates that expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts on negative events and improves your working memory. Similarly, reports of depressive symptoms, rumination, and general worry record a drop in the weeks and months after writing on emotional upheavals. Ashna Lahoty, a Delhi-based psychologist, shares, “Diary writing helps in the release of emotions, the catharsis, which, for any individual, is critically important.”

Experts say diary writing is a valuable tool for understanding yourself and helps you unwind. Getsy Jenita, a religious diarist says, “I feel life’s happenings are best captured when documented in words, especially when they are crafted by the person who lived it and that’s the blessing of keeping a diary.” It fills you with optimism and makes you have an excited approach to life. Diary keeping might also encourage you to embark on unique experiences, as you might want something juicier to write on.

What intimidates

Many people like the idea of being a diarist, but find writing intimidating. Newsflash: You need not be a seasoned writer to do so. Do away the pressure of writing in flowery language and write only for yourself. To make things easier you could write your good memories in one colour and your sad ones in another.

Online diaries

If you are scared at the sight of your own handwriting, ‘My-diary.org’ and ‘Penzu’, among online diaries, are your best bet. Your secret inner persona is protected by the privacy settings, plus you can access it even while having cocktails in Maldives. Rohini Manohar shares, “I have an E-journal and I write when my head is swirling with thoughts, my heart filled with emotions, a time when all that can be done is put words down. It’s not mandatory or methodical — it’s just an outlet to an overflowing cup and I just let it flow.”

If frequent recording feels too outlandish and vague, you could also opt for an a) Inspirational b) Travel c) Quotes d) Introspective or e) A dreams diary to record these particular moods. Diary writing is cathartic and an affirmation that you have lived and not just existed with your share of hopes, fears, dreams, wrong doings, chaos, sereneness, anger and love.

A diary feels like the camera of your life that accurately captures a moment frozen in time. It can be your muted BFF (Best Friend Forever) whom you can fondly visit with your grandkids someday — if you so choose, or a memoir you keep just for your own eyes!