"I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." -Anne Frank
Jotting down a daily or weekly mood diary is an amazing way to make sense of our experiences in life. Mood diaries help us because they offer us catharsis, a way to keep track, and an ability to detach from our woes and tribulations. Both Anne Frank in Holland during World War II, and recently Malala in Pakistan, used diaries to help in their own tumultuous young lives. In the case of Anne Frank, her diary became the record of her life events. Malala used her diary to reflect on the life-shattering violence she witnessed. I recommend that you keep your own daily or weekly mood diary because it offers a space of mental retreat and reflection - even from the most turbulent life events.
In tragic dramas, catharsis is the release of pent up emotion which propels the plot forward. You can experience the same release in your own daily life when you write a mood diary. Your daily or weekly writing let’s out the stored emotions, and helps you observing personal events from a distant perspective.
Most of the time when we feel low we can’t always point to the precise reason. By describing the events in your life over time you can begin to identify events or patterns that lead to your drop in feeling. This is when the real problem begins. A mood diary allows you to turn your feelings turn into words, and they become tangible entity. This is the stage where we could easily solve problems.
Keeping Track of Feelings
Feelings and mood swings often have a specific pattern of occurrence, but we fail to notice them because we are immersed in the emotions. The result is that the same triggers keep bothering us, and we just can’t help it. Writing them down helps you in keeping track of the negative and positive feelings. This data would help you in analysing when you feel high and low and what makes you feel so. You can also look back at your diary over time and smile upon any happy events in the diary.
Detach From Events
Your mood diary helps you detach from events. Writing a diary makes you a narrator, and you can observe your life from a novel perspective. This objective view puts you in a better position to analyse the situation.
When you write your mood diary find a quiet time and space away from other people. Sit down with a cup of tea and begin to reflect on the day or week's events. Remember that you don't need to write a lot - a sentence, a paragraph, a page. Just the process itself helps you detach. You will also find that putting your thoughts and feelings on paper allows your mind more space for the future.
Inspiration: The Anne Frank & Malala Diaries
Both Anne Frank and Malala Yousafzai used their own diaries to reflect on events in their own lives. Anne wrote her diary during the Nazi regime in Holland, and it helped her in passing time during immense persecution. Her diary now stands as an echo of her life and is used for inspirational quotes. You can read Anne Frank's diary and about her life at the following link: The Diary of Anne Frank - From the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam.
Malala’s heartfelt diary for BBC Urdu is the most recent famous example of how a diary was used to get through horrible times. Malala Yousafzai wrote a diary blog during the Taliban atrocities in the Swat region of Pakistan. She narrated her diary from a child’s eye and how her life as a girl was affected by the violence. Her diary conveys her inspirational story to the whole world. She also received the Nobel Peace Prize for her her outspoken observations she recorded in her daily diary. Here is a link to more information about Malala and her diary: Malala's Diary on BBC Radio 4.
Your Own Mood Diary - Find a Space to Write
Whenever we talk about a a diary, the image of leather bound, exotic diary and quill pen comes to mind. Your diary can be simple - just a spiral notebook, bits of paper, your cell phone, or note cards - whatever you can find to write on. It would be great if you could keep a little notebook with you. Or, the technology addicted among us could scribble notes into our phone or tablet as well. Keep your diary private and safe. By keeping it private you can talk about whatever you want. Just take a few minutes a day or each week to reflect.
I hope you find your own catharsis and monitor your mood and life events by keeping your own mood diary!