Keeping a journal to free the mind

By Caitriona McMahon   @Caitriona_Mac

Smothered, claustrophobic, unable to escape, terrified, and hiding. All words one would use if like Anne Frank you too were trapped with no prospect of freedom on the horizon.

The Diary Of Anne Frank. a household book that appears on shelves near and far, tells the tale of a trapped captive in an overcrowded attic hiding from the Nazi’s for two years during World War II.

Anne poured her every thought into her journal. Wise beyond her years she named the diary or journal “Kitty”. In Kitty she confided her deepest thoughts, most of which those closest to her were unaware of until after her passing some years later.

Anne Frank, who wrote a journal to help relieve her terrible stress
Anne Frank, who wrote a journal to help relieve her terrible stress









“I can shake off everything as I write, my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn” – Anne

As we all know war leads to chaos, pain, hurt and loss. But not all war is physical or involves armies or troops. Day- after-day many face a war battling their own thoughts.

They face a type of suffering they are nervous to speak or tell another person about, a suffering buried beneath the rubble of pride.

Just like Anne, I believe having a ‘Kitty’ in your life can ease this suffering. On a weekly basis I am approached by people in emotional pain and I find myself suggesting journaling as a healthy outlet.

Writing a journal is something I too practice and have practiced in the past and in fact swear by. You see sometimes the most difficult task in the world can be articulating thoughts while trying to communicate how we feel to another person or even to ourselves. This is where ‘Kitty’ comes in. She listens, does not judge and is there for you whenever you need her like any true friend.



Anne Franks very first diary entry reads:  “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

As a tool recommended to me by my first counsellor, writing a journal is a duty I’ve carried throughout my entire journey so far and one that has never let me down.

Traditionally I had diaries for training and work but this type of journaling is different. Even though each entry may have a date it does not focus on appointments or schedules instead it’s centred around feelings, what may trigger certain emotions, upsetting events, happy events, anxieties, worries and uncertainties. It allows me to explore a world many others will never see or hear about. It’s between me and Kitty.

The art of putting pen to paper helps clear the mind as the worries vacate the mind and transfer onto paper where they can be questioned, investigated a little further to prove their validity. It is therefore used for many including myself as a coping strategy to take on the negative thought troops attacking at every opportunity.

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”- Anne

To finish I asked a friend, Jenna, about how writing a journal benefits her and she said:  “I think that journaling is a great way of visually looking at what is troubling you. You may feel that there is so much that you are having trouble with when in reality it may only be a couple of things.”

Jenna, like many others feels the many benefits of journaling on a daily basis and you can too. Costing no more than a pen and piece of paper, it’s accessible to all so, what are you waiting for?  

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