What's the most secure way to keep a private journal?

Some Ideas to Keep Your Diary Safe

1. Start each journal with a blank page or a page that indicates your desire for the journal to not be read.

2. Use abbreviations or shorthand when you need to. If you are writing about a particularly negative situation or thought, use first initials or code words to portray the people involved.

3. Keep your journal on your personal computer, if that works for you. You might want to get in the habit of reading the journal through at the end of each year and recording the insights you get from such a process and then deleting the diary file itself. For active journal entries (ie. the present year’s diary) password protect the file on your PC so no one can access it but you.

4. If you don’t like to journal via the computer, you can still get rid of the journal or the year’s journal pages (through some method of destruction) after each year if that makes you feel more comfortable. Just make sure you go through it to get out the good stuff before you do so. You can even delete/shred the journal pages on a more frequently basis: monthly, perhaps.

Of course, if you do this, you’ll miss out on the insights you could gain from reading your journal years down the road. This can be a really beneficial part of the journaling process because you can see how much you have grown and changed. That said, it’s a process I don’t recommend, but if it is the only way you feel comfortable journaling, it might be worth it to you.

5. Keep in mind that your journal is recording your emotional truth, as it is at the time at which you are writing it. If something were to happen to you and your closest loved ones read your journal, they would likely see a portrait of you. We all have these dark thoughts and dark times. If someone who loves you were to read it, it might create even a deeper intimacy between you. Another thing to keep in mind: your journal may be much more positive than you think. Go back and read your journal as though through someone else’s eyes. How do you feel about the person that your journal portrays? We often think that so much of our journal is negative when that is often not the case.

6. Use your fear about your journal being read to gain insight into where you might not be acting completely authentically in your relationships. If you are terrified that your best friend would someday read your journal, ask yourself if there is something about your relationship with your best friend that isn’t being said. Could your relationship with her improve if you showed more of your true feelings?

Nothing makes the journaling process totally secure, but you want to make sure you are comfortable enough with your own level of privacy (and your own system for guaranteeing that privacy) that you continue to journal.

About the Author: Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com, a website devoted to helping busy moms find balance. She also shares coupons and deals on her favorite things, from women’s athletic apparel to Amazon’s wireless reading device.

Journal to understand your failures

Journaling your failures is just as important as journaling your successes.

First, we can learn from our failures. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Writing down your failures and learning from them keeps us from going crazy and making the same mistakes over and over.

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Second, understanding that you are faliable is an important thing. We all can’t be amazing and awesome every second of every day. Understanding that you can and will fail keeps you level-headed and realistic. It also gives your permission to makes mistakes every once in a while without being extremely hard on yourself.

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The Benefits of Keeping a Diary

There are many benefits to keeping a diary. Probably the three main ones are:

  • Keeping a diary has been shown to be good for your mental health

    The reason is thought to be because it allows you to process your experiences safely, and review particular events in a less stressful way. Writing your personal story appears to play a part in this, and it seems to be important to focus on both thoughts and feelings, and not just feelings.

  • Keeping a diary helps to improve your writing

    The best way to get better at anything is to practise. Writing a diary allows you to focus on your writing without worrying about your audience or what anyone else will think. And doing it regularly helps to improve your thinking processes, and can even help you become more creative in how you think.

  • Keeping a diary can help you to remember events and activities

    This can be important for a number of reasons. For example, when you are applying for a job, you often have to describe times when you have demonstrated a skill, or done something particularly well. A diary or journal can be a good way to record your successes, and ensure that you have a ready source of examples for job applications. It can also be a way to reflect on your experiences, and learn for the future. Writing about positive events, and looking back on them, can also be a good way to boost your self-esteem.

You may also be interested in our pages on Reflective Practice and Personal Development.

Paper or Electronic?

Back in the 1980s, Adrian Mole did not have a computer or smartphone on which to blog. His (fictional) diary was paper-based for a reason: it had to be.

Nowadays, there is much more choice.

There is a huge range of electronic options as well as the traditional paper-based route. You could, for example, use a diary app such as Penzu, which claims to take security very seriously, try a note-taking app like Google Keep, or just record your thoughts in a Word document stored on your laptop or in the cloud. You could even go ‘open’ and keep a blog, sharing your thoughts with the world, and not just your diary.

All these options have merits. Diary apps are right there on your phone, and quick and easy to access. They are also private. Electronic back-ups in the cloud should mean that even losing your device does not mean that you have lost your diary.

Using word-processing software gives you the option to craft your thoughts more carefully, and to go back and change them later. This could be both an advantage and disadvantage: an advantage because you can refine your thinking, and a disadvantage, because it will not show you your raw thinking when you look back, and may encourage you to spend more time than you really need on your journal.

A paper-based diary may be old-fashioned, but it is also completely private. You can hide it away at home, and nobody need ever suspect that you write it. Writing things down long-hand can also be useful practice in ordering your thoughts in advance, which is good if you will ever have to sit written exams.

1. Out of sight, out of mind

My default response as an adult has been to keep my current journal tucked away in my bag. Most of the time, keeping your journal out of visual reach prevents roaming eyes. I consider this my “keep the honest people out” method, like locking car doors.

I believe in setting people up for success. No matter how much they love you, your friends and family may be tempted to snoop if you make it easy for them. It’s human nature. Help them honor your trust by putting your journal away.

How to write a daily journal – techniques to consider

Journals can come in many forms, with a growing number of techniques gaining popularity and giving the whole practice a new lease of life.

Chief among them is the Bullet Journal. This is a concept that utilizes short, single sentences and a series of symbols to identify tasks that need to be done, notes on things you need to remember and events that you have occurred since you last wrote in your diary. This process is aimed at clearing your mind of distractions, as well as blending traditional diary taking with everyday to-do lists, putting productivity to the forefront.

For those reticent about writing down their feelings, one sentence journals are a strong option. This is as easy as it sounds. At the end of each day, simply write down one sentence about what has happened and how you feel.

Pioneered in the early 1990s, Morning Pages has become a cornerstone of the journal writing scene. This technique requires journal writers to put down three pages of stream of consciousness shortly after they’ve woken up, the idea being that the brain is less constrained by intrusive thoughts at this time of day. Julia Cameron, who developed this concept, says that pushing yourself to write three pages will reveal breakthroughs and help you explore problems in a way that a few short sentences cannot.

The joy of keeping a journal means that it isn’t just about writing lines of text, though. Expressive writing can also involve sketches, doodles and symbols, all valid ways to show a creative approach and get feelings, thoughts and ideas onto the page.

3. Kayaking

Kayaking is ideal for all those people who like relaxing and spending their spare time alone, or anyone looking for solitude. If you are one of those individuals, and you have never done this, it is time to give it a shot. The good news is that basic kayaking skills can be learned within a day, and from then on, you are good to go.

Of course first, you need to acquire all the necessary equipment. The convenient thing about this sport is that you don’t need to travel far just to reach a river or stream (this a good option of course), but you can also do it in channels running through your town or city. When it comes to physicality, the upper body will do all the work, and you will see significant increases in strength and cardiovascular endurance. What’s not to love here?

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How journaling makes you feel

There’s a large body of evidence showing that keeping a journal can improve mental wellbeing. 2005 research by Cambridge University showed that those suffering with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress could ease the effects by writing down how they feel, thereby reducing stress. Researchers suggest that such writing should be conducted regularly and in a private space where intrusions are unlikely. Further research found journals to be helpful in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy too, a key tool for those struggling with their mental health.

As well as having tangible mental benefits, journaling has also been shown to have positive physical effects too. Researchers at the University of Arizona discovered that writing a journal lowers heart rate and helps develop better heart rate variability, a key sign of good health. There are even studies showing that a journal can strengthen immunity.

Create a “boring” cover for your journal

One woman we spoke to uses spiral notebooks to create all of her journals. An accountant, she simply wrote the title Tax Laws for the state of Nevada, or Tax Laws for the state of Pennsylvaniaon the front of each of her journals, and as such was able to leave them out on her desk or a table without anyone ever bothering to investigate further.

 

Another person told us he simply marked his journal with the word “Insurance”, joking that since virtually no one finds the topic of insurance interesting,  he never worries about his privacy being invaded.  While having a notebook filled with tax law or insurance may not make sense in your particular case, this is an area where it can be fun to get creative.

Use a journaling app

In the age of smartphone, personal computers, and laptops, many people simply keep an online journal. Not only is it easily accessible, there are many ways to make your files secure and as such, away from prying eyes.   However, even for individuals who have their own computer, tablet, or smartphone, you may still want a little extra sense of security for your most private thoughts.

 

There is an app for everything, and journaling is no exception.  In fact, there are some amazing apps out there that will make everyone want to give electronic journaling a try, from experienced diary writers to total newbies. Best of all, almost all of them come with extra security measures, such as locks, codes, or fingerprint identifiers. We asked regular diary writers which apps they liked the best, not only for writing, but also for security purposes.  Here is what we found.

 

Android Phones/Tablets:

  • Diary ++ – Diary ++ has it all! It is an easy to use application where you can write freely, taking as much space as you need, plus include pictures in your journal.  It also has a mood chart, where you can easily track your emotional health, as well as write your thoughts.  The app is organized by date, and they make it very easy to access old entries, pictures and mood charts, allowing you to track progress through experiences, or hard times.

 

In terms of security, Diary ++ has several options.  You can select from a passcode, fingerprint option, or a drawn lock pattern.  This app also has an “intruder feature” that will snap a picture of anyone who is attempting to get into the diary app inappropriately, ensuring that your information is truly safe and secure. Diary ++ can be found in the Google Play Store and has both a free and premium paid version.

 

  • Journey: (Diary, Journal) – This is a wonderful journal/diary app that gives Android users so much more. In addition to providing a space for free format journaling and pictures, the app also includes what they call “integrated coaching”. This feature includes daily inspirational quotes, a daily gratitude log to help develop more positive thinking, and a special “love and relationship” section with guided tools to help work through love and relationship issues that may be causing difficulty in your life

 

In terms of security, Journey: Diary, Journal allows for passcode or fingerprint security. It is available online via desktop app, android smartphone or tablet app, or via the web. You can have access to this app from nearly anywhere, and it offers secured privacy via the web and desktop app as well. It can be found in the Google Play Store and has both a free and premium paid version.

 

  • Offline Diary –For those who want a simple, clean diary app without all the bells and whistles, yet still want the added security of electronic storage, Offline Diary is the way to go. It offers a clean, easy to use space to simply type your thoughts freely, allowing you to save the entries right on your device.  It is a minimalist experience for those who are more inclined toward the traditional handwritten diary, yet in electronic format with a secure password lock system. It can be found in the Google Play Store and has both a free and premium paid version.

iPhone/iOS system

  • Day One– Day One is a popular journaling app that allows you to integrate your words, pictures, and even weather and location data right into your daily entries. It has a beautiful design, is easy to use, and perfectly syncs up with Mac, iPhones, and tablets, to give users a seamless experience between devices when necessary. Day One also offers the unique opportunity to keep different, color coded journals, in case you want a separate journal to track work goals, romantic life, and other information.

 

In terms of security, for hand-held devices, it provides face recognition identification or touch ID identification, and for Macbook versions, all the data is encrypted for your personal security.  You can find both a free and paid premium version in the Apple Store.

 

  • Moleskine Journey– This is a journaling app that combines your calendar data, reminders, and notes; combining them with free form journaling options, food diary, and a section to create and track personal goals. This app is best for electronically savvy individuals who already utilize calendar and notes apps.

 

The app has a ton of information and may be slightly daunting to those who may want a simple uncomplicated freeform journal style app.  However, for anyone wanting one safe and secure place to keep all their information, goals, diet data, and calendar, this app truly can’t be beat.

 

In terms of security, touch ID and facial recognition, as well as a passcode style lock ensures that your information remains secure.  The app is free, but Moleskine offers monthly plans to use some of their premium services. The app can be found in the Apple app store

 

  • OnePAD Pocket Notebook – This is the iOS minimalist version of an online journal. Similar to the Android Offline Diary, this app skips the bells and whistles and just gives you a clean slate to comfortably share your intimate thoughts and feelings.  It provides the security of a password or touch recognition so you can be comfortable that your data is secure. The app is $0.99 with no additional fees to unlock premium services. The app is available in the Apple app store.

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