Why You Should Be Journaling If You’re Unhappy

A tool which has made it easier to cultivate joy in myself

Kaki Okumura

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It started with some advice from my scary grandmother

Journaling is a practice I have adopted to help shape the way I interpret my reality, and frame my psychology to find joy and peace in times of dullness or melancholy. But before I delve into the details, let me share with you my story on why I value and treasure this practice.

My grandmother, Ayako, is among the most positive, strong, and independent people I know. She’s an incredibly strict woman, who I used to be terrified of, but as I grew older I’ve come to respect and value the wisdom she instilled in me at a young age.

My parents chose to raise my siblings and I in America, so we only visited her in Japan during the summer. I looked forward to seeing my grandmother, but she was also every small child’s nightmare. She would make us do chores, practice reading and writing in Japanese, and be active from early in the morning.

But one of my favorite activities we did together was wake up really early in the morning when my siblings and I were still jet-lagged from our travels, and walk through the empty streets of Tokyo to the pond in Ueno. We would count the number of stray cats we found that morning on our way to the park, go on the swings, watch the turtles, say hi to the early-rising bakers and tofu shokunins, and eat clementines as we watched the sun rise over the pond.

One particular morning, as we prepared to go on our ritualistic morning walk, I asked my grandmother if we could buy ice cream on the way back. It was getting hot, and we hadn’t had sweets in a long time so I felt that I could test my luck. She said no, chastised me for wanting to eat ice cream before breakfast, and then commented on how unhealthy it was. It stung hard.

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Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱