I started audio journaling in May 2016. It happened spontaneously and quickly became a habit. I’ve kept paper and laptop diaries for most of my life, and still do. But using voice is different. In this post I share how I do it and why I love it. But first, a quick ‘how-to’…
What is audio journaling?
Synonymous with a ‘voice journal’ or ‘voice diary’. Or ‘audio journalling’, if you’re British. For me, it looks like this:
- Simply pressing ‘record’ and ‘stop’ on the voice recorder app included on my smartphone.
- Recording my voice for around 5-15 minutes.
- Frequency varies between daily and fortnightly. Any time of the day.
- If life gets intense I may journal twice per day.
- Sometimes I listen to past entries. Periodically I back them up. Largely I just record.
Voice diary apps are available, though I haven’t tried any. I imagine they’re useful if you seek to combine with monitoring diet, exercise regime, breathing, heartrate etc. Or if you care particularly about security or quality.
5 reasons I love it
1. Resting my eyes
Like many people in today’s world, my eyes and fingers are used excessively. They need a break. I’m an avid fan of listening to podcasts, videos and audiobooks. Voice journaling flowed on from this. While I love writing, by the end of a long day I’m aching to stop typing and swiping. Whereas I can journal with my eyes shut. And sometimes do.
2. No filter
I don’t journal to document my day. I do it to connect with myself, process feelings and reflect deeply. I’m a fan of ‘free-writing’ – abandoning grammar, spelling and the idea that anyone else will ever read it. (Check out the ‘morning pages’, a creativity exercise from The Artists Way). In my experience, voice recording can make it even easier to journal from the heart and stop engaging my inner critic/censor/editor.
3. Freedom to move
Walking and talking was a massive win for me. Even in my most hectic, stressful times, I could still find a few minutes while walking to the office or travelling between meetings. If feeling self-conscious I even talked into my phone as if on a call. Physical movement seems to increase the flow of thoughts and feelings. I can also voice record while cooking, or even bathing.
4. Witnessing myself
Being ‘witnessed’ by others can be a transformative experience. I find audio journaling offers similar benefits. Voicing my feelings and thoughts helps the reality of the situation to ‘land’ on a deeper level. I admit to myself that I’m anxious, in love, excited, indifferent, tired, sad or whatever. Speaking ‘my truth’ is a powerful tool – even if I’m the only one to hear it.
5. Noticing change
Generally I just record without listening back. But when I do, it’s an amazing mirror for me. I notice the words I use. How my voice changes in different topics or situations. I’ve also noticed changes over time, not just in my words, but in my speech and tone. Even the pace of my footsteps in the background. Recordings from my darkest, most challenging times, continue to fuel my appetite for self-care. It’s moving and motivating.
If you try it, I hope it serves you well.