The Healing Power of Journalling with Renyung Ho

Renyung Ho

VP, Brand HQ, Banyan Tree

Bynd Artisan: Everyone who journals, journals in their own unique way. What is your way, and when did you start journalling? 

Renyung Ho: Much of my early journalling was around reflection and questioning.

It was a powerful tool for me to develop an inner voice and cultivate my own wisdom, a place of expression that was a mirror and anchor to create my own garden of being. Now, much of my journalling centers around gratitude, intention setting and visioning.

 I write mostly in the evenings, when the world is quiet. Sometimes it’s freestyle, sometimes it’s a mind map around certain words that are the beginning buds of emergent thoughts, other times it’s a consolidating of principles for future action. 

BA: When did you start?

RH: I had my first journal at the age of six, when my mum gifted me a hardcover notebook that had a little lock and key on it. It was so precious to me, and I felt like it was an extension of my soul.

BA: How often do you journal?

RH: Even with today’s mobile-first ways of living, I still find written, analog journalling a nourishing practice. I use the mobile app of Evernote for quick daily reflections, to capture the day’s wins. I believe a lot in celebrating the ordinary, and keeping conscious the small things that add up to our great ambitions. Once in a few weeks I’ll write in my journal, which is a more emotional journey between past, present and future. Once a year, at the cusp of a new year, I write a letter to my future self that imagines what has come to pass. So on 31 December 2020, I’ll write a letter to myself from 31 December 2021 about the year and how I’ve acted and felt across that passage of time.

BA: How has it helped and benefitted you in your mental and emotional wellbeing, and in your healing?

RH: I can’t imagine a life without journalling. In this digital age, it’s like a practice of creation that is accessible to everyone. The language we choose to speak and write is a direct reflection of the ecosystem of our thoughts and ensuing behavior. At this point in my life, and with the state of uncertainty in today’s world, I find this an anchoring practice to flex the concept of a growth mindset — the notion that we are continually evolving, learning, and that it’s not about finding yourself but about choosing who we want to be, how we want to act, and why.

Putting thought to paper is like consulting my inner compass, and reading my past entries is akin to navigating a map. It’s a practice of exploration and discovery in one.

(Photos courtesy of interviewees.)

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