How Journaling Can Change Your Life

I’ve been journaling for basically my entire life. When I was 8 years old, my mom got me a journal that I could use to “manage my emotions.” This might sound sort of condescending, but I promise, it was not. It was actually one of the most important pieces of direction I’ve ever received. At first, I couldn’t write too intelligently, but as time progressed, I began to create a concrete account of my life as I knew it, and now I can look back on my memories of the past eleven years with a fine-tooth comb. I can check out not only what I was doing, but how I was feeling and what I was thinking about on December 20th 2010, or May 11th 2014 if I want. But having a map of your memories is only one of the reasons why everybody should try journaling.

Journaling helps halt the urge to overshare. We live in an age where lots of people turn to social media to hash out their innermost drama, and that’s okay if that’s what you feel is best. Everyone has a different level of how candid they want to be. But with the creation of the “finsta” lots of people are trying to find more private places on the internet to share more personal things. There are anonymous blogs, ambiguous facebook posts, and of course, the finsta. But journaling can be just like that, but without the task of omission of details that are too gritty, or the worry that the wrong person might see it. Journaling is just like that anonymous corner of the internet, but much safer. 

Journaling can also help halt the urge to overshare in daily life. Journaling once a day can get out some pent-up feelings in order to avoid pushing them onto others or letting them bubble up inside. It can help with mindfulness, and just becoming a more positive and emotionally healthy person. My mom wasn’t kidding when she said it helped to manage your emotions.

Another way that Journaling has improved my life is helping me hone in on my writing skills. Nothing has to be perfect, since it’s for your eyes only. So, let your mind run wild! In the process, you’ll probably discover a more unique voice and get used to composing solid pieces of writing (if you choose to write long form). Even if it only helps you get a little better at drafting company emails or filling out your lab reports, that’s still something.

Journaling can also lend some quality self-care time. And the beauty is, it doesn’t have to take a long time! Often, people have this vision of journaling where the person in question sits for hours as they pour their heart out, page after page. And while that might feel good to Mina Harker, everyone is different! You can write one sentence each day, or even one word if that’s what feels right. You can set a timer for five minutes each day, or maybe journal as a reflection at the end of the week if you don’t want to put the time aside on a daily basis. All you have to do is get into the groove of it. The point of journaling is to make yourself feel good and improve your life, so crack open that fresh new notebook (or word document on your computer) and spend a couple minutes with yourself! It might just be worth your while.

-Jamie Kahn

Ashley Hengerer