I’m sure every single one of you reading this have journaled at least once in your life. Whether you viewed it as a “diary” a “journal” or maybe even a “scrapbook,” journaling is something that I view as a very important part of my life and I find it essential in keeping a level head and storing memories to reflect on in my future years. I’ve been journaling (or diary-ing–is that even a word? doesn’t sound nearly as cool…) since elementary school, as most kids do. I picked it back up my freshman year of high school with rather funny intentions that my friends and myself find kinda amusing now. Now, I journal for the reasons I plan on writing about to you all today in hopes to spread the popularity of journaling in order to help you live a better life.
Reason Number One You Should Journal:
It’s a huuuuuuge stress relief.
Okay, so most people know this already. It’s kind of a “duh” fact when speaking about any kind of writing or artistic release in general. Have a bad day? Instead of coming home and griping about how much your life sucks, spare your roommate’s time and just write about it quietly in your journal. You’d be so amazed at how much better you feel when you’re done. With that said, it’s okay to complain to a human being sometimes, but you don’t need to complain every single time you have a sucky day.
On the same note, if something is going on in your life that is causing you a lot of emotional stress, writing about it can be a great way to come to terms with everything happening.
Reason Number Two You Should Journal:
It’s pretty much free therapy.
I saw a therapist on-and-off for a number of years and, while it did help me a lot, I’m sure it strained my parents’ wallets quite a bit. In most situations, simply writing about things happening to you in your life and work almost as well as discussing it confidentially with a professional. The perks? It costs a lot less. It allows you to organize and rationalize your thoughts and thought patterns which is pretty much the point of therapy, which leads me to my next three points.
Reason Number Three You Should Journal:
It allows you to organize your thoughts.
Whether they’re good or bad thoughts, simply writing down what’s going on in your life gives you a visual that–to me–is better than simply speaking them out loud. You are able to vividly see what is happening and, with that, come to terms with situations or problems you may be encountering. It can also help you prioritize any events going on, allowing you to deal with stress better.
Reason Number Four You Should Journal:
It also helps you rationalize your thoughts.
This, to me, is significantly more important than the organization of thoughts (gasp!). Sometimes, when you’re not in your right mind, taking the time to write down exactly what you’re thinking can help you realize how irrational your thoughts currently are. This will allow you to come to terms with yourself much more easily than just pitying your life and situations. This also works as a problem-solving tool which will allow you to look back at your thought and behavior patterns during specific situations and help you to resolve your reactions in order to better yourself as a person.
Reason Number Five You Should Journal:
You learn from your mistakes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a journal from your pre-teen years or if you’re reading an entry from a couple months ago, reading about your former problems and how you solved them can give you a great overlook on how you deal with stress and other factors in your life. Taking time to look over your old writing will allow you the opportunity to not only see how much you’ve changed as a human being, but also give you more room to grow mentally and emotionally.
Reason Number Six You Should Journal:
You can find your inner artist!!!
Given I’m pretty artistic myself (I won best girl artist in my fifth grade class–insert hair flip–), I’ve found new abilities since I began using journaling to fuel my artistic abilities. Not only have I learned to love poetry, but I’ve learned that I love writing it. Sometimes if I’m really stressed or upset, instead of writing a long entry about it, I’ll just jot down some emotion-filled, teenage-angsty poetry. I’ve also enjoyed sketching (or allowing others to draw) in my journal in order to preserve my thoughts and ideas for the future. I find myself planning out future blog posts or writing down ideas for writing projects I want to work on in my journal as well. Whatever the use, journals work very well in providing you with an artistic getaway that only requires a pen and some imagination.
Reason Number Seven You Should Journal:
In the past year, I’ve begun using my journal for different things other than just writing (see my previous point), including stashing things away in it. I like to save my favorite cards or notes from friends, sometimes I steal stickers or flyers off of lamp posts in downtown, and I include pictures and other memorable items I run across that I deem important enough to include in my sacred book. My goal is to make my journal as fat as I possibly can and so far I’m achieving that. Either way, saving mementoes from my travels or adventures out with friends and stashing them away with a little note jotted down about their significance is a great way to reminisce in the future about what I had going on at one point in my life and remember in an eclectic sort of way my past self.
Whatever you choose to use a journal for, I highly suggest picking up the habit of writing in one at least weekly. If these past seven tips didn’t encourage you, let me know and I’ll write seven more, because I will obviously do anything to convince you to journal.