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The Power of Journaling

I have a million thoughts a day, minimum. Am I the only one who feels like their mind goes a mile a minute?  

For a while, I’ve given power to my thoughts, both the good and the bad. I found that when I gave a lot of focus to all that ran through my head I was exhausted, saddened, overwhelmed, and lost. With all the stimuli bouncing around in my mind, I found myself in a rut. What do I do with all these feelings?

The beauty of this awareness came from a practice I developed for myself. That is, instead of giving power to my thoughts, I gave power to journaling. 

How I Journal

Now the way I journal isn’t your “Dear Diary, Johnny looked at me today” sort of thing. Dear Johnny, sorry, but this isn’t about you. I have three steps when it comes to journaling: brain dumping, observational analysis, and gratitude. They’re pretty simple.  

fountain pen on a letter
Alvaro Serrano

1. Write whatever comes to mind. This is the brain dump. Whatever I think is whatever I write. Most times I write about how I’m feeling in the moment, what happened during the day, what’s bothering me, etc. During this time I write without any hesitation–I don’t hold back. Whatever I’m scared to write, I write that. Whatever makes me the most upset, I write that. It’s taken me some time to get to this point of being completely honest with myself, but it’s helped me develop a better intrapersonal relationship.  

2. Take a step back to observe my thoughts. Sometimes the thoughts we have are irrational. Other times we can notice patterns in our thoughts, or how certain events change our perception of things. After I write freely, I read it back as if I’m an outside observer. This helps put things in perspective for me.

Me: *worries about a thing*

Observer me: *realizes the thing isn’t that bad*

3. Gratitude. I list all the things I’m grateful for each day. Every day I try to write things that are specific and that I truly feel grateful for. For example, “Today I’m grateful for the laugh I shared with that random girl when I pushed the entrance door of the Nexus building instead of pulled. Today I’m grateful for my best friend, and the vent-session we just had”.

The Lalagirl Smiling Holding Journal
Her Campus

I am now the biggest advocate for journaling. Everyone should do it! If I could, I would throw journals at people for them to write in. You get a journal, you get a journal! Yes, I am the Oprah of journaling.

This practice has helped me learn more about myself in ways I never knew I could. There’s a lot of power in being able to freely express yourself, and in being honest with yourself. The practice has also helped me become more gentle with myself, which I think we could all do a little bit more of. If you’re ever feeling lost or anything of the sort, pick up a pen and paper. You might just find yourself there.


Valencia Saint-Louis is a Senior at Adelphi University, majoring in Communications with a concentration in Media Studies. She is passionate about living well, supporting and motivating others, being an active leader, and educating others through entertainment. Building effective teams, promoting helpful resources and services, and creating meaningful content are essential pillars of Valencia's professional vision. 
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