Bullet journal, travel journal, writing journal, food journal. I bet that you have heard of some kind of journal in your lifetime, or even have a few of your own. Well, it seems now that journaling is becoming a new pastime, especially bullet journaling. I encountered it mostly during early summer when I saw a friend of mine whip out a journal while we were lounging outside, my brother’s girlfriend scribbled while my he read, and my mom started her own daily journal. I felt like I was missing out!
So, I started early summer by buying a small journal and marking up the first page with the date and some mindless doodles. I made a list of everything I wanted out of my summer. I did a couple more drawings, wrote a funny little note here, made a list there…suddenly, I was airing out my thoughts directly onto the page. I started to anticipate when I would get to write something down or do another doodle.
As the summer went on, I started to figure out why journaling was really working for me. I found that when you write down what happened you begin to process your day one event at a time. Like, if something upsetting happened, I would write it down and figure out why it bothered me. If something really upset me and I went to write about it, I would realize how little it probably was and how it shouldn’t bother me as much as it did. It’s a way of letting the bad go and remembering the good of the day.
Aside from processing my day, I found that it improved my memory and recall. Many of my professors attest to the magic of using a pen over a laptop for notes because it helps you retain information. When I write down my day, I remembered it better. My summer became more eventful and I can recall a lot of it in detail. For example, I did a lot of gardening this summer and from journaling about it I can remember the names of the plants that I grew and how they did. Trust me, I’ve always struggled with names, so this is a big deal.
One last benefit from journaling that I found was that it forced me to confront my habits. I would have to answer questions like: What time do I get up every day? What did I eat? Did I exercise? What did I do with my day? I had to ask myself these things as I wrote and I started to find the things that I regretted about my day, like the fact that for lunch I had a Klondike bar or I spent all day watching Friends. But I also found the things that I would take pride in doing, like that day that I worked out or cooked dinner for my friends.
Now, I am back at school, and I brought my journal. But I struggle getting myself to sit down and write about my day when I have spent it working in class and doing homework and other student-y things. Now, it is my school journal where I write all my random thoughts onto the page just before bed, as a way of voiding my head and being able to get a good night’s sleep.
If you haven’t tried journaling, I highly recommend it. It’s a way to make your life just a little better and you may even find something new about yourself!