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Why You Should Be Journaling

Everyone has been talking about how good it is for you to journal, but they never talk about how difficult it is to actually commit. We’ve all started that brand-new journal and bought all the fancy pens to write out our thoughts every night, full of good intentions. But I know I’ve always gotten about five days into it and given up because I don’t have enough thoughts to write down, or I lose the motivation. So, to combat the inevitable end of journaling in store for all of us, here is a list of benefits to journaling and tips for staying on track!

  1. Journaling helps you remember how you felt at a point in time.

I never realized how much can be learned from looking back at the way you felt even three weeks in the past. We grow and change so much, and often times I feel in the moment like something is the absolute end of the world, and just a few weeks later I can’t even remember why I was so upset. Having records of those moments and being able to see how you grow will keep you moving forward with your life, and encourage you to consider your perspective and how it changes. You can learn the most about yourself through the way you thought and the way that shifts over time (you’re much more resilient that you think you are!).

    2. Journaling helps you realize what you really think.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve found that often times talking through a situation or writing it out helps me realize how I really feel about it. In fact, sometimes something that may cause stress or seem like a roadblock in your life could quickly become an anecdote in your journal that you move past in only a few minutes. Taking the time to write how you feel about things helps you find perspective in a way that your mind will not without the effort of using a pen and paper.

    3. Don’t put pressure on yourself!

It is far too ambitious to expect yourself to journal every day and to try to do it will only burn you out. Instead, make goals to write a few days a week. Not only will this be easier to commit to, but it will also give you more events and thoughts to consider when journaling rather than wracking your brain for something interesting to write about from every day.

    4. Make a list of things you want to work through and use them when you get stuck.

There are always those topics that come up here and there that we think about fleetingly, like “Do shake weights really work?” or “Penguins are so faithful to each other.” But there are also deeper things that we think about from time to time that are a little scary to think about for too long, like what we want to do with our lives (the college mantra). These are the perfect things to add to a list in the front of your journal and turn to when you need inspiration or something to write about. Add your favorite songs and write out the lyrics, write your own songs, write poetry, or just talk about why your favorite season is your favorite. There does not have to be any rhyme or reason to your journal, it’s YOURS!

    5. Writing is therapeutic.

Journaling does wonders for anxiety because it helps make sense out of the things we worry about. Not only does it take the jumbled-up thoughts racing around in our heads, it also takes attention and keeps our minds occupied. It is hard to worry about the things going on around you when you’re writing, so whenever you feel overwhelmed with your life journaling can be the perfect solution (and it helps you find the answers you need, too).

Augustana Contributor 
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