College is f’ing crazy. That’s about all I have to say about my college experience thus far. I have never experienced the highs and lows I have felt in college. The good times are damn good. Some amazing memories have been made, but oh my goodness, those lows…those lows are something ungodly. You know the lows I’m referring to, that dreadful stress that flows through your body at the slightest mention of the words “midterms” or “finals.” Hell, for me I know the words “your paper is due next week” is the worst.
Personally, I never stressed through high school. I was always out with friends and never home and I was oh so happy, cracking jokes and making everyone laugh. Then college happened, and I asked myself a question I never thought I’d ask myself… “did I peak in high school?”
Granted, I sound super overdramatic right about now, but to be fair, I am a very overdramatic person anyways. That being said, I thought I’d never see the end of my freshman year. Here I am though, 50-some-odd days away from summer and I’m still not sure how I got through the stress and anxiety that college has thrown my way. But somehow we are all doing it and doing it well, so props to us college students!
Between conquering homesickness and battling exams, I forgot to take a step back and breathe in some joy. Now, I can’t say that I wasn’t told to take a step back and breathe because I most definitely was told to, but stubborn me couldn’t admit that I didn’t know how to. That’s when I kept hearing about gratitude journals. Coincidence? I think not.
Mainly I heard about gratitude journals through HerCampus articles, but I had also started hearing about them through some friends and seeing them in stores. That’s when it happened: I found my first gratitude journal hidden under some other books in the Francesca’s on Newbury Street, the title: “Okay Fine, I’m Grateful!” Now, if you know me, you know that that sentence is totally something that would come out of my mouth, so I just had to buy the journal.
The first day I wrote in it was October 22, 2017, which seems like a lifetime and a different person ago. When I started writing in the journal, I did it at night to recount the events that happened during the day. It was always the small things that I wrote down; laughing at a really good joke, walking by the river, taking a nap, and the inevitable countdown till I got to go home were recurring sentences each day.
This particular journal also happens to have brightly colored quotes on the page opposite the one you write on and I absolutely love quotes, so having a new quote to read each day is comforting. After a while, I began to write in the journal when I woke up instead of before bed. This became a little bit more difficult because it forced me to think harder about the smaller things that made me happy.
Starting a Gratitude Journal helped me realize that the smaller the thing is that makes you happier, the more impact it has on your day. Allowing yourself 10 minutes to write down good things really puts things into perspective and you start to find happiness in things that you never would’ve thought to think twice about.
I know college is a damn good time, but when it just isn’t a good time, don’t forget that there are still good things happening. Gratitude Journals are the best way to think deeply about yourself and how you are doing.
Cover photo via Awesome Inc.