Do you ever get those moments where you just have to get something off your chest, but don’t necessarily have someone to talk to? Or maybe you don’t really want to share what’s on your mind with another person, but you still need to get it out of your system ASAP. If you can relate, you probably need to journal. Here are 5 great benefits to keeping one:
- Relieve Feelings of Loneliness
When I first arrived at college, I felt a bit alone. I was away from my family and friends, and basically surrounded by strangers, so I had to find a way to express those new feelings. This is actually why I started journaling. I found it extremely helpful to just dump everything in my mind onto the pages of a book. After the first couple of times, journaling every night became a habit that I still have to this day.
- Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Journaling can actually help with managing any feelings of stress or anxiety. According to Harvard Health Publishing, writing down any negative emotions you’re having can help you to better self-regulate. Writing also helps to reduce those endless thought cycles that you might be having. When you privately express how you feel, it can also encourage more open expression with others which leads to more social support.
- Organize Your Life
Okay, maybe not your entire life, but journaling can definitely help to organize smaller sections of it. Do you have a ten page essay or a huge exam coming up? Try writing an outline for your essay or a study plan for your exam in a journal. If you’re feeling bored, try coming up with a list of new things you want to try. Making a major life decision? You can write out the pros and cons in your journal. The possibilities are many.
- Track Your Progress Over Time
Something I’ve enjoyed about having a journal is being able to look back at my past self and see how far I’ve come. Even if you haven’t made a huge amount of progress, it can still be very interesting to turn a few pages and instantly teleport back a year or two. You might be surprised about how much you’ve changed!
- Learn What You Love
Probably the best thing about having a journal is discovering new things about yourself. Writing gives you the chance to truly express who you are, and this includes the things that make you happy. If you notice yourself constantly writing positively about a certain topic, event, or even a person: that topic, event, or person might be a source of happiness for you. Or if it’s the opposite and there’s something causing you to express many negative thoughts, then that could help you identify a problem in your life. It’s all about focusing on your life and what you think of it.
Starting a journal is easy! The University of Rochester Medical Center lists various ways to start your journal journey. Try writing whatever comes to your mind, and don’t think about how to put it in a chronological order. If you feel like you’re stuck, try writing about whatever you did that day. Naturally, your mind will lead the way. Having a pen and paper nearby also helps when you suddenly have a thought (or several) that you need to jot down. You could draw how you’re feeling, save little mementos from your day, or even show your journal to others. The great part about keeping a journal is that it’s totally up to you to decide what to do with it. Happy journaling!