What I've Learned from Journaling Every Day

For my poetry class this semester, one of the assignments was to write in a journal every week day. Over the course of this semester, I’ve written 65 entries (and counting). I like to think I’ve learned a few things about myself while doing this project. I really recommend doing this for anyone who has time. It usually takes me 5-10 minutes a day, and it’s so worth it.

I dwell on things a lot longer than necessary.

It becomes really clear just how much I like to rehash bad memories over and over again when I have a whole stretch of entries about one thing. And some of those things are really old, from years and years ago. Obviously, that’s not an easy thing to fix, but it’s something to keep in mind. Having that visual of pages and pages about the same thing has been a wake-up call.

I don’t tell people how I feel.

Okay, any of my friends could probably have told me this. But as I look back through my entries, there’s a lot of feelings and not a whole lot of disclosure. That is something I need to work on. And like the previous item, the visual was really striking.

My academics are my life, but that’s not a bad thing.

I have a lot of entries about stressing about one assignment or another. But I also have a lot of entries with a lot of excitement over something. I am working on my senior research project right now, and it’s been amazing to immerse myself in something that I care about so much. My other classes have been really great too. Despite the occasional stress, it’s really nice to look back over the semester and see so much passion.

I am lonelier than I thought I was.

I have a lot of friends, but only about two people I can actually talk to. I don’t think I really thought about that until now. It reminds me of high school. I wonder if that is just who I am? The type of person who can form casual relationships but who rarely lets people in deeper than that. Is that the person I am okay with being? Or should I work on trusting people more? I don’t know.

I actually have a lot of good days.

The thing that struck me the most as I looked back at my entries is just how many included lines about feeling happy. These past two semesters have been my best, mental health wise, and I knew that, but I don’t think I knew just how good they were. It feels really good to look back and see all the good things that I’ve been happy about over these past few months.

I am honestly amazed at how positive this assignment has ended up being for me. I was wary at first – journaling has always been something I did for me, and I worried that it would lose its allure if I was required to do it for class. But to the contrary, it’s proved an incredibly valuable experience for me and I’m so thankful that it was something I made myself do. These little chunks of time I spend each day writing serves the purpose of what I think mediation is supposed to do but has never done for me. It’s a time just for me. I can reflect on my day, wander philosophically about whatever, rant about something that’s irritating me, or whatever I want. And if it’s something that you have time to do, I highly recommend it.