Journaling has always been one of my favorite hobbies. I’ve kept a journal since I was in elementary school, writing little notes or doodling on the pages, which eventually turned into accounts of my day or my week as I got older. I’ve always loved going to stores and looking through the assortment of journals, choosing one that has a cute design and lots of pages. It’s become something I look forward to after filling the one I’d been using.
I started consistently journaling towards the end of middle school as an emotional outlet. It turned into a place to vent, complain, or even mope and keep certain thoughts to myself. It can feel nice to vent to another person, but sometimes you don’t want to reveal too much or feel like you’re burdening others with your feelings. Talking with others can also lead to advice or feedback, but sometimes you don’t actually want any advice or feedback, which is why journaling is so helpful. Putting the words to the paper can get things off your chest without having to deal with any unwanted advice (whether it’s helpful or not). Journals can be the canvas to which you paint all of your emotions.
Photo courtesy of Essentialiving on Unsplash
Keeping a journal can be a way to cherish memories. I often find myself reading past entries and reminiscing. And while it’s important to remember to not dwell too much on the past, it’s nice to keep track of positive memories that can bring you back to an eventful moment in life. Journals are also a judgment-free zone! You can contemplate, doubt, fear, worry, overreact, but no one will ever see it! Of course, unless you want them to.
The most important part about journaling to me is that it’s a great stress reliever. Anytime I’m feeling particularly bothered by a situation, I take time to write about it and how it made me feel. By doing this, I can assess how I’m feeling after and see if it’s still bothering me, or how serious the situation truly is. I find that a lot of times I’m just being dramatic, but writing it out is a great way to get it off my chest. It feels cathartic in a way because it can help release bottled up or repressed emotions. Writing about stuff that’s bothering you and revisiting them later can serve as a method of preemptive problem-solving. For example, if you’re upset at someone, you can write it in your journal. While reading through it, think to yourself, “Was I overreacting? Was it right to feel that way?” Writing about it helps you get your thoughts together before possibly confronting someone else with them.
Studies have even shown that stress relief is a scientifically proven health benefit of journaling. Other benefits include the decrease of “symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions”, improvement of cognitive functioning, and strengthening of immune system response (Scott, MS).
If you do already keep a journal, keep at it! And if you don’t, I hope this inspires you to try it out. You may find that the benefits are boundless.