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Your Guide To Journaling For Self-Reflection

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.

Three things that brought me joy today: the sunny weather, getting lunch with a friend, and reading a chapter of a good book. Even on the busiest, most stressful of days, it’s important to recognize the things that keep us going. As a college student always on the go, an easy way to check in with yourself is to set aside some time in your day to journal. 

Journaling is a great way to reflect on your experiences and recognize areas for self-improvement. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about an aspect of your life, journaling can help you realize what you’re passionate about and can lead you to make positive changes for yourself. This self-reflection is also a great tool to recognize your strengths and weaknesses (whether it be personal, academic, or professional) and create goals for yourself based on those qualities. 

There’s no right way to journal, but I will share a few tips if you are new to the process. I recommend designating a specific journal or notebook for your entries, as this will make it easier to look back on your experiences and track any growth you may have. If you’re someone who has a busy schedule, it might be helpful to designate a specific time (whether that’s daily or weekly) for journaling. Be sure to journal at a time when you’re in a calm state of mind, like in the morning before the day starts, or before you go to bed. As you write, be open and uncensored so that you can reflect on your true feelings and recognize changes throughout your entries. If you’re unsure what to write about, you can start with some of these prompts! 

For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: 

When do you feel most calm? Think about moments in your life when you have felt most at peace. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? Consider how you can implement your response to this question into your current life. 

What area of your life do you wish you could focus more on? Reflect on why this area of your life is important to you. Are there obstacles that are preventing you from focusing on this area? You may want to rearrange your priorities or set boundaries to help you focus more on what is important to you. 

For Reflection and Gratitude: 

What is something I am proud of? Identify an accomplishment in your life – it can be anything, whether big or small! Assess the journey you took to reach that accomplishment. What was difficult, and how did you overcome it? You may realize that you have grown in a particular area of your life. 

What are three things that brought joy to my day? This is a great prompt to use at any time. Picking out the best three things from a great day can help you reflect on what you value and what you are passionate about. If you had a rough day, thinking of three good things that happened creates a mindset of gratitude and allows you to recognize what is truly important in your life. 

Hopefully, these tips and prompts will help you on your journey of self-reflection. As you continue to journal, you may find that you like to repeat prompts to measure your growth, or you may want to explore different prompts. The more you write, the better you will get to know yourself! 

Hi, I'm Kaitlyn! I'm a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying Communication. I'm hoping to pursue a career in marketing or public relations! In my free time, I love to cook, read, make art and do yoga. I'm really passionate about mental wellness and self-care.