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I was five when I got my first journal. It was pink, blue, and yellow with drawings of seashells on the front, protected by a small lock on the side that assured me my secrets would be kept safe. I didn’t write in it religiously, but it stayed with me from kindergarten to seventh grade. Whenever I read through it I’m reminded of how intense my emotions felt in the moment. It lets me remember a part of my past that can’t be captured through a picture or saved memory. 

Taking Root

I picked journaling back up my sophomore year of high school. My English teacher assigned us to keep a journal for a week and I was reminded of how therapeutic it was. I didn’t incorporate it into my nightly routine until a couple months later, but once I established it I couldn’t stop. For a little over four years, I have journaled pretty much every night before bed. Journaling has allowed me to become more comfortable and cognizant of my emotions, while letting me explore what topics, people, and experiences have shaped my life. 

How I Journal

Journaling has mostly been a stress-free activity for me, but I can understand how it may seem like a daunting task if you are unfamiliar with it. I have three journals in my repertoire, this is by no means necessary, but I love journaling. I have two nighttime journals and one daytime journal.

My nighttime journals consist of one 8×10 “general” journal and one 5×7 gratitude journal. In my general nighttime journal, I start by ranking my day (very good, good, ok, eh, bad, etc.) and then just start writing about what happened. Some days I have more to say than others, but I really just use it to brain-dump before bed. After I write what I want in that, I switch to my gratitude journal. I hate using the word gratitude, but I think it’s the best description for it. I write down the specific events in the day that made me happy. A lot of the time it will consist of seeing a certain cloud, hanging out with a friend, talking with my family, cleaning my room. I used to only write one thing a day, but now I write as many as I can think of. It helps me find something positive, even if the day was no fun. Not to harp on toxic positivity, but training myself to find at least one thing I liked about my day is nice. 

My third journal is a daytime one. If I feel like writing something during the day, I take this journal with me. It, too, is 5×7 so it can fit into coat pockets and tote bags without being intrusive. I have a variety of stuff in there: plans for conversations I want to have, poems, fleeting thoughts. There are no limits on what I can write in it, and it feels more freeform than my other two journals. 

Get Comfortable 

If you’re not used to writing down your thoughts and emotions, journaling can be really weird; it was for me at first. Yet, once I got over the initial hump, I realized how relieving it was to be able to put what was happening in my brain on paper. Whenever one of my friends comes to me for advice on a big issue I always ask if they’ve ever journaled about it. They probably hate me for it, and I know I sound like a mom, but journaling has been a constant comfort in my life the past few years. It has allowed me to gain a new and necessary perspective on many topics in my life. I really encourage you to just start writing. Go on a walk, sit on your bed, and just start moving your pencil. Now. Go. Do it. Goodbye.

Hey, I'm Libby and I write cool articles. Take a gander and learn some new facts.
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