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// At SUNY Geneseo

Benefits Of Journaling

With an actual pen and paper!

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We are constantly surrounded by social media -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. As a result, we are continuously updated about people's lives. Before even getting out of bed in the morning, you are already fully aware of what your uncle ate for breakfast and that your co-worker spilled coffee on his lap while driving to work. That's because people openly tell us these details on their social media pages. Sometimes, I feel like we know too much about the individuals we follow based on what they are willing to share. I'm curious to know what goes through a person's mind when they post a personal status. I have definitely been guilty of this, so I decided to scroll through my Twitter and find a tweet that fits this example. This particular tweet was written on January 30, 2014. It says the following:

Why did I post this and what was I hoping to get out of it? Ideally, probably some favorites, retweets and like 100 more followers. Realistically, I was being a moody teen, and I wanted validation from other people. During this time, it was my last year of high school. I was probably doing homework that I didn't feel like doing and I was feeling particularly deep that day. I thought other people would relate. By looking at my friend's comment, it's apparent that I didn't get the reaction I was hoping for. But, honestly, who cares? Clearly, nobody did. Which is why I believe that thoughts such as this don't belong on social media, but rather in a journal.

This leads to the main point of this article -- benefits of journaling. I came across a Buzzfeed video that featured four people participating in journaling for a month. According to the video, journaling is believed to help people with their emotions and improve mental health. Each individual had a different experience while writing. Some didn't know where to start, some didn't know when to stop. Some found it leisurely, while others found it to be a chore. Regardless of your pre-conceived notions about journaling, you should at least consider some of the positive aspects of this activity.

The great thing about journaling is you can write whatever you want. There are no limits or boundaries in terms of what you can and cannot write. Secondly, you can write without judgment or criticism from others because the only one seeing it is you. Thirdly, it frees your mind. I recently started a journal and I find it to be very freeing to write down everything that has gone on in my day or in my mind. It feels like I completely emptied my brain onto a piece of paper. Journaling can also be very relaxing. You can be lying on your bed or sitting outside, play some music and just let the pen do the rest. The greatest thing about journaling is that it encompasses your true, authentic self. It's completely raw, which is what I love about it. That's what is missing in a lot of social media -- authenticity. In a journal, there are no filters, no edits. It's just you, a pen and a notebook.

In the past, I've attempted journaling, but would only manage to write a couple of entries before giving up. The reason being, I was writing for my future self. I felt the need to describe every person or place in great detail, so that when I would look back to read it, I would know who or what I was talking about. After a while, it got tiring. The goal to keep in mind when you are journaling is to write for your current self. Write down names and places that are impacting you in the moment. Sure, you might not remember what you were talking about five years from now, but it shouldn't matter because the point is to write how you feel right now.

Whether you believe journaling is for you or not, the important thing to remember is that it is another way to slow down in this fast-paced world. It's a time where you can relax and reflect on your life in a completely uncensored, unapologetic way, which is worth more than any amount of retweets.

Current Sophomore Communication major at SUNY Geneseo. I enjoy singing in the shower and in every random place imaginable (concert tour TBA). Bilingual in English and sarcasm.

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