It's Time To Get Out Of Your Head

It's Time To Get Out Of Your Head

Seven reasons why every man, woman, and child should keep a journal of some kind...


For my thirteenth birthday, my mom bought me a purple, leather journal. I remember feeling slightly insulted; I thought people only bought journals as last minute gifts when they saw them on sale for $6.99 in the Barnes and Noble's check out aisle. I thanked my mom for the gift, threw it into some messy corner of my room, and forgot about it.

A few months later, I was in the midst of my first semester at my new private high school and I hadn't developed many close friendships yet. I had a lot of thoughts and feelings that I wanted to express, but I didn't have anyone I felt comfortable fully expressing them to. Around this time, I rediscovered the leather bound journal I had discarded months before. On a whim, I began writing letters in it that I addressed in a variety of ways. Some began "Dear Mom," "Dear Aaron (my crush at the time)," or "Dear Carmen (my high school best friend)." Others opened with "Dear School," "Dear Stress," "Dear God," or "Dear Lawnmowers (I hated mowing the lawn in high school)." The journal quickly became an unfiltered outlet for me to destress and gather my thoughts. I only wrote in it when I felt inclined to, but I tried to capture moments spanning a variety of different emotions.

I continued intermittently journaling through the majority of high school and into college, sometimes going over a month without an entry. I also grew away from letter-style journaling and expanded to poetry and stream-of-consciousness writing. My writing materials also graduated from my purple leather journal to a combination of platforms: scraps of paper tucked in a blue manila folder, a series of documents saved on my laptop, and various other `journals and notebooks. Over the years, I have continued journaling in a variety of forms and I have had the opportunity to look back on my old journal entries. I have since realized how beneficial it is to preserve your emotions, memories, and/or ideas in some written form. Here are 7 ways I have grown through journaling, and 7 reasons I think you will grow too if you pick up the habit!

Journaling enhances writing skills

Journaling, particularly by hand, is a practice that many educators swear will improve writing skills. The Education Bureau of Hong Kong completed a study particularly focusing on the benefits of journaling in a second language and found that journaling not only increases language competence and improves general writing skills, but also increases students' motivation to complete writing assignments and strengthens students' confidence in their writing skills.

Journaling clears your head

Sometimes when I sit down to journal, I have some sort of rant or emotional outburst that I don't want to deliver to a person, necessarily, but I still need to express in some way. Journaling is the perfect outlet for such emotional upsurges, and I often feel refreshed and validated after writing things down.

Journaling is a great way to track your mental health

Piggybacking on point #2, having a record of exactly how you felt on a certain day is an amazing way to keep track of your mental health. It gives you the ability to look back over a period of time and accurately recall your mental health in all the different states. This defies what psychologists refer to as the Mood Congruency Effect, which refers to people's likelihood to recall memories that are consistent with the mood that they are currently in. Journaling can help you get a full perspective on how your mental health has been, regardless of how it is in one particular moment.

Journaling strengthens your ability to understand and communicate your feelings and ideas with other people

Have you ever found yourself confused about an emotion that you are feeling, unable to pinpoint the exact root of it? Stream-of-consciousness journaling can help you identify where your feelings are coming from and, therefore, start you on the path to addressing them. Journaling can also be used as a way to organize thoughts that may seem chaotic. If you have a more creative mind, your multifaceted ideas may sometimes be difficult to explain. But if you write them down, even just for yourself, it can help you organize and express those ideas in another way at a later time.

Journaling allows you to reflect on how you've changed as a person over time

One of the best aspects of journaling, in my opinion, is being able to go back and reread entries from different times in your life. This is very empowering because it gives you the opportunity to reflect on obstacles you've overcome and changes that you've made in your life. You have a physical representation of how you've grown as a person over time and that can be incredibly validating.

Journaling gives you a new perspective on your current situation or past situations

Similar to #5, I often reread old entries and laugh at myself for caring so much about things that have such little importance in the long run. I've also looked back on old entries with a new perspective and realized that I was being petty or selfish. While feelings you've documented in old entries are always valid, looking back can give you the chance to look for areas of potential self-improvement. In the same way, seeing ways that you have fallen short in the past can help you address current situations differently to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Journaling helps you remember things accurately and in detail

It is no secret that memories tend to get cloudy and even become altered over time. Having a record of what exactly happened and how it made you feel in a significant moment of your life can prevent you from creating false memories and help you recall details you may otherwise forget.

The greatest aspect of journaling is there are no limits. Journaling is a space for you to express what you want in whatever way you want, and, if you are genuine, I believe it can improve your life significantly. So, the next time you notice a sad-looking journal while standing in a check-out line, consider purchasing it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less

As any poor college student, a little kick of caffeine for less than a dollar has always sounded great to me. So, naturally, AriZona Iced Tea has been a go-to for as long as I can remember.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Just Because You're Asked To Be In A Wedding, Doesn't Always Mean You Should Say Yes

If you can't invest time, money, and YOURSELF, maybe say no to the offer for the bride's sake!

Being in a wedding is a really big commitment. I personally think if you've never been in one before, you don't understand the time, money, and energy that goes into being a part of it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less

If you're anything like me, you're probably anxious about going back to college. The uncertainty of nearly everything is stressful and makes it difficult to prepare for going back to campus. Take it one step at a time and remain calm! If nothing else, take a look at this list of six essentials for living on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic! You got this!

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

If I Unfriend You During The 2020 Election, Yes, It's Personal

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden's plans for Black America matter.

The Black Lives Matter movements have sparked widespread conversations and protests across the nation. With justice not being served for the murders of innocent Black people like Breonna Taylor and absolutely no support from President Donald Trump, this upcoming election is quite important.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments