Almost everyone has experienced a moment in their life where they bottle up their feelings to the point of explosion. If not, they at least know what the tension of holding things in feels like. Yes, there are people to vent to, but eventually, they get tired of the negative talk and begin to ignore the rants and pleas for advice.
The feelings of helplessness and fury can make any day horrible. There are multiple solutions out there, and one of them is journaling.
When I say journaling, I’m not talking about a diary where you scribble your crushes name all over the page until your hand cramps up. I’m talking about true, old-fashion journaling where you write about your day, the events that happened and how they made you feel. Pure, raw emotion poured out onto the page (or screen).
The funny thing is, I haven’t always journaled. In fact, I only started journaling a week ago.
It all began when I was eating dinner with my boyfriend’s grandparents, and I was ranting about how horrible my week was. I couldn’t stop talking about the bad things that happened. Every time I opened my mouth, I felt like Cady Heron from Mean Girls, “oh no. It was coming up again, word vomit…”
Eventually, after tolerating my ranting long enough, Grandpa stopped me and said, “have you been keeping up with your journaling?”
Back in January, Grandpa bought me a journal for my birthday. I never really used it except maybe once.
I told him I hadn’t touched the journal, and he didn’t seem angry with me (thank goodness). Instead of lecturing me on the importance of journaling, he held me to a challenge. He wanted me to journal once a day, in the evening, to see if it made a difference in my attitude. I’m not one to turn down a challenge, so I agreed to do it.
It was the best decision I have made all year.
The first night, I picked up my journal and wrote the date and time. I then began to explain how my day went. It felt so weird trying to have a conversation with a piece of paper, but I managed.
When I got to the part about expressing my feelings, I was skeptical of writing anything down. It was almost like the paper was a friend that I couldn’t really trust. What if someone else read it? What would happen?
I told myself that none of my roommates or suitemates would be rude enough to snoop (and I have great hiding spots), so I let it all out on the page.
When I set the journal down and went to bed, I felt relieved and relaxed for what seemed like the first time in a while.
The next day I returned to my dorm, exhausted, so I went to bed. I almost forgot to journal, but I was quickly reminded when my head hit the pillow and I felt tense again.
Journaling didn’t just improve my sleep, though. It also helped with my relationships with others.
My friends noticed that I seemed happier when talking to them. My conversations were lighter and more positive. I was even smiling more.
By the fourth and fifth nights, I was so ready to get back to my dorm and journal away. Instead of just writing a small paragraph, I was writing up to two pages worth of words (it’s a small journal).
Journaling gave me an outlet for negativity so that my life could be filled with more positivity.
I don’t feel the need to gossip to a friend about how a person made me feel. I no longer have to fight the urge to blow up on a close friend because they are the only one I can vent to. The urge is no longer there. My casual conversations went from "Oh my gosh, today sucks.." to "Today has been so great!"
Journaling once a day definitely kept my stress away, and I’m sure it can do the same for others. Put yourself up to the challenge. Journal once a night and see what it can do for you.