Okay, so maybe you do know you should write in a journal. My only question is, why aren't you? I don't want to hear about how you're just so busy and you don't have any time to write. Maybe you claim you lack the discipline to consistently contribute to it. I don't want to hear any of those excuses because chances are, I've already given them. I scoffed at the idea of keeping a journal for years and now that I've started, I can't believe I wasted time not doing so. Keeping a journal is far more than writing rants about how much work you have to get done, it's one of the greatest ways to learn more about yourself: how you think and process things, as well as strengthen your writing skills.
1. Actively writing gives you a visual spread of your thoughts
As a fellow over-thinker, writing down my thoughts and rants allows me to not only get all of my emotions and frustrations out, but also allows me to calm down and revisit them once I can sift through them with more clarity. Being able to read through my raw thoughts allows me to pinpoint what exactly upset me and how I can approach certain situations better. It allows me to achieve a new level of self-awareness that I can't get anywhere else. It's kind of like proofreading a paper for mistakes, except I'm looking through my writing for ways to improve my mentality.
2. It allows you to be more comfortable with being honest with yourself
Being honest with yourself and being able to cut through the jungle of your own excuses is a lot harder than you may think. It's far too easy to attribute faults in our personalities to external causes which, in turn, only strengthen the severity of our weaknesses. When I first started journaling during my sophomore year of high school, I found it difficult to be brutally honest with how I felt about certain things. Even in my personal writing, I was worried that somehow someone would find it and expose my true thoughts. After realizing how detrimental this kind of mentality was, I realized that it didn't really matter if someone did do that. As a society, we have become so lost in our worries of what others may think that we sacrifice our authenticity and the invaluable essence of honesty. Having the strength to be honest, even in the face of adversity, allows you to live a life free from the burdens of having to craft an image you think others will accept. Writing how you truly feel is the first step to understanding more about who you are and being able to come terms with it.
3. Writing your rants keeps your information safe and saves your friends some trouble
Instead of ranting to people who probably don't want to hear you go on and on about the same problems, try writing them down. It's all well and good to be able to share your thoughts and your feelings with those you're close with, but I think we can all agree that many times this does more harm than good. In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say things we don't really mean. The problem with sharing rants with others is that once the words leave our lips, we have no control over how they're interpreted and who they're repeated to. This being said, turning to your journal for your next rant just might be the way to go.
4. Saving your journals gives you something to look back at
As cringy as it may be to look back at my old journals, it's really nice to revisit old memories and remember what my life was like back then. It also allows me to appreciate how far I've come and set new goals for growing more. I find it incredibly interesting to see how my views and approaches to things have changed. And looking back at old entries often teaches me new things from my old writing that I wasn't able to see at the time they were written. Because I put dates on every entry, I have the equivalent of Snapchat memories that allow me to see what I was doing on any given day within a 4-year span.
5. Writing regularly teaches you discipline, allows you to exercise creativity and strengthen your writing skills
Journaling should never be a chore, it should be something that you want to do, something that you look forward to. You don't have to write every day to gain something from it. However, depending on the type of journaling you decide to engage in, it helps to have some sort of consistent journaling schedule to help you get into the hang of it. At the start, I found writing a few times a week to be extremely helpful before I started to write daily. It taught me discipline and how important self-care and mental health are. The beauty of journaling is that it can be practically anything you want it to be. Including pictures, small sketches and other trinkets from your adventures help to make it more personal. Writing regularly will also help strengthen your writing skills. I don't care what anyone says about technology driving print copies into existence, hard copies offer limitless things that technology will never be able to replace. With this in mind, being able to write well on print is still an incredibly valuable skill that everyone should exercise.
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I firmly believe that journaling can change your life. It isn't just something for those artsy-fartsy Tumblr aesthetic kids, it's something that everyone can do as long as you can exercise the discipline and honesty to maintain it. Life, especially as a student, can be so unnecessarily stressful. At the end of the day, why wouldn't you want those few minutes of peace where you can reflect on your thoughts and experiences?