The Benefits of Journaling
Most of us have probably tried to keep a journal at some point in our lives. Although many people start journaling with good intentions, over time it’s easy to neglect frequent writing. Despite this, you might find it worth your while to start writing once more. Journaling has many forms, functions and benefits. It doesn’t have to be limited to jotting down feelings in a secret notebook. According to Psych Central, there are several benefits that one may experience when beginning a journal.
These include reducing your stress, knowing yourself better, clarifying your thoughts and feelings, more effectively solving your problems and resolving disagreements with others. Because our phones and laptops are always on hand, a digital journal or app like Day One may work best.
They’re no requirements for journaling and certainly no wrong ways of recording your ideas. Rather than focusing on meeting a word count, instead work on finishing a thought, whether that be about a stressor in your life or an enjoyable event. Often times, the hardest part of writing is simply getting started.
Joslyn Lewis, a senior elementary education major, journals about her prayers so that she can look back and see how God answered her requests or how things have changed. “I also think it’s a great way, at least for me, to process what’s going on in my life, and it’s also prevented me from saying things that I probably shouldn’t say out loud,” Lewis explained. “And by that I mean that I can just pour my heart out in any way that I feel will help me best and no one has to know about it. It’s like a pocket counselor.”
Journaling also allows you to record your life in a way that photos can’t. Writing can capture the emotions and thoughts you experience during your life. Even writing about the most mundane events, such as studying for a test or going out with friends, is still a part of your life and college experience. You’ll be able to visit old memories years later and see how you’ve grown. One study conducted by the University of Iowa found that students who focused writing on cognitions and emotions related to a stressor/trauma were able to see the positive benefits of the stressful event. That contrasted with those who only wrote on emotions related to a stressor/trauma and those who wrote factually about media events.
Whether you are an experienced journaler or a first-timer, you may find this little habit can help you throughout your life!
Amanda McCarter is a senior studying biomedical science.