We get it, the thought of writing even more on top of your school or uni workload might not seem too appealing - but did you know that journaling is one of the most powerful self-improvement tools out there? Next to the self-care trifecta of sleep, nutrition, and exercise, journaling is a simple and worthwhile habit that can change your perspective on life profoundly - if practiced consistently.
Despite its recent rise in popularity, journaling is not just a viral trend: it’s been around for thousands of years! But what exactly is it, and why should we try it?
Journaling means writing down your thoughts and feelings as you live your life. The beauty is: there’s no right or wrong way to do it!
Journaling is personal to each person who tries it, and it can go in many different directions. You could write diary entries detailing your day, or you could write lists of goals, or jot down all the things you are grateful for in life. What does this achieve? You work through your emotions, become more self-aware, and learn about yourself. It can feel cathartic to get your struggles and fears onto paper without judgment, and the world can feel much clearer afterward.
Journaling can help improve anxiety, manage stress, and cope with depression, by helping you prioritise your fears and concerns, recognise triggers, and identifying negative patterns! It can also help create order in a world that feels scary, and chaotic. Keep in mind, since we don’t live in a vacuum, the benefits of journaling will be much greater if you practice healthy habits in general (ie. sleep enough, eat a balanced diet, and sleep well).
How to journal
- If you’re new to this, start by writing a little bit every day - begin with just a few minutes and build from there.
- Make it a routine: for instance, set yourself the goal of writing for 5 minutes before you start studying in the morning. Soon, it will come as naturally as brushing your teeth or making your bed!
- Make it a ritual: make the process feel more special by lighting scented candle while you write, or using a special pen.
- Set yourself up for success: keep a pen and notebook nearby so that you can easily jot down your thoughts right when they come up.
- Get creative with the structure: one day you might feel like writing a poem, other days just bullet points. Do you struggle with words sometimes? Feel free to draw or sketch your feelings. Do what feels right!
- Accountability is always good: find a journaling buddy, and set aside time every day to write together (though you don’t have to share your writing).
- Freestyle: on the train and forgot your journal at home? Jot down thoughts in your notes app or on your computer, and add them to your physical journal later!
- Got writer’s block? Keep some journaling prompts up your sleeve for the days when nothing comes to mind, and let your pen flow. Pinterest is a great place to find journaling prompts!
An important thing to remember is that journaling is a habit. Try your best to journal every day, no matter whether you’re feeling happy or sad, because the real value comes when you stick with it through the ups and downs.