Starting up an old habit: Journaling


Warning: During the creation of this blog post I decided to make “journal” a verb.

I was an avid journaler for a really long time. It became consistent in probably seventh grade and stayed consistent until the end of high school. I wrote every single little thing that happened to me and eventually every single way it made me feel. I got a little lazy with it once college began, especially once I got to UConn. There was always just so much going on that journaling wasn’t a priority in my life. Plus, I was blogging for Her Campus so I had that as an alternative outlet for my thoughts.

A few days ago, I was inspired to begin journaling again. I already feel liberated from spending just two days writing down whatever is on my mind. The beauty of journaling is that I can do it whenever, wherever I want. As soon as something pops into my mind that I feel I need to consciously address, I grab my journal. I’m able to get things off my chest without having to talk to anyone. I’ve never been one to divulge my problems or really tell anyone about myself or my feelings. I prefer to get through things on my own but I truly forgot how good it feels to at least get my thoughts on paper.

Personally, I think it is really important to acknowledge the way you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. The best way for me to do that is to write about it. As I write and describe my feelings, I find myself having epiphanies and discovering solutions I’ve never considered in my mind. Journaling triggers new thoughts and I love it because I have real time evidence of what came to my mind in that exact moment. Like everyone else, I have a lot of thoughts while I’m driving or while I’m in the shower or while I’m sitting in a waiting room. But expressing my thoughts through journaling is great because I can go back and revisit how I was feeling in a certain moment. I also have a really bad memory so if I do not document something, the chances are I will forget it.

It’s so weird because in-person I’m not at all into my feelings. I come across as if I don’t really care because most of the time, I really just don’t care. There are a lot of things I simply don’t care about so I’m not really that opinionated on a lot things. But it just takes that one conversation or that one situation to really get my head spinning and give me the urge to run home and tear open my journal. Writing really gets me into my feelings. Writing is great because it helps hold me accountable; I’m less likely to avoid something through writing that I might normally avoid in conversation. It might not be that healthy that I keep myself guarded around most people but I think writing about my thoughts later makes up for it.

There has definitely been an evolution of my journaling. When I first started back when I was twelve or thirteen, it was all about “Oh my god Jack is so cute. He looked in my direction today. Not at me but at least it was in my direction. Ugh I love him so much.” Or it was “I can’t believe my mom wouldn’t let me sleep at Maddy’s tonight. Ugh I’m so mad.” Actually, it was mostly “Nothing really happened today. I watched a lot of TV. That’s all. Goodnight.” And there were the entries where I wrote entire text conversations with whatever boy I was crushing on or whichever friend I was fighting with. I guess it started as more of a “Dear Diary” kind of thing which is fine because I get a huge laugh at the stuff I used to write. As I’ve matured, it still kind of serves as a way to talk about my day but has shifted into how my day made me feel. I consider it a form of therapy and I would absolutely recommend journaling to anyone.

I think the best part about having so much of my life documented in a dozen journals is having the option to go back and re-experience the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. I have physical evidence of who I used to be and it is fun to compare fifteen year old me to who I am now. I actually don’t remember the last time I looked at my first few journals. However, I like knowing I have them if I want to reflect, cry, reminisce, and most importantly… get a good laugh.

I’m really happy to be journaling again. I’m not going to focus on making it a daily priority like I used to. I’m just going to write when I want to or when I feel the need to. I’m going to continue to use it to focus on my feelings and the reason why I’m feeling those feelings. Yesterday, I actually went down to the river and wrote under the sun, surrounded by the trees and the ducks. I felt like I was able to reach different emotions just from writing in a different setting. I usually only write within the four walls of my room so I want to continue to write in new environments. I am also really excited to start blogging outside once the weather gets warmer.

I seriously would recommend everyone try journaling. It’s freeing. It’s cathartic. It’s stress-relieving. It’s a great way to say everything you want to say without actually having to “say” it at all.


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