In the busy life of a college student it can be hard to make time for yourself. Keeping a journal can be a simple way to keep track of your thoughts and manage stress. There are countless ways to benefit from carrying a notebook around to class to organize your passing thoughts or spending an hour in solitude to analyze and decompress. Here is VALLEY’s guide on how to start your own personal log and how it can help you live healthier and happier.
Your journal can be anything you want it to be – there are no rules! Start by writing the details of your day and let your writing evolve into you thoughts, emotions and desires. If writing a novel sounds daunting, mix in alternative ways of expression; write lists, draw pictures, try your hand at poetry. You can even benefit from writing down those lyrics that are stuck in your head or a text exchange between you and a friend that made you smile. In the world of social media, most of our lives are documented virtually. It’s refreshing to have a physical journal to hold your memories. VALLEY recommends getting a Polaroid camera to paste photos of your friends or cut out aesthetically pleasing images from magazines. Whatever brings you joy, put it in your journal, and it will become a keepsake you appreciate for life.
Research shows that the roots of anxiety can be minimized through focused examination. Writing is a powerful tool to shift your thoughts from scattered and ruminative to empowered and action-oriented. Journaling requires the dual action of the left, analytical brain and the right, creative brain. When these two aspects of thought come together, people experience relief from the feelings that ail them, and they find insight into their thought patterns. Journaling has been found to boost your mood, enhance your sense of well-being, improve memory and reduce symptoms of depression and other common mental illnesses.
A journal is something you make strictly for yourself and for your own enjoyment. You document the things that you love. Flipping through a journal is like indulging in a time capsule. For people that are interested in bettering themselves, it’s amazing to look back on old writings and see how you have grown from different experiences. It’s a way to love the person you were and celebrate the person that you have become. As college students, the majority of what we write is for someone else – an essay on a topic of your professor’s choosing, a homework assignment to be turned in for a numerical grade. When people have their own journals, they unlock a space where there is no judgment and endless freedom.