An author named Keri Smith came up with the ingenious idea to write a journal that is already set up for you. Wreck this Journal is a book that prompts creative journaling, with pages like “Collect fruit stickers on this page,” “Make a mess. Clean it up,” and “Write one word over and over here.” This journal is a guide and a shining example for the creative outlet that journaling can become. Many people, particularly guys, write off the idea of journaling immediately, but hear me out.
A journal is not a diary. The word “diary” implies lovey-dovey feelings in a shiny little book with a heart-shaped lock. The word “journal” is open to interpretation, and encompasses a world of creativity. Similar to Wreck this Journal>, your journal can be whatever you want it to be. You can doodle; you can write one word over and over; you can write your life as a novel with chapter titles; you can make a thousand to-do lists; you can write in pen, pencil, crayon, or your own blood if you really want to.
Many studies have been performed on the effects of journaling on human well-being, and the benefits are endless. Keeping a journal helps you get to know yourself, simply by jotting down your thoughts consistently. You can write down goals or dreams and then check back later to see how you’re doing. I’ve written both weekly goals and year-long goals in mine, and it’s thrilling to see how far I’ve come. It’s like an ever-changing New Year’s Resolution list.
Get your creative juices flowing. By just stretching your imagination and training yourself to express your thoughts on paper, through words or through art, you become a more focused and intentional thinker. Journaling can shape you into someone who is both intellectual and self-aware. Journaling helps you process thoughts, record memories, and develop ideas.
To me, journaling seems like a daunting task because it’s something you have to do consistently: once a day, once a week, etc. The main reason I didn’t journal for years was that I didn’t have time and I knew I’d miss writing down certain events and get behind; then journaling would become a stress-inducer rather than a stress-reducer. I felt like it would have to be a detailed recount of every day, one that I didn’t have the time or the emotional energy to do, and was immediately overwhelmed.
The strongest argument for journaling is its effect on emotional health. By recording the events of your day, you have the opportunity to let out any pent-up feelings or unresolved issues. You can yell at your journal about your boyfriend/girlfriend, complain about your noisy floormate, and cry to it about the amount homework you’re procrastinating on by writing in it. You can exclaim the successes of your day and write down the little details you know you probably won’t remember later. A journal is a constant friend, ever-present confidant, and the best listener you could imagine (cheesy as it sounds). However, not only can your journal hold negative feelings, but it also encourages positivity. If you journal in a deliberate way, you can change the way that you view life. A friend of mine takes the time to write down the best part of her day every day, and through that, see the beauty that her life holds.
And if there’s no better reason to journal, just think: you can read your journal in ten years and laugh at your immature past self.
by Mandy Pennington