As a counselor, I recommend students develop journaling skills that can be helpful to them in so many ways and situations. With the stressful situation that pandemic has put us all in, either through online learning or lockdowns that stretch to perpetuity, we are facing the need to share our thoughts but not finding the most effective tool to do that. Journaling is the answer to this dilemma.
Aware that exam season is around the corner, here’s a short listicle blog sharing prime reasons for journaling. Below, you will also find insights on what you should be journaling.
13 Reasons Why You Should Journal
To slow down from your daily routine
To become mindful of who you are
To have a sense of purpose and direction
To build new perspectives
To make connections between what you read and understand
To become empathetic towards those around you
To set a tone for the day (which is why I recommend journaling in the morning)
To address negative thoughts
To learn and accept your vulnerabilities
To explore your many interests
To understand your plurality
To appreciate your immediate environment
To get your creative juices flowing
What should you journal?
1. Highlights of the Day
A lot of the students start their entry with highlights from the previous or same day (depending on when they prefer to journal). This is definitely a good starting point if you’re new to journaling. My highlights of a day range from observations, takeaways, tasks completed, and meaningful interactions.
Journaling can be a great way to practice gratitude. Ask yourself – What do you feel grateful for? It could be in the form of people surrounding you, or the environment you live in or your circumstances. This will make you more aware of your place in the world and ways in which you can contribute to help others.
3. Your Growth
What growth do you want to see in yourself? What goals do you wish to achieve? What drives you daily, weekly, monthly? Writing these down will allow you to refocus and realign yourself with what you wish to achieve.
4. Your Problems/Stresses
Jotting your problems helps to navigate through them more effectively. You are able to see the bigger picture and writing it down provides a vent for your thoughts and emotions. A conversation with yourself about issues you’re facing is underestimated. This could be a coping solution that works best for you.
I remember the time a student of mine had a really rough day at the Biology lab, and I asked her to jot down this incident in a detailed way. This, I am positive, will help her write a truly personal essay for her college applications.
5. Your Decisions
A lot of our problems or stresses are tied to decision-making. Discussing the choices available to you may be a great way to traverse through this process. You could also create a comprehensive pro-con list and give weightage to every factor which will help you make an informed decision that is your own. There is a great sense of fulfillment in making decisions for yourself without relying fully on another person, even though it’s always good to seek advice when you feel you are unable to deal with things alone.
Journaling is a tool to make you self-aware through mindful observation and reflection. These are life skills that would transform you gradually so give it time. Invest about 10-15 minutes every day for this exercise and embrace and practice slow living for the time you journal. I am sure you will find yourself more confident and relaxed as you proceed through your day.