5 Benefits of Journaling

Helaina standing outside of the library.

Today Helaina Parejo shares with us a few benefits to journaling. Helaina is a sophomore transfer student from Ursinus College who majors in Spanish and Writing Arts. She is from Barrington, NJ (Camden County).

Life gets confusing. As much as this can be said for any time in one’s life, it is especially true now. With political tensions on the rise, a public health crisis, and the holiday season rolling around, it can be easy to let the complications of day-to-day life consume you in its chaos.

With all that is going on, it is important for everyone to have a way that they are able to cope with stress and express anxieties in a healthy way. Still, many people do not have any type of outlet that they can turn to during periods of unrest. 

Whether you are one of many without a proper outlet or your usual coping mechanisms just don’t seem to be cutting it, journaling is a simple solution that offers benefits beyond the problems at hand. Often, one turns to journaling for a specific reason, but through the process, they find that it is a therapeutic process in a multitude of ways. 

If you have apprehensions about journaling and whether it is right for you, here are five universal benefits that prove how valuable journaling is as a practice. 

Helaina sitting on a stone outside.

Shaping Your Schedule The Way You Want 

Our days are filled with distractions from work, school, extracurriculars, and anything else that consumes our time. And, when we finally get the opportunity to relax and be with ourselves, we often turn to social media or TV shows and other forms of entertainment to occupy our minds. While these activities have their own perks, it is important to realize that more options exist. Journaling is a great way to break up the monotony of your schedule. 

You by no means have to journal everyday for a specified amount of time, but being able to visit your notebook and scribble your thoughts down is a small way to free yourself from what can be a restrictive schedule. Even if you are looking for more structure in your day, journaling can help with that as well. Setting aside an allotted time as small as five minutes in the morning or night can be an effective way to start crafting a schedule that works for you (and a perfect place to write that schedule down is a journal). 

Spending Time With Yourself 

The term “self care” has been popping up with more frequency, and even if we know we should be doing it, many people do not know how to start. Journaling opens the door to self care as it allows you to truly be separated from the stress you may be facing, and focus solely on yourself. 

Too often we base our worth on what the gradebook says, or how many hours we put in at the office. Taking the time to journal helps you develop a sense of self outside of the work you produce. It allows you to understand who you are and what you want. Taking this first step in identifying yourself will enable you to move through life with more authenticity and confidence. 

Helaina and her boyfriend standing outside.

Processing Your Emotions 

While it may sound cliche, journaling is the best way to vent all your feelings onto a page. The privacy aspect allows you to be truly honest about any situation and the emotions that come as a result. A journal is the most unbiased listener and allows you to break down the complexities of your feelings without interruption. 

The better you get at processing your emotions on the page, the more you will start to take note of the results in real life. With a better sense of identifying how you feel and why you may be feeling that way, it will be easier to express that to those around you. 

Creativity Without a Catch 

A lot of what we create today ends up being produced with an audience in mind. Of course, there are many positives that having an audience can bring to a piece of work. Still, it can put a restraint on us creatively. An audience means that our work has the opportunity to be perceived and scrutinized. Journaling, however, completely removes the watchful eyes from the creative process, allowing us to write freely. 

With the removal of potential judgement, creativity can blossom. There is no more fear of writing “badly.” All that remains is unhindered self expression. 

Helaina standing outside.

Your Very Own Time Capsule

The best part of journaling is looking back. Anytime you want, you can flip back through the pages and see where you were at a specific point in your life. While pictures allow you to remember where you were and what you looked like, your journal entries remind you of how you felt and what you experienced. 

You can also look back at your past self and see how far you’ve come —whether it be creatively, emotionally or both. This can also help us cope with current-day stress. Seeing yourself overcome difficulties through your past entries proves to yourself that you were able to overcome obstacles before, and you can do it again. 

There are a myriad of benefits when it comes to journaling. From peace of mind to real-life growth, confiding in a journal helps us to achieve these goals of self-betterment. The best part is, you don’t even need a notebook to start. You can jot your inner thoughts down on a sticky note, an index card, a used napkin, anything! Though you may have all the supplies you need, sometimes the biggest obstacle to start writing is that you don’t even know where to start. The best advice I can give for that is to write the first thought that pops into your mind, and let the rest flow. 

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Story by:
Helaina Parejo, sophomore writing arts and Spanish major

Photography by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

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