5 powerful reasons to start journaling today

As a teenager, I kept a diary.

It was my safe space to document and process everything in my life, hidden inside a very pink cardboard box, locked in using a golden locket.

Thankfully journaling now as an adult does not necessitate such security nor bold color aesthetics. All you need is a notebook, a pen and the time to write and reflect.

My experience with journaling

I have been journaling on and off since I was a teenager. When I say journaling, it is my catch-all term for recapping my day in a diary, writing my frustrations, writing to God, writing the things I wish I had said to someone, writing my fears and concerns, etc. In fact, I kept multiple books for these different purposes based on the level of secrecy it required haha!

In the past two years though, I have since moved into bullet journalling – with my bujo system being a hybrid of a planner, diary, and tracker (you can read more about my starter guide to bullet journaling here). I journal every day and I am very aware of how lost I feel when I skip a day or two. It really does wonders to center me and help me make sense of my life.

Which is why I am confident in saying that everyone has something to gain from the habit of journaling, due to these 5 reasons.

Your journal is your safe space

I think there is something very assuring to know there is a space to decompress each night that has no judgement towards me. A journal is a very safe space for you to jot down your feelings and make sense of your experiences, in your own privacy, without any scrutiny.

Sometimes, when I am harboring feelings of anger or frustrations, I write them down instead. As ugly as these feelings may be, this is a non-risky way of getting those feelings out, without actually risking hurting someone IRL. If you are willing, take time to understand why you wrote that down, and see it as an opportunity to practice forgiveness, for yourself for feeling this way and for the person who you feel angry/upset towards.

It forces your to pause and reflect on yourself

Journals really are a very powerful tool for introspection. Taking the time to pause and reflect on how your day has been, making sense of your feelings and experiences – can lead you to better insights about yourself and help you challenge your existing self-beliefs!

For example, I often journal about my relationship with my live-in partner, Kula. One of our few disputes revolves around house chores, and often when I get angry about it, I would note it down in my special ‘angry’ journal. It was when writing things down I realized how small the issue really was and therefore, how blown-out-of-proportion my anger was to this problem. Sitting in that moment of reflection also made me suddenly realise that I had inherited the same anger that the women in my family modeled to me when they were frustrated with home chores.

I have since been more flexible about home chores and actively remind myself to not default into anger just cause that was how my mom would have reacted. Not bad from a single sitting of journalling, eyh?

It is a tool for a better mental health

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Probably the most important reason why I myself journal: it helps me manage my mental health, tremendously.

There are so many studies and anecdotes to support this correlation of journalling and having better mental health! It is a similar practice of working through your feelings and experiences with a therapist, the main differences are that instead of talking, you write it down, and instead of with someone, you process it on your own.

When I myself was undergoing therapy, my journal was a very complementary resource because 1) I was able to reference my candid experiences from my journal to my psychologist during our sessions and 2) I was able to notice changes and patterns when I started trying new mental health strategies by reading into my entries.

It lowers your stress and improves your physical health

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Journalling is a habit that relieves stress, and in fact, studies have shown that when done long-term, expressive writing such as journalling helps reduce your blood-pressure and strengthen your immunity.

An interesting point about journaling is that when you are making a habit of reflecting on yourself (mind and body), you are more likely to notice changes that happen to you and therefore act on certain triggers if/when things are going awry. This mindfulness paired with the strengthening of your emotional functions due to journalling can go a long way for your physical health. Also, if you are sold on it yet, journalling also helps improve your memory and comprehension btw.

Your journal is a physical document of your life

One of my favourite things to do when I am bored is to look back at my past journals. “I wonder what I did at this time last year?” I really enjoy going through memory lane and then compare how much my life has changed in such a short time! You are able to notice how far you have come and take pride in all the challenging days you have previously conquered!

Because I collage in my journal, I also love revisiting my keepsakes in my journal – old ticket stubs, stickers, cafe cards, notes, etc. I love the idea of building this historical account of my young adult life. In fact, Michelle Obama quoted that she relied on her past journals when writing her now famous Becoming memoir!

If you are interested in journaling but require some structure prior to starting, then try looking into these resources that I thought to be helpful:

All the best in your journalling practice, kawan-kawan!

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1 Comment

  1. Nadia

    ok i will try! Wish me luck~

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