We’ve seen the scene a million times: a teenage girl pouring her heart out between the pages of a patterned journal. She sits amongst her perfectly pastel bedroom walls writing to an invisible third party about the cute boy in her English class. Granted, the word “diary” is normally used in this context, but the idea is still the same. A stigma has been placed on the idea of writing down your thoughts and feelings, making it seem childish and cliché. But it’s not.
Like most people, I write (or word process) daily. I spend the majority of my time immersed in a technological environment keeping up on the latest news, trends, Snapchat stories, and viral videos. And yes, I’ve been known to vocalize the importance of finding more productive uses of our days without actually making the effort to find these alternative activities. But, this one is simple. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to better myself, which is all we’re really trying to do every day, right?
I try spending about 20 minutes every day putting a pen to paper and just writing things down. I don’t beat myself up if I miss a day, or if the 20 minutes turns into two, but I’ve written consistently enough to make it feel like a routine in my day-to-day life. The benefits I’ve experienced are indisputable.
Keeping a journal is not only good for your mind, but your body as well. Numerous studies conducted at universities such as The University of Texas at Austin have suggested multiple health benefits to journaling. Not only does it relieve stress, but it’s been known to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers and strengthening your immune cells.
But, most importantly, journaling is good for the soul. There are so many beautiful moments in each of our days that go undocumented. Someone unexpectedly paying for your Starbucks, the elevator arriving the second you press the button, finding money in a jacket you haven’t worn in a while—the list is endless. Re-reading these moments makes you realize how insignificant something might seem while still having the ability to make your day. That is a beautiful thing. Journaling also makes you better connected to yourself. It aligns your subconscious thoughts with your conscious thoughts by forming them into actual sentences, and makes you better understand why certain things in your life make you feel a certain way. The more you write about something, the clearer the idea of it gets in your mind.
Journaling allows you to wade through the mental clutter everybody experiences on a daily basis. It’s good for the mind, body and soul and gives you a handwritten account of your own life. And no matter what you use it for, it will still benefit you in the long run.