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Journaling: Out of Mind, Onto Paper

Updated: Apr 4

Sometimes it feels as though I have 50 tabs left open in my brain that I have yet to sort and close. From a young age, it was suggested that when I begin to feel like this, I should simply write it all down. I was told to get it off my mind by getting it onto paper. But I never really listened until my daily thoughts became too many to contain. One day, I pulled out a notebook and my thoughts overflowed onto paper. I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction. Now, I find myself journaling whenever I can, writing about what made me laugh and smile that day or even the thoughts that keep me thinking late into the night. 

We each have thousands of thoughts per day, but we don’t always have the time or place to process them.

A survey sent out before Spring Break found that 80% of people from the 103 students surveyed at North Scott High School have journaled before. This number was honestly more than I thought it would be. With busy schedules and the idea of journaling not being viewed as a very exciting task, I assumed that not many people would relate to the comfort I’ve found in this small habit. We each have thousands of thoughts per day, but we don’t always have the time or place to process them. Journaling became an outlet that I, among many others, have found to be a simple solution to the never-ending thoughts. We are each aware of some of the small benefits that journaling provides, such as how it allows us to release stress and better process emotions, but many other positive results have been linked to journaling. 

  1. Strengthen Memory 

  2. Reduce Stress and Anxiety 

  3. Find Inspiration 

  4. Improve writing/communication skills 

  5. Gain Self Confidence 

  6. Track Progress and Growth 

  7. Achieve Goals 

The thought of writing is often viewed as a chore and might leave you feeling uneasy at first, but the thing is, journaling can be anything you want. Your journaling is not for anyone else, it is simply for you to release everything you have been holding in your mind. Of those surveyed, about 50% of people wish they had the time to journal more frequently and regularly. At the end of the survey, many continued to explain how journaling helps them better regulate and understand their emotions. Some shared how journaling has allowed them to look back and see how far they’ve come, giving them a sense of hope for their future and gratitude for the past. If you do not know where to start or are convinced that journaling is not for you, I want to remind you that journaling is not limited to simply writing about your day. Below are some ideas to consider if you’re interested in journaling more frequently but aren’t sure where to start. 

  1. Bullet: A creative journal that contains to-do lists, reminders, and doodles.

  2. Dream: A journal explicitly about your dreams and your emotions and reflections on those dreams.

  3. Laughter: A journal highlighting parts of your day that make you laugh 

  4. Gratitude: A journal that focuses on daily things or moments you are grateful for.

  5. Creative: A journal highlighting your creativity through writing, drawing, etc. 

  6. Goal-oriented: A journal that serves as a tracker to ensure you meet your goals 

  7. Collage: A journal where you write your thoughts about specific images you have found.

  8. Drawing: A journal consisting of sketches that explain your emotions and experiences.

  9. Nature: A journal focusing on your experiences and emotions while you’re outside in nature, such as hiking.

  10. Stream of consciousness: A journal that keeps a record of your thoughts as they are happening. 

My journaling began with small to-do lists that later led to writing about anything and everything that seemed to be going on in my life. My journal has become something that contains situations that I’ve shared with countless people or maybe no one at all. Journaling is something that belongs to me but also belongs to everyone else. You just have to be willing to put pen to paper and write in a way that scares you a little. 

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