Keeping journals has been practiced for millennia. Journals were used by everyone – from the most powerful emperor to the last common man, to capture their experiences, ideas, thoughts, and reflections from their day to day life. Like everything else, even journals have evolved with the digital age. There are numerous apps available for everyone who want to keep a journal, by now enabling them to journal whenever and wherever.
Why should one keep a journal?
Personally, whenever my thoughts and emotions are running wild, writing them down always helped to understand and process them better. Writing them down also helped me to realize that “my problems” isn’t as bad as it seemed in my head. A study conducted by UCLA has proven that verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense. They also concluded from a similar study that mindfulness, which is defined as the ability to live in the present moment, without distraction, seems to produce a variety of health benefits.
How does one keep a journal?
The answer to this question is quite simple: however, you like! The journal should serve you as a tool to help you write down anything that crosses your mind – may it be a thought, an idea, things that made you happy or events that made you gloomy. It could also be used to practise mindfulness by writing down the simple things in life that you noticed, which you usually take for granted, or by writing down your goals and why you want to achieve them or writing down what you achieved today and how you feel about it. Reflecting on your experiences – regardless of how small or big, can help you be more mindful and as a result, help you grow as a person. Keeping a reflection journal can also help you “track” your growth. It allows you to go back and read how you felt or perceived a certain situation, say 3 months ago, versus how you feel or perceive them now.
Incorporating Journal in your Student Life
Catherine Pulsifer once said: “Always remember life is learning journey. Keep filling your mind with all that is worthy.” While life itself is a journey of learning, this is especially intense when you are a student. So keeping a journal during your student life can help you in many ways. It can serve as a means to improve your creativity, retain your ideas, reflect on what you learn, the challenges you face and how you overcome them, verbalise your feelings that seem overwhelming, etc. Practising journaling can help you develop a habit of being mindful, establish a “reflection culture” and promote student development not only on an academic level but also on an intellectual level.
To conclude, journals can be a powerful tool that can help you settle your thoughts, help you reflect regularly and finally, provide you with a means to track your personal growth.
Below are a few sources, that inspired me to write this article. If you are interested in reading more about keeping a journal and it’s history, check them out.