Journaling is a mindful, healthy activity, but as college students, we have a hard time making it a daily practice. Writing down your thoughts and thinking through the parts of life that you don’t want to discuss out loud is incredibly helpful in creating space in your mind to live life to the fullest.
“It’s an archive of your life,” said Trish Alvaro, a GU senior. “We just go through our lives not feeling or being in our bodies. Journaling is a good way to connect with yourself.”
Journaling looks different to each individual. There are so many forms and methods to explore on the journey of journaling. Finding the best, most sustainable method that naturally flows with your lifestyle is critical when implementing it into your daily life.
"I think of my journal as a best friend that I’m updating on my life, and it helps me write in a more natural way," August Corppetts, a GU senior, said. "I started journaling by first having an 'idea notebook' and just writing down anything that sparked my creativity. This is a good way to start if you don’t think you would like journaling."
Starting simple is the key. Keeping your journal by your bed is an easy way to implement this habit in your routine. Waking up in the morning, writing three things you’re thankful for, three things that you’re looking forward to, and three manifestations is a great place to start. The mind is fresh in the morning.
And at night, grab your journal before bed and write again. Do it after you’re done with your tasks and before you go on your phone or watch a Netflix show.
“Always ask yourself, ‘what did I do today?’,” Alvaro said. “At night, after you’re done with your tasks and before you indulge, ask what you’ve done. That question puts you back into your body. You become more aware."
Starting here with journaling is a sustainable option.
See writing your thoughts down as a ritual rather than a chore. It’s all about the mindset. It gives the practice more meaning. Ask yourself how journaling can fit into your daily routine. Remind yourself of the benefits you’re receiving.
“You go throughout your day and think about that one thing that’s bothering you," Alvaro said. "When you write it down in a journal, you make space for other things. You create more space in your head.”
Journaling provides a space for processing ideas. It’s free, secret therapy in a way. Taking the time to sit, reflect, write and analyze for yourself is a simple yet powerful tool to feel the full value in everyday life.
“Don’t be afraid of your own voice and what comes out,” Alvaro said. “Don’t think about whether it’s right or wrong. No one is going to read it. It’s not graded. Literally let your voice out.”
Though journaling may not be for everybody, it is an essential practice to try out. You may not think you need it, but once you start and stick with it, you will start to appreciate the little things in life more.
For journaling newbies, it can be hard to keep up with writing every day. Skipping days is okay. It might also be difficult to let yourself free on the pages. Expressing honest opinion in a tangible way can be scary, but it allows your thoughts to process and grow.
"What inspires me to journal are the moments of peace that it brings me, and the ability to let out emotions on paper," Corppetts said.
Corppetts said that she has been journaling since high school and reading her old entries gives her great perspective on how she lives her life today.
Alvaro has also found herself in love with the practice. She has expanded in areas of gratitude, appreciation and goal setting. On her Instagram, she posts daily journal prompts for her followers, to inspire them to write with her. Follow Alvaro for journal prompt ideas and journaling inspiration @trish.alvaro.