I've journaled on and off for years, mostly starting in college. But over the past year or so, I've been more consistent than ever; journaling 4-5 times per week, several pages at a time. Sometimes, I worry that I'm bordering on obsessive and, yes, some of my consecutive entries read like a broken record. But still, when I look at the big picture and see the overall change in my general well-being and writing acuity, I can see that it's been good for me.
So, if you're on the fence about starting a journal, keep on reading to see six reasons why I highly, highly recommend it.
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It helps me organize my thoughts
And after all that scribbling, I can honestly say that I know myself better. Part of that, I'm sure, can be attributed to other factors, like maturity (and therapy) — but I do believe that spending the time to parse and reflect on my experiences on a semi-regular basis has really laid the groundwork for a clearer sense of self; a more introspective, more grounded me.
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It gives me perspective
Journaling helps me gain perspective on these incidents and the emotions they provoke. Think of it this way: Do you ever draft a livid email to someone? You never actually send it (well, except for the times you do), but the simple act of getting everything on the page usually makes you feel... better. Journaling is like that.
And lest I sound overly negative, it's also a good way of celebrating your successes — you can ramble on for pages about how happy you are in a way that wouldn't necessarily be deemed socially acceptable if you were saying things out loud.
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It's a creative outlet
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It sharpens my writing skills
Do you know what's made one of the most noticeable differences of all, though? Yeah, journaling. It allows me to try out different writing styles and conventions and sentence structures in a setting where I'm not being judged (since, obviously, my journals will be thrown onto my flaming funeral pyre when I die).
And maybe it's the practice of writing on a semi-regular basis, but I also feel more agile with my words somehow — like they come easier to me than they used to. I even feel like it's slightly expanded my vocabulary.
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