A careful log of the last 11 years of my life is neatly archived in files housed in a nondescript folder on my laptop. Of course, the folder is also appropriately backed up externally to avoid ever being accidentally lost. There is no way I could have known how important journaling would become to me when I opened my first online account as I graduated from the eighth-grade, but it quickly became a favored pastime.
In high school, a “fun” part of my day was heading home after school and reporting what happened in each class – in way too much detail – to my Xanga. Years later, I would often decompress from a grueling 12-hour workday at my first small-town newspaper job by writing a quick (or long!) entry. Journaling was, is, and always will be an essential part of my life. Here’s why I love my silent best bud so much and would recommend trying it out, too, even if you’re not big on writing.
1. Rant Away, No Shame
You know who doesn’t care if you are furious that someone cut you off on the highway or how upset you are that you somehow managed to burn your kale chips despite strictly following the easy recipe? Your journal. It doesn’t have feelings. Unlike your friends, it won’t eventually grow tired of hearing about your awful ex-boyfriend who you broke up with a year and a half ago. You can complain for as long as you want about anything at all and, no worries, your journal won’t judge. It’s a beautiful thing.
2. Mind Cleanser
Sure, activities like yoga, meditation or sweating in public classes work to clear some people’s minds. For others? It’s all about grabbing a pen and notepad (or laptop) and diving right into their psyche to work life’s messes. Sometimes functioning day-to-day can be downright tough, and if you’re anything like me (namely: exercise sounds painful), journaling is the perfect way to quickly clear your mind. Just write down whatever you’re thinking – without trying to formulate it as if it’s some bestselling novel – and re-read what you wrote. Think about the meaning of it, take a deep breath, close your notepad (walk away from your laptop), and continue with your day.
3. Unbiased Creative Outlet
Everyone needs a place to be free and open, and sometimes Microsoft Word documents just don’t cut it. That bestselling novel mentioned in the previous point? You can brainstorm ideas and plot lines for that in your journal too. Or write a silly poem or song lyrics or haiku. If you feel like sharing the finished product, it’s even better!
4.Illustrates Life’s Progression
Sometimes change is absurd, comes out of nowhere and is terrifying. And sometimes, simple progression seems to take forever. A journal is the perfect outlet to chronicle daily happenings that may seem banal, but could be fun to look back on one day. I can say from experience that I often open my archives and check to see what I was up to several years ago on a particular day. It’s often hilarious – and many times, I’m surprised that I’m reading my own words!