A few weeks ago, I published a blog on self-care (which you should check out if you haven’t!)
where I mentioned my adoration for journaling. Conversations I had after convinced me to
dedicate an entire blog post to journaling, so here it is:
I began journaling a little over three years ago. I decided I wanted to keep a journal because I
was about to spend the spring semester of my sophomore year of college studying abroad in
Rome, Italy. I thought a journal would be the perfect way for me to look back at my time abroad
later down the road.
However, it turned into so much more than that. As someone who is perpetually anxious,
journaling gave me an outlet to insert all of my fears about studying abroad. Don’t get me wrong,
I was beyond excited to be living in Europe for four months. But, of course, I was nervous about
being away for that long, missing out on things at home, moving to a country where I didn’t
speak the language or know anyone, etc.
I directly translated all of these fears into my journal. Ultimately, I did still get a little homesick
and I definitely did struggle sometimes with learning Italian, but after journaling I always felt so
much better. That’s where my journaling story began, but it’s nowhere near over.
To this day, I still journal when I am feeling anxious. Whether I write about my anxieties or just
jot down my day, I always feel better afterwards. Sometimes I don’t need to get every thought
onto the paper to feel lighter. The act of simply writing down some of my ideas helps me, which
is why I highly recommend journaling to everyone that I meet.
If you’ve never journaled before, maybe you find the idea a bit daunting, but I promise it’s not.
My favorite aspect of journaling is that it can be whatever you want it to be. If you want to treat
your journal as a diary, where you detail your day, go for it! If you want to use your journal to
write down all of your fears, or contrarily all of your dreams, you absolutely can!
My advice is to just go with what feels right. For me, my journal is a mess of sorts. I truly write
whatever I am thinking whenever I feel like it. Honestly, I am not a constant writer, I wish I was,
but I am not. Sometimes I don’t touch the notebook on my bedside table for weeks at a time.
Other times I write every day for a week straight, sometimes even twice a day. I think it’s
important to recognize that your journal is YOUR journal. Do what feels right.
If you’re interested in journaling, but don’t know where to start, there are hundreds of guided
journaling prompts that are available online. Sometimes we all need an extra nudge in the right
direction and this is the perfect solution. But to get you started, here are some prompts that have
sparked inspiration for me:
● What’s one thing that you are grateful for?
● If you could write a letter to your sixteen year-old self, what would you say?
● What is your most treasured memory?
● If you could plan a ‘perfect’ day, what would that entail?
● Who is someone that inspires you?
● What are you most proud of?
Even questions as simple as these can lead to a full page of thoughts. If you only write a few
sentences, that’s perfectly fine, too!
Sometimes I really struggle with how to start, but after the initial hesitation, I find that everything I wanted to write somehow makes it onto the page.
Make journaling what you want it to be. Don’t get bogged down by the pressure to write endless
pages. Utilize this resource to better yourself.
If you enjoy journaling, be sure to let us know in the comments. If you attempt journaling for the
very first time, definitely let us know how it goes!
Justin also talks about the importance of journaling in his life in the book, Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat The Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness and Love. Get your copy at re-definingnormal.com/shop