The Art of Journaling
By Marissa Tafoya
I bought a journal recently because lately I have been feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and tired. I need something to process my thoughts in a productive way. The last time I owned a journal was in 7th grade (10 years ago lol) and I still have the journal tucked away in a storage bin, so I thought it would be funny to look back at my entries. To no surprise, reading back each entry was painfully cringey, but they’re too funny to not share. In honor of my journaling revival, here is a snippet from my first journal entry in 7th grade… word for word.
June 19 2010
“So, where do I begin... I’m first off going to say that I have promised myself to write a journal entry everyday for the rest of my life no matter what situation I’m in. I think it will help me in a good way. On that note, I’m very, very excited because its finally Summah Vacation! <3 ! All though I am glad to get away from all the drama (that I will vent about l8r!) and even though the escape from school is nice I already miss all my great, amazing, awesome, funny, crazy, ridonkulous friends!”
My commitment to journaling was quite a bold statement but fell short, considering the journal only has four days worth of entries, but I do admire the ambition and determination I had in that moment. I’m actually more concerned that the word “ridonkulous” was part of my daily vocabulary?? As much as I had believed my 7th grade life was filled with drama, the year 2010 has had nothing on 2020 so far.
This year has been intense to say the least. Within the past 8 months, we have been experiencing a global pandemic, job loss and job shortages, a much needed spark of racial/ social justice activism, heightened humanitarian crises in the Global South, a devastating explosion in Beirut, the USPS being endangered, California on fire yet again, and a looming presidential election. Many of our minds are so overloaded with information, concerns, and fear of what could happen next. Instead of effectively reflecting and taking action, we feel burnt-out. Expressing thoughts, feelings, and questions in a journal could really help improve daily functioning, creativity, happiness, and decrease stress if done effectively.
If you’re interested in starting a journal, here are 3 tips I’ve gathered to make the process as healing and helpful as possible:
Don’t feel limited to a typical journal format.
Remember that it’s your journal and you can make the rules! If one day you feel like expressing your thoughts or feelings through a drawing or poem, do that!
If you’re worried about taking too much time out of your day, set a timer!
Putting aside 5 to 10 minutes to journal is a great start (right when you wake up or before bed is a good way to weave it into a daily routine).
Let it flow.
This should be a mind exercise that feels natural, not forced, so stick to your unfiltered stream of consciousness!