The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives. We hope you can use their post to start a conversation with your adolescent.
I feel a sense of clarity after journaling. It’s as if I’ve handed all of my anxious thoughts to the paper, taking some of the weight off of my mind. But journaling can seem daunting. How do you start? What even is journaling? I’m no expert, but I’ve been on and off journaling throughout my entire life and have recently gotten back into the groove of (somewhat) daily journaling. In this article I will tell you about the benefits of journaling and will give you some tips for starting. If you already journal, I hope this can offer some new inspiration as to how you can approach it.
Get things off your chest.
Rant. In a time in which many of us are unable to talk with friends in person, think of your journal as a friend. You’ll be surprised about how much you end up writing.
It’s a judgement-free zone
You can be your truest self – you’re the only person who will see this. Write all of your secrets. Things you’re scared of saying out loud. As someone with anxiety, I’ve been conditioned to worry about how my words will be perceived by others. When journaling, this worry is erased – and it’s so freeing.
Gain a better sense of self
As you reflect upon your emotions and thoughts, you’ll notice things about yourself that you would have otherwise overlooked. After journaling, I feel more in touch with myself. It’s kind of like a bonding activity between myself and I.
It’s a time capsule of your thoughts
There’s nothing more satisfying than looking back and being able to say, wow I’ve grown so much. Your journal will show an evolution of your outlook on life, your mental health, life stories and much more. In a year or many years from now you can read back and see how you’ve grown.
How do I journal?
There’s no certain way to journal! Allow your writing to take unexpected twists and turns. Maybe your story will turn into a poem or a jot dot list. Maybe you like to organize your thoughts with arrows and circles. Or maybe you love to doodle. Don’t limit yourself. Allow your thoughts to take any form they wish.
Now, an empty journal can be daunting. My personal favorite way to start journaling is with some prompts. Here are some questions you can answer that will get you writing about your day. There’s no one way to answer these questions. Write lists, stories, quotes – whatever floats your boat. Allow the prompts to serve jumping points for your thoughts.
- What made you smile today?
- What was hiding in the back of your mind today?
- What made you angry today? What made you anxious?
- What are you thankful for today?
- Did anything surprising happen today?
- What did you do for yourself today? Or what can you do for yourself tomorrow?
Maybe you don’t want to write about your day. Maybe you want to gain some deeper insight into yourself. Here are some jumping points for that:
- When do you feel like your truest self?
- What people do you enjoy being around and why?
- What are five things you’re proud of yourself for?
- Describe happiness
- What’s a childhood memory you think about often?
- What do you want right now?
- Describe your perfect day.
- What fascinates you? Why do you think that is?
- What would you do if you could do anything?
Did you journal growing up? How would you talk about something private and personal, like journaling, with your child? Do you think journaling would benefit them?