By Megha Khanna
When someone typically thinks about journaling, they imagine a pensive person, sitting comfortably in a chair, writing with a pen in an embellished journal. Though this can be what journaling looks like for some people, it is not the only way. It can also look like someone laying in bed typing on the notes app on their phone, or sitting on a train taking quick notes on a spiral notepad and even a person writing a page just to rip it up and set it on fire.
I began to journal often when my life decisions and choices landed me in a therapeutic boarding school all the way in Mexico. It was unimaginably difficult to be so far away from my life, but it was necessary to heal myself. Even now, as a part of my recovery, I find myself journaling.
Sometimes it has been hard to reach out for help when I feel distressed, so I often resort to writing. To me, journaling is a mix of self-expression and a place for me to gather all my thoughts. It is a form of art where using words as a medium helps in “untangling” my thoughts.
I got my first journal right after my grandfather’s death. My mom bought me a sparkly blue journal to help me cope. We began to fill it with memories and stories of him. Whenever I was missing him, we would write another good memory or read over the other ones. I also had several journals to write in during my travels or road trips. Eventually, I began keeping a journal in the notes section of my iPad and phone.
Throughout my journey with journaling, I have found that it has helped by positively impacting my life. I usually write down the thoughts that are in my mind, even though I wouldn’t necessarily say them out loud. Journaling has helped me express myself when it is hard to verbalize my thoughts. By getting the thoughts and ideas out of my head, I feel that I am allowing myself to be a step closer to mentally letting something go so it doesn’t continue to cause distress.
Often, journals are considered secret and personal because people feel that they cannot tell someone certain things. You can feel and think whatever you need with no additional judgment or interruptions. Allowing your thoughts to travel unfiltered directly from your mind to written words without any editing or corrections lets you collect your ideas without having to process it all right away.
Journaling is what you make it to be. The best part is that there are zero instructions, guidelines, or rubrics. Finally, you can only benefit from trying, so why not give it a try?