How can you relate to writing?
What does writing bring out in you? Your plans, emotions, realization, unraveling or expressive thoughts? Or was it just a childhood diary filled with secrets?
When I was a teenager, I kept a secret diary that I would scribble a bunch of my thoughts into. Currently, I still do! Except, with much maturity, intention, and purpose – also known as journaling.
When I moved to this country as an international student, the most effective tool was writing ! That is how I explored my feelings, thoughts and recorded my journey. Writing about what came up every day helped me learn through my experiences without being overwhelmed and allowed me to step back to analyze such a fast transition.
Some of the things that journaling helped me unpack were:
- The cultural differences: How do I adapt to this change in environment.
- Education style: How do I better understand and excel in this education system?
- Fast-paced life: I understood that some cultures take less time to live in the moment than chase the tomorrow.
- Distance: Let’s be honest, the most challenging thing about moving to a different country was missing family, and a lot of times, you do not want to tell them how sad you are, but I realized I could write about it.
The first step is simply understanding what comes up, recognizing, and then slowly tracking the root of it all. We all have such a fast-paced life that prevents us from thinking about what we truly feel. Where does this emotion come from? What is the trigger? Where do I start….? A lot of us lack awareness and do not allow emotions to be expressed. The answer to all of this begins with understanding what one’s complicated mind contains. Be aware of what you are feeling today; if you are happy, write about what brings you happiness, and if you are sad or stressed, then you can write about what is an effective way of dealing with that emotion. It is all about recognizing and acknowledging before dealing with it healthily.
Evidence shows the benefits of journaling; just like therapy being a verbal help, there has been extensive research ongoing about the written process that combines verbal and written functions (Hayman et al., 2012). This is usually done by understanding the client and giving them specific structured questions that help them self-explore.
How can you benefit from journaling? Here are a couple of things journaling can help with:
- Helping track progress
- Help stay positive, self-awareness of negative thoughts
- Helps relax and write about something you might not be ready to talk about
- Keeps you focused on a task, prioritize and stay on track
- Journal prompts for self-affirmation
- Identifying challenges
In the end, all that matters is how we show up for ourselves in helpful ways to cater to our needs and nurture our soul and body. So be mindful and write away… until you are ready to speak!
With Intention, Laura Zozimus – Intentional Simplicity Intern
Hayman, B., Wilkes, L., & Jackson, D. (2012). Journaling: Identification of challenges and reflection on strategies. Nurse Researcher, 19(3), 27–31. https://doi.org/10.7748/nr2012.04.19.3.27.c9056