I’ve never been much of a writer, but I recently decided to give it a shot, and wow, it’s actually incredible for helping clear your head, sort out your thoughts, and generally lift a weight from your shoulders.
I’ve tried keeping a diary several times in the past, but I was just never consistent in writing in it. Now that I look back, I never really had anything to write about. But with the stress of coming into adulthood, combined with my proclivity to be alone, writing out my thoughts seemed like the best answer. I have re-started making daily pages in my bullet journal, which allows for a lot more flexibility in how much page-space I can devote to anything I want. So now, if I’m feeling some sort of way and still want to be alone, I can simply start writing.
Journaling is incredibly freeing. Once I just let go of any sort of expectations, it was a piece of cake. Be sure to stay away from Instagram and more well-established blogs because while they may post very pretty spreads and have perfect handwriting, it just isn’t like that in real life. Yes, the amazing people behind those profiles and blogs are also human, and they do note that they aren’t perfect either, but as human beings on the internet, we always tend to want to put our best foot forward, so all too often, you only ever really see the amazingly decorated and neat journals. But it’s okay if your handwriting is not the best, or if you have zero art skills. Your journals is something that is meant for you and you alone, so all it needs is you, not those other bloggers with better handwriting.
The way I find to be most relaxing is just writing down what you’re thinking. No need to be poetic, or even have good grammar. I like to think that I am already the person I want to be in the future, and pretend like I’m writing to my past self. Or sometimes I’ll pretend to be a person that I admire, and write encouraging words to myself. I always start out with words of understanding. Like, it’s okay to feel this way and it’s okay to make mistakes. That sort of thing. And then I just go on to some affirmations, like you are already working hard. Or, hey, look at what you already accomplished in the past year; you’re doing great.
Next is the hardest part, which is confronting what’s really bothering me. I tend to overthink a lot, and I make mountains out of molehills. All too often, I start with some small thing, and start panicking and keep on thinking and thinking until I can’t stop thinking about how everything can go wrong. This is hard for my to acknowledge, because I don’t like thinking about bad things. No one does. But after I’ve been writing for a while, it gets a bit easier to write it out. I’ve found it helpful to acknowledge the worst case scenario you can possibly think of and work from there. Like, just in case it actually does happen, what can you still do. And once I start thinking like that, I realize that even if everything goes wrong, there’s still things I can do to improve my life or whatever it is that I’m worried about. And then it gets so much easier to consider all the scenarios and make plans for all of them.
What scares me the most is uncertainty of the future. I’m sure that a lot of people, especially young adults like me, are scared of the same thing. This transitional time of life when people my age are just starting to become truly independent is very stressful and scary. So I’ve found that just writing down and acknowledging all the things that you can do in even the direst of situations is very calming. Like, even if this happens, it’s not completely hopeless. Because I also deal with anxiety and depressive thoughts often, having this sort of safe headspace is relieving.
I usually only write a page or so. My journal has pretty small pages too, so it’s not like I’m writing a novella every day. But even just a few lines brings me more peace of mind than almost everything else.
Anyways, these are just my thoughts on journaling and writing. If you feel comfortable sharing, leave a comment below about how you deal with your thoughts and emotions when it gets too much. Do you find cathartic?