De Anda: Write in a journal for your own benefit


Opinion editor Melanie De Anda believes that writing in a journal has benefited her growing up. She argues that journaling can help people in multiple different ways. 

Melanie De Anda

For me, writing has always been the way that I express myself. Beginning from a very young age, I spent a lot of time filling journals from beginning to end with pens that seemed to run out of ink way too soon.

I don’t know what encouraged me to write, but I am always grateful that I took the chance to try it out. When I write, a sense of serenity washes over me every time I spill my thoughts onto a page. Writing has always helped me balance out whatever thoughts might be disrupting my peace.

A journal can function for multiple purposes. I always try to make time at least once a day to write in my journal. Whether that means I end up writing about a random idea I had, thoughts of the day, letters that will never get sent, notes-to-self or random self-debates of topics I’ll never discuss with another human being — I write away.

For some people, journaling would be considered the equivalent of a ‘dear diary’ moment that is written in every coming-of-age cliche film. But it is so much more than that and most definitely should not be considered corny.

Multiple studies have been conducted in regards to the positive outcomes that journaling has. The studies usually deal with the cognitive effects of processing emotion. 

There are also other beneficial reasons that journaling provides. Keeping a journal can help the writer organize their thoughts. Those who choose to keep a journal and write in it regularly are able to make better sense of past experiences and create a better mindset for future ones.

Another way you can use your journal is to talk about your goals. Don’t let your ambitions hang in the air without a clue as to how you’re going to achieve them. Write down what you are trying to accomplish and talk about it. Writing down your goals and ambitions in the form of a timeline where you explain to yourself where you are in the process of achieving that goal can help you reach it. 

A psychology professor from the Dominican University of California conducted a study with 267 participants — out of the 267, only 149 completed the study. The study divided the participants into five different groups and were asked to either simply think about their goals, write about them or share them with a friend. Those who wrote down their goals had either accomplished their goals or were at least halfway there.

There are many more benefits that can be added onto the list of reasons why one should consider keeping a journal around to write down things they consider important. It simply comes down to the writer to make the first move and write away their thoughts.

Despite these reasons for using a journal, there is not a single right or wrong way to write in them. You can use them in whatever way, shape or form benefits you most in your daily life.

If you have no idea what to start writing about, perhaps consider buying a journal that asks daily prompts. This will help get you accustomed to writing more often and may evoke an idea on what you perhaps want to write about without being prompted to do so.

Whether it is five minutes, an hour or tiny increments of time scattered within your breaks and free time, write. On top of it all, you don’t have to worry about what others may think. Your journal is a safe space to put anything you feel is worth writing down and for some, writing can be a very personal thing, so write your heart away.