By: Alena You
Types of Journaling
Many people journal for many different reasons. One type of journaling is a mind dump. When you experience feelings or thoughts that are difficult to process or feel complex, mind-dumping is an excellent way to release those thoughts and process them on your own time. For example, when I first failed my SAT and ACT, I started journaling my thoughts down. It was helpful to keep track of my thoughts and feelings. It is essential to know how experiences make you feel by self-reflecting in order to communicate that to yourself. It helped me understand these things by myself before I went to seek advice from peers. Another way to journal is for decision-making. To do this, write a list of the pros and cons of each decision you want to make. Sometimes, visually having a list of those reasons can help you understand which types of aspects of the decision you are willing to compromise on. There are endless ways that you can journal, but these are just two of the ones that I like to use for academic success. Next, we will explain a few benefits of journaling.
Keeping Track of Intentions and Goals
Journaling can help keep track of intentions and goals. Before we make a big decision like deciding on the college we want to go to, picking between sports, or where we want to work, writing down your goals and intentions can ensure your decision is in line with your mission. It is easy to get distracted from your focus when a particular moment becomes too overwhelming or difficult to process. Journaling helps us write down important moments in our life timeline and forces us to reflect on what is actually happening. After having the goals documented, you can look back at previous situations and see what is or what is not serving your mission. You are able to reflect on what is true to your intentions and in the direction of your goal. You can also track your mood over time with the tone of each entry, and how that is improved over time. It is important to reflect on why you want to make certain decisions, what other effects would that decision create, and what are the shortcomings of that decision. After all, it is a physical document of everything you have ever journaled.
Strengthen Our Memory
Surprisingly, journaling helps us with better memory and retention. When you are writing notes in class or writing down a phone number to save in your contacts, it helps retain the information more. I used to write down my dreams the morning after on Apple Notes. Doing this helped me remember them a lot better because I was able to read and recall them again. I still remember some of those dreams to this day, as a detailed video in my mind. It is the same concept as journaling. You will be able to remember more of your critical moments in your journey, especially having written them down and reflected on the situations. They can teach you some great lessons for the future.
Communicate Better Solutions
Journaling is indeed an active skill to create better solutions. Translating the thoughts and feelings from your mind onto paper can be complex, so actively building that skill set can help you communicate the situation better to yourself and find better solutions. For example, I remember experiencing feelings of juggling too many things on my plate. After writing them down, I have found that I have a total of 5 different commitments that I had to balance all at once. Then, I had to make a decision to focus on just two things outside of class. After looking at what you’ve journaled visually, it is easier to break down how many hours are needed to spend on each activity and then realistically take action and create solutions for them. If I hadn’t written it down, I would’ve probably not known how long each commitment takes! Journaling can not only help you see things more clearly but makes you communicate with yourself better.