In good condition

Journal provides outlet for self reflection, progress


In good condition is a column that discusses topics of mental and physical health. It provides examples of ways to be in tune with both subjects and focus on one’s all-around “condition.”

More often than not, friends in my life have shared nostalgic stories of hidden diaries underneath their bed. It acted as their outlet to confess struggles or drama from the week.

This phase for many often ends as one develops into a young adult — where other responsibilities take over free time, or friends take over the role of a place to “open up.”

Yet, an outlet for personalized writing does not have to end when individuals enter adulthood. 

As I began my first year of college — a physical new chapter of my life — giving journaling a chance has become one of the most influential characteristics of my everyday well-being. 

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the university continues to explore methods to engage with their youth audience and showcase benefits found on the practice of journaling.

You get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts and feelings,” the article said. “It is a time when you can de-stress and wind down.”

As an avid writer throughout high school journalism or English courses, I never felt the need to place additional time to write within my schedule. The outlet already seemed like my primary focus every day.

Little did I know, making the leap to journal became one of the most useful tools I have seen to relieve stress, focus on my mental health and grow as a communicator.

This last summer, many individuals around me could relate to the ever changing world we were surrounded by. 

As friends came and left and time was spread thin, we all were surrounded by an overwhelming level of chaos.

To combat this, I began to write down daily events. Whether good or bad, it served as a simple start to the world I am now so enveloped in. 

A study done by Mic concludes that forms of “expressive writing” or keeping a journal have shown long term benefits to individuals’ mental and physical well being — even for a casual 10-15 minutes of writing time a day.

In addition to mental health awareness, journaling has been shown to increase a more detailed memory of recounting events, according to Intermountain Healthcare.

One of my very good friends currently utilizes a journal for this very function. She now possesses the ability to look back on past experiences and remember details she may not have otherwise.

As I continue to journal each day, it in many cases has become a form of therapy for my own emotional health and a reflection on troubling past experiences.

I now possess the ability to express my thoughts in full — without judgment. Alongside the ability to reflect on my thinking process, I can also visualize both my growth and areas of improvement within daily interactions.

My journal has also given me a newfound interest in creative freedom, as I explore new options to express my thoughts. 

One of these being visual collages — a compilation of memories and even more visual tokens.

While the thought of taking additional time to reflect on your day seems tedious or hard to accomplish — I continue to share the positive effects a journal has had on my life to friends and family. In hopes to inspire others.

Whether you journal, talk with a loved one or simply take five minutes to think about your day — opening yourself up to reflection can become an important practice to implement across a lifetime. 

At the end of the day, a journal is about you and your true self. The ways you choose to reflect this are endless and instill a solidified place without judgment. 

“Every page is wrapped in grace, reminding you it’s okay to feel what you need to feel and to say what the heart is longing to say,” a quote from Morgan Harper Nichols, a writer and musician.

The perfect words to describe the impact of a journal and the power it gives to the mind and body.

Nelson can be reached at [email protected]