Last May, I decided to start writing regularly in a journal so that I could improve my awful handwriting. Now that my penmanship has improved, however, I’ve started to notice the many other positive effects that journaling has had on my life since I started six months ago. Especially now, while on my gap year in Israel, I’ve found journaling to be extremely meaningful and have been pleasantly surprised to see so many of my peers feel the same way.
The first few weeks of my program were relatively uneventful, as it began with a two-week-long quarantine and led into a three-day-long desert trip that saw many activities canceled due to an oppressive heat wave. I might have overlooked all of the fun I had in those weeks had I not had my handy journal with me the whole time. Every day I made sure to take note of my many seemingly insignificant experiences. Looking back on my notes now, I can see that writing down those small details allowed me to better appreciate the experiences I did have and subsequently made quarantine and my trip itself more enjoyable. I believe that journaling can be useful for everyone because, in addition to being a tool for appreciation, it can help you process your thoughts and reactions so that you can be more intentional about how you move through life. Whenever I’ve had a bad day, I’ve found it helpful to write down my emotions, because I can then process my experiences more rationally and frequently come to the realization that there’s a lot less to worry about than I initially thought. Not only that, this process also helps me figure out where I’ve made mistakes so I can then improve myself on a daily basis. Furthermore, because I have my goals written down, I hold myself more accountable when I lose track of those goals.
The beautiful thing about writing in a private journal is that there are no restrictions and no filters. Some days I choose to describe an event minute by minute with extreme detail; other days I choose to illustrate my emotional state through a poem. Because there are no guidelines when it comes to journaling, there’s also no pressure. No matter how long or detailed or grammatically correct my entry is, I always put my pen down in satisfaction knowing I’ve managed to unravel a piece of my intricate mind.