Journaling illustration

(Monica Sivayavirojna / Daily Titan)

College students’ lives have been slammed left and right with COVID-19’s presence. At times, it feels that despite the whiplash from life, we keep moving forward no matter what. As we experience the culmination of good days and bad days, we have to learn how to properly cope with the emotions that flare up. There are many healing methods for college students to utilize to control their emotions, stress and anxiety, but journaling is key to letting those emotions run wild through ink.

Journaling does not signify the whole ‘Dear Diary’ story. Rather, it is about jotting down and analyzing the thoughts racing through one’s mind. College students should take time out of their day to write and vent about situations that trigger anxiety. The release of bottled or suppressed emotions that eat at our psyches eventually becomes a healthy process stamped onto paper. 

Luckily, journaling can be a massive stress reliever for college students. According to a Suny study, “If college students were able to manage their stress in a healthy way, their health and well-being would improve, and they would live more fulfilled lives.” 

Investing leisure time to write in a journal when fuming or frustrated can be a beneficial  method to get rid of negative emotions in a hurry, leading to a more calm and sensible state of mind. Conveniently, journaling can be done nearly anywhere at any time. 

Journaling is also an excellent tool for self growth. Nighttime journaling has been the best for me. It is a perfect time for reflective journaling, looking back on the day and analyzing how I handled situations and what I could have done differently. By taking the time to sit down and write about the issues I faced, I feel like I am getting more of an ‘outside looking in’ type of view. 

If all of that isn’t eye-opening enough, journaling also enhances academic performance in students. According to a “Journaling and Mindfulness Program” study, when journaling is combined with mindfulness, there is an increase in the psychological well-being of the student population, including stress reduction that consequently improves the overall college atmosphere. 

There are several types of journaling techniques that can be utilized. There is bullet, free-flow, gratitude, letter, prompts and reflective. 

Bullet journaling is mostly used for organizing thoughts, while gratitude involves writing down the things in which you are grateful for in order to remember and focus more on positivity. Combining these styles of journaling can help create structure and balance for college students as they scribble down their daily activities and tune in on the happy moments. 

Letter writing is focused on processing emotions. Writing with prompts, however, allows one to ask themselves specific questions and provide answers. While these two styles are fundamentally different, they offer unique ways for growth by asking oneself difficult questions and processing their feelings.

Free-flow and reflective styles are a bit more in depth. Free-flow is uninhibited and uncensored. It is a free-for-all-style of writing that I like to use because it allows me to completely clear my mind when I have a whirlwind of thoughts that blur my judgement. Reflective journaling is when you have inner dialogue with yourself and peel the layers from every thought or event. No matter what your preference of journaling is, there is bound to be a type tailored for you. 

There are several benefits to journaling, especially for college students since it can help improve academic performance and overall health. It can help promote self growth and it doesn't cost much outside of using your cell phone battery or buying a pen and notebook. As time being spent to get a grip on reality is the only thing lost while journaling, delving into your flurry of thoughts in need of dissection is worth a shot.

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