The COVID-19 pandemic increased symptoms of anxiety and depression tremendously, according to multiple pieces of research. With that in mind, many people had to find unique ways of processing and coping with said symptoms and I’ve found that journalling was one of the top ways in which many people coped and processed. Journalling is not a new concept. Human beings have been documenting, drawing, or writing about their feelings since the earliest civilisations. It has, however, gained more popularity in the past three years due to its helpfulness during the pandemic. I must admit that some of the “trends” behind journalling are focused on the aesthetic aspect of it. Yes, it can be creative, but that shouldn’t be the main focus. At least, it shouldn’t be acknowledged as “just another TikTok trend” because its importance and the benefits are more than that.
Journalling is a documentation or written account of an individual’s emotions and thoughts as they try to navigate and understand life. Journalling has no specific way of execution. It is a personal account of how you feel. Journalling can be formally structured or can be just random thoughts being written down. You can write for 10 minutes or choose to write for an hour. Quite frankly, I won’t sit here and advise you on exactly what you should journal or write because everyone and their communication styles will vary. Some people may think that words are limiting to their emotions, so they draw illustrations or sketches of what they feel instead of writing. Some people may type in a virtual journal, or some may write a physical one. If you’re now getting into the concept of journalling, I’d advise you to find what works best for you and your emotions. There are many styles of journalling to choose from, such as; daily journalling, gratitude journalling and my favourite—expressive writing journalling.
Sometimes, when all of these emotions and thoughts are in your head— it can pose a challenge because some emotions may be suppressed or even deeply internalised. As such, journalling gives you an outlet to see what you’re feeling in front of you and ultimately leads to you seeing your emotions in a sequence that you can make sense of. You will be able to point out cause and effect and eventually you can come up with possible solutions to whatever challenges you may face as well. Some people, especially visual learners, may not be able to write their emotions but can draw it and make sense of it. Journalling has helped many people make sense of those scary, unforgettable times during the pandemic. It allowed them to pen their deepest, scariest or saddest feelings while they were quarantining themselves with just four walls as company.
It is important to note that journalling will not always be the aesthetically pleasing, fun and creative thing to do, as TikTok concept creators would advertise. Journalling can also be a cause of anxiety by itself because of the realisations of certain emotions or thoughts that can happen after you’ve written it all down. It is a deeply personal and brutally painful experience for some because it can help you dive into certain emotions you prefer not to experience, such as grief or anger. Sometimes, you may even have to force yourself to sit and write as well. These moments should not be a call for worry as it is your awakening to self-awareness and in the long run, it will help you tremendously to process difficult emotions into thoughts.
There will be days when your journal is a list of aspirations or there will be days when your journal will make the perfect script for the saddest movie script ever— everyday is a new challenge or opportunity that deserves to be explored. Your entries truly depend on you and the topics you’d like to explore and process. You must also share your journalling notes with your therapist or professional counsellor so they can professionally help if needed. Journalling can be a fulfilling experience to those who are willing to work through their difficulties through the use of this recommended outlet. You simply have to be able to take the first steps of trying.