Keeping a journal or diary is often painted in a poor light. It has probably had a bad wrap as the chore assigned to you in elementary school, and it sounds like a cheesy thing to do, but it can actually be very helpful and beneficial. If you are shy at the thought of really owning the concept, know that this does not have to be a public item. It does not have to be advertised to your peers that you reflect on paper, it can be a secret, and a happy one at that!
A journal or diary, whichever you prefer to call it, can bring personal comfort during times when you wish to meditate on things in a constructive manner. Consider this mental exercise where you can rid yourself of bad thoughts and stress. When you see your words on paper, it helps put things in perspective when you have pressing things on your mind. If you are preparing for a speech or difficult conversation, writing it down can help you be more articulate in your argument. As they say, “practice makes perfect.” In this sense, writing anything down, even for fun and/or personal use, helps with articulating yourself in other non-journal writing.
Reflecting in your journal clears your mental clutter so that you can have a healthier head space. Writing down your thoughts, or anything you wish to keep in your journal helps as a cathartic release for pent up thoughts or emotions. Writing after an upsetting event can help you process your feelings and better understand how your thoughts and emotions connect. Outside of being a release, it can help with your mood by lifting your spirits. When you are feeling low, write down the things that you like the most about yourself. They can be anything from physical traits, to personality, or other things that you think you excel at.
With a documentation on your thoughts, wishes, dreams, daily life, or whatever you choose to write about, you can track your progress regarding goals that you might have. For example, writing about your goals in school and how you are making it every step of the way will help you in the long run when you see your steps laid down on paper in front of you. A journal is super helpful once you start planning your road to college!
The beautiful thing about keeping a personal journal is that you can do this whichever way and however often you like. Some will find that writing on a daily basis is very rewarding exercise and might choose to make it a part of their lives that often. Others might find that reflecting every couple of days, once a week, or even once a month is the best for them.