The Art of Journaling, Especially When It's Scary

The art of journaling has many healing properties for the mind. It helps us to process our thoughts and feelings when we feel that we can’t explain our deepest thoughts to the next human for fear of them disregarding or downsizing our emotions. It’s scary to put our thoughts out there and being vulnerable for the rest of people to see, but one form of sharing our thoughts in a way that isn’t necessarily telling someone except the lines on a few pages is journaling. For many, journaling is a time of meditation, healing, and perhaps casually sharing our experiences of the day.

For me, writing has been a safe haven for as long as I can remember. Whether I want to notice it or not, I always find myself coming back to writing or words in general when the going gets tough. If I’m not finding solace in writing, I’m finding solace in books because words, especially deep and powerful ones, have the abilities to make you feel and heal all at the same time. Journaling can take different forms: writing a word each day you wake up, a sentence, digital journaling, or pen to paper journaling. They are all forms which are valid.

Yesterday made a full month that I’ve journaled consistently since the death of my aunt which as I type out now still doesn’t feel real. Perhaps since we are in the midst of the pandemic nothing feels real right now, but once we are out, it will hit all at once that some of us will never see a person in our lives again. Yet, I turned to writing because I knew it would help me when I didn’t feel comfortable enough to vocalize my thoughts.

I remained pretty consistent, except for one day which I will not beat myself up for. Creating a habit takes time and patience. But since that missing day I created a reminder for myself to journal because I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity due to negligence and letting the night go by without putting pen to paper. Looking back on the thirty day journaling prompt which I did through YouTuber Lohanthony, courtesy of my friend sending me the prompts, I was able to learn about myself and think a little bit more about my thoughts and who I was as a person. I can’t recall the last time I actually journaled this consistently because I neglected the act of writing, and only writing when I was really really feeling upset. However, it’s reenergized this need to tell my thoughts to someone or something.

With the prompts I learned to not fear putting my words on paper, but to be as brutally honest as I can. Sometimes there’s this fear of not telling the full truth of what we are feeling even to our journal. Why is that? Are we afraid to read the truth about ourselves even though no one else is reading it? Perhaps, because if we put it down then it makes it real and we’d rather live in a state that these emotions aren’t actually existing. Journaling is a process, and opening up to this notebook is a big step despite what others may think. Putting our complete and honest thoughts and seeing them stare back at you from the page allows us to face how scared or worried or happy we feel. And it’s okay to feel regardless of society’s stigma that feelings shouldn’t be felt or vocalized.

Going forward with journaling I want to remain consistent. Not only consistency, but holding myself accountable to writing and not just when I am feeling bad, but because writing at the end of the day, really does help me heal. I want to write without fear and reread my words after writing no matter how much the words may scare me. And for those that are struggling in the process to remain consistent. Write one word in the morning or night to reflect on moving forward. Take the baby steps to a sentence, a paragraph, half a page, and more until everything that needs to falls onto paper. Baby steps are crucial to growth, and even journaling takes patience.

The art of journaling has many healing properties. Journaling is also about growth and patience with oneself.