Teen Breathe

Why start a journal?

It doesn’t judge, doesn’t laugh, doesn’t tell. It just listens – and then listens some more. Here’s why it’s a great idea to keep a journal!

1 It’s a great way to find your voice and build inner confidence, especially at times of great change, physically and emotionally.

2 If you are working towards a goal, say, a special badge in Guides, or studying for exams, it can be useful to track your progress.

3 It can help to process and understand events (the good and the not-so-good) and any potentially difficult emotions, anxieties or concerns that might surround them. (And sometimes it’s good just to be able to vent your frustrations without repercussions.) There are many issues you could explore:

» If you’re feeling low, or a little lost, and don’t know why, you can keep asking yourself/your journal the reasons for your feelings until you come to see potential answers.
» If you’re worried about not being popular or interesting, a journal can help you to see that everyone is unique and interesting, and you have plenty to offer the world.
» If you’re feeling under pressure to behave in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable, a journal can be
a means of finding the strength to say ‘No’.
» If someone at school or college has stopped talking to you a journal gives you the ideal space and opportunity to explore any potential reasons (as unreasonable as they may be), and how you feel about them. This can help you act in a more composed manner in ‘real’ life.

4 It’s a safe place where you can admit things that might otherwise make you feel vulnerable or ashamed (even though they shouldn’t). If you’re being bullied for example, admitting it is happening to you can be incredibly hard. But once you take the first step in sharing the problem with your journal, you are better equipped to go on from there and tell a person who can help you to resolve the situation.

5 By observing patterns in your behaviour, as well as those in the people around you, you see emotions are changeable and fluctuate from day to day and even moment to moment. This helps to understand that just because someone’s angry today it doesn’t mean they’ll still be angry tomorrow.

6 It can help clarify thoughts and opinions, and improve communication. By writing about subjects other than yourself, concerns you might have about the environment for example, you are better able to tackle these large subjects in open discussions without feeling overwhelmed.

7 Learning to be uncensored in your writing and focusing primarily on just getting things out of your head and on to the page can help with creative writing.

8 As you make note of what happens in your life, seeing it all written down can help you appreciate the little things that make life wonderful. Your favourite song coming on the radio seconds after talking about it, for instance, or the smell of freshly-mowed summer grass.

9 Your journal can also help you see how all situations, even the worst, tend to balance out over time.

10 There are even some scientists who believe keeping a journal regularly can help your mind and your body to fight disease!

Words: Jade Angeles Fitton.
Illustrations: Shutterstock
Article extract from issue 1 of Teen Breathe – order digital edition here