Sometimes when you are going through a lot, whether it be in your academic, personal, or professional life, it helps to write it down. Now, this might sound like a quote pulled out of pinterest, but it actually holds a lot of truth. We already spend so much time typing and writing, so why not take some time to write down those thoughts and words that are limiting the space in our minds?
Contrary to popular belief journaling has been scientifically proven to bring many benefits to our well-being. Journaling creates mindfulness, reduces stress, boosts memory, and serves as a tool for healing. I’d like to share my own experience to serve as an example of how powerful the art of journaling can be not only to your mental but physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
I used to be very fond of writing. As a little girl I would always keep a diary simply because it was something my friends did. At the time, I did not understand how journaling was impacting my health. All along it was benefitting me in many ways. Not only did it contribute to my learning of the English language as a native Spanish speaker, but it allowed me to always remain in touch with myself and my well-being. Growing up in a community with gang violence and discrimination against the undocumented kept you watchful, fearful, and forced you to challenge yourself to remain positive against all odds. Furthermore, growing up within a culture that forces you to internalize emotions and feelings instead of expressing them, journaling became my haven. Through journaling I was able to write down all of my fears, my goals, my aspirations and how I would move forward regardless of adversity.
I practiced journaling throughout my entire high school career. And I would say that the practice of journaling contributed to my acceptance to UCLA–of course the main contributors were my family, friends, and privilege to have educators that encouraged my intellectuality–but if I hadn’t written everything that ever bothered, excited me, or contributed to my happiness, mentality I could not have made it past high school.
College challenged my practice of journaling. With all the school work load I found it hard to find time to write for my own benefit or for fun; instead, I always felt I needed that time to review notes or write essays. Recently, I went through a very difficult mental breakdown where my mental health was placed at risk. After going to therapy and having a spiritual epiphany, I realized I needed to pick up my pen as I used to before. I had forgotten how beneficial journaling was to me. I have begun to make time for myself and began journaling again. And during this time of stress with finals I can say I’ve never felt any healthier. Journaling has allowed me to remember how important it is for you to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually well in order to perform well in anything you do in life.
Monica Aguilar is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Chicano/a Studies and minoring in Spanish and Food Studies. She is the outgoing project director of FITTED a health and wellness student-run project held in the Community Programs Office.