Journaling to Learn about Yourself

Have you ever received a gift that you didn’t use?

A journal is that gift with its crisp, blank paper waiting to receive mind-blowing creativity and inspiration. You received the journal, complemented its beauty, and thanked the giver.

Sure, the journal looked appealing. You tried writing on the first few pages, made lists, or even tried writing thoughts of gratitude. The journal was just another task in your way, something you couldn’t make time for and frankly, you were so involved in school and sports that playing around with a journal sounded silly at best. You threw the journal in your closet and forgot about it for weeks, months, and maybe even years.

Since coronavirus, you’ve been forced to clear your calendar and pause activities, sports, and school. Many are spending their newfound time mindlessly binging shows, making TikToks, and going to the refrigerator looking for snacks.

If you’re reaching absolute boredom, take an adventurous journey inward and let journaling increase your mindfulness.

Teens can be some of the loneliest humans on the planet. Even teens in large families can feel as though no one really sees them. Journaling is a forum where you can spend time with your thoughts. Physically writing out what you’re thinking can help you investigate your mind and feels similar to talking out your thoughts with someone and hearing yourself process. Mindfulness increases as you acknowledge the presence of your thoughts in a non-judgmental and curious manner.

The human mind is very busy thinking. The jury is still out on the average amount of thoughts the brain thinks in one day. Journaling can help you do some significant thought investigation and improve self-awareness. When one is more self-aware of their thoughts and emotions, it leads to a greater sense of health. At Aspire, we desire for our students to be in a state of optimal health where everything in your life is functioning in balance – including your emotions.

In the classroom, we tell our students that there are no wrong answers to our questions. All we ask from our students is honesty, empathy and trust. Journaling can be a lot like the classroom – there are no wrong answers and a journal is a great place to write (or even doodle) your honest thoughts.

There is no set way to journal. Seriously. You can write in bullet points, complete sentences, fragments, leave out punctuation, or even add doodles. Unlike your current reality, you are free in your journal! Put pen (or pencil) to paper and write whatever comes to mind.

Sound overwhelming? Start simply with outlining your values and goals. If you have access to your Aspire workbook from class, check out the “20 Questions to Discover your Passion” activity on page 59. Just pick one question and you’ll start a productive journaling sesh. Undoubtedly, you’ve been encouraged to set goals and choose values, but maybe you’ve never really spoke those into existence. A journal is a great place to write out your viewpoints. Start a free flowing line of communication with yourself, asking questions like, “What excites me?” That question alone can begin a conversation where you can brainstorm ideas. Don’t be afraid to use multiple pages to really hone in on what you’re all about.

Using this time to journal about your desires, goals and dreams can set you up for success in your relationships! When you have a greater sense of self-worth and purpose, you are able to stay true to who you are in your friendships, dating relationships and family. It can be easy to compromise your values and boundaries when you want to impress important people in your life, but it’s imperative that you stay true to who you are. At Aspire, we teach our students that it’s necessary to set up boundaries within your relationships. Use this time to journal to think about your boundaries, your self-worth and your purpose.

Are you feeling inspired? Go find that journal you threw in your closet a few years ago. Don’t have a journal? Grab a cheap spiral notebook. Start there. When you’ve made journaling a habit (start easy—if you set aside just ten minutes a day and honor that commitment to yourself, you’ll begin developing a journaling habit that can evolve into something more over time), you can grab a fancier journal. It’s up to you.

Come out of this current crisis more connected to you. Put down your phone and spend some time on self-care. You’re worth it! Shake up your routine and start writing.