Journaling has many benefits. It can help with little things like processing each day. It can also help with mental health by allowing you to vent and work through various intense emotions. When it comes to bigger life changes like going to college, getting married, or changing jobs, journaling remains a premier activity to help you through the change.
Here are a few of the biggest ways that journaling can help you get through some of life’s biggest transitionary periods.
Journaling Can Ground You Amidst the Chaos
Life changes are often disruptive. After all, that’s why they’re changes, right? That said, you don’t have to surrender to the chaos without a second thought. That’s where your journal can come in handy.
The ability to record and process your experiences in a private and non-verbal space is invaluable. It forces you to slow down and consider how the ongoing transition is impacting your thoughts, feelings, and inner peace (or turmoil).
This does more than just help you understand that you’re stressed or upset about certain aspects of the ongoing change. It can also help you maintain a healthy perspective, as well.
Journaling gives you a point of view that is collected and rational. It doesn’t stir up emotions. On the contrary, a journal can help you calm down and process your feelings. It also helps you remember that transitions don’t last forever and change isn’t always a bad thing.
In cases where the change is more unpleasant, such as during a major health crisis or the loss of a loved one, journaling can also help you remember that life is still worth living and it’s okay to move forward.
Take the example of losing a close friend or family member. When that happens, it’s easy to take a pessimistic view of life. Apart from the natural struggle of losing someone close to you, you may have additional regrets or unresolved issues with the person who has passed. When that happens, it’s easy to feel that stability is gone and you are stuck in the painful present.
By journaling through these emotions, you can remind yourself that life outside of your current situation is worth living. One very effective way to do this is to create bullet lists that focus on things like others that love you or who depend on you as well as things that you’re thankful for in your life.
Whether you’re processing inner feelings, maintaining a healthy perspective, or reminding yourself why life is worth living, journaling has a unique power to ground you during a transition.
Journaling Helps You Identify Important Things
Journaling is an emotional activity for many. However, it can also serve some fairly practical purposes. Take, for example, the idea of changing jobs. As you journal, you may find that you’re struggling at your current position and need to make a career pivot. The simple act of identifying the need for change is already a great benefit of your journaling activities, but the help doesn’t stop there.
As you continue to journal through your days, activities, and experiences, you can also use it as an opportunity to look for ways to kickstart the professional change that you’re craving.
Look back through your journal and consider things that you’ve done. Did you volunteer for an organization that you’d like to work for? Did you visit a city or region that you’d love to relocate to?
Also, look for skills, talents, and achievements. It’s hard to consider all of your best qualities and accomplishments when you’re filling out an application. However, your journal can be a gold mine to help you find various soft skills and inherent talents that you didn’t realize that you already had. As you discover things like active listening or showing empathy, you can add them to your resume.
Likewise, as you review your journal, consider what things you’ve accomplished that you never considered within the scope of your professional life. You may have organized a large volunteer event or gone on a large number of international trips for your past job. As you discover the various activities, record them as achievements on your resume, too.
Journaling Can Serve As Evidence
Finally, journaling is always considered a highly personal activity. And in most cases, that is absolutely what it is. However, there are rare occasions when a journal can also help you out in a more public manner by serving as a way to keep track of things. This is especially likely to happen when large, fast-paced changes are taking place around you.
For instance, if you’re fighting for custody of your child, you may come up against a judge with either explicit or implicit bias against you and your ability to care for your children. In moments like these, something as small and seemingly insignificant as a journal entry can be used as critical evidence. Recording various activities, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings toward your children can help you prove that you’re worthy of custody while you’re in court.
Journaling Through Life’s Changes
Journaling is too often seen as a froufrou activity with little-to-no benefits. At most, it’s often associated with things like processing minor feelings and keeping track of how your day went.
The truth is, though, journaling is a powerful tool. It can help you through some of life’s most difficult changes.
Whether this is a positive, like getting married or heading off to college, or a negative, like losing a loved one or getting fired, journaling has the power to pull you through. It can ground your thoughts, help you track what’s important, and even serve as evidence in a pinch.
So don’t give up on your journal when things get tough or life gets busy. Make sure to spend some time writing each day that the change is taking place, even if it’s just for a few minutes. The benefits far outweigh the hassle, and the added peace of having a calm and familiar space to retreat to in times of need is difficult to overstate.