On a day-to-day basis, we experience bumps in the road that deter us from our goals. This detour can cause us to build up various thoughts or emotions that can be both positive and negative. Often, our negative thoughts are the ones that stay and influence how we think and act. There are many ways we can cope with how we are feeling, but one way that allows us to visualize our emotions creatively is through journaling.

What is journaling? Journaling is defined as the act of writing down one’s insights, feelings, or thoughts. This method of expression can be done in various ways: hand-drawn pictures, collages, online notebooks, or written words.

For anyone who is a beginner at journaling, take a blank notebook, and create a theme for yourself. Your theme can be your favorite colors, travel, music influences, or something random that can be personalized to you. Remember, journaling is geared towards what you want and how you want it.

Next, you can find prompts online that showcase different topics and share your thoughts on it. For example, if a prompt asked my favorite memory, I would write about or put pictures of my trip to Europe.

Another way to add to your journal is to write about your goals and what you want to accomplish either by the end of that day or week or even year. One of my favorite ways to journal is to write letters to my future self or my younger self. On these pages, I give myself advice and reflect on what I am going through at that moment. After a while, I will go back to read those pages and reflect on how far I made it, which encourages me to move forward.

People express how they are feeling in different ways, and sometimes it is hard to express what one is feeling. In other words, we are bottled up with all these emotions, and sometimes repress them like they do not exist. Through journaling, we can see how we think and why we are thinking or feeling a certain way. For those with anxiety issues, journaling is a good way to handle stress. It is also a cost-efficient mechanism for those who are not ready to seek out help. I always encourage those facing mental health issues to seek professional help. But for those who are stressed for an upcoming big event in their life such as starting a new job or studying for an exam, take a small break, get a piece of paper and just be you.

By Bairavi Maheswaran
SAMHIN volunteer and Medical Student, NYITCOM Old Westbury, NY
I am pursuing a D.O/M.S and interested in going into Psychiatry, especially Forensic Psychiatry. I hope to provide mental health resources to the adolescent South Asian population.

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