A Pen For Your Thoughts


Kayla Nguyen

Photography and Artwork by: Kayla Nguyen

Journaling is a simple craft; it requires a journal or booklet of some sort, something to write with, and you. It is so incredibly easy to bombard ourselves with personal issues that we tend to disregard our necessity for self-care and maintenance for our mental and physical well-being. With the various digital apps and social media trends in the world, this old-fashion activity has met its competition: a digital diary. There are ample apps that are available to journal digitally such as Reflectly, Jour: Daily Self-Care Journal, and Daylio Journal that are convenient and quick to use.

Digital journaling software is more flexible, more private, and easier to use than ever,” notes Hannah Braime in the blog, BecomingWhoYouAre. It all comes down to everyone’s preferences; there are pros and cons to both digital journaling and paper journaling. But journaling in itself is a beautiful, healing process and it is an amazing method to “[allow] us to access the deepest parts of ourselves” and to “get to know ourselves in a more intimate way,” Gila Damon says in a snippet of a blog post from Break the Cycle, whose mission is to aid young children in building healthy relationships. Through the peaceful art of journaling, individuals are able to practice self-reflection and take notice of any negative energy affecting their ability to achieve happiness. 

Journaling serves as a different tool for everyone and is one of the many outlets that support self-care. Sarah Hart, a senior at Huntington Beach High School, said, “I write in my diary as a place to say everything I’m feeling, and channel my emotions to this one task… it allows me to write on paper [subjects] that would be difficult to tell someone out loud.” Journaling is an effortless activity that serves as a small break for Hart. 

Aidan Atkinson, an alumni from HBHS, said, “The way we, as humans, interact with life is unequivocally confusing, but writing can help make it a little less so.” Atkinson explained, “As a man, I’ve been conditioned to deal with my emotions by suppressing them or running away from them; journaling has been an extremely important part in unlearning that behavior because it forces me to sit with and feel those emotions rather than try to run from them or laugh them away.”

“I remember the first time I read Grendel, I really related to the main character, who is this monster that feels this incredible anger and deep sadness about the world, and it frightened me that I did. But it also felt empowering to finally, after years of denying my emotions, own myself as a creature that feels anger, pain, anguish, and sadness. That’s what journaling did. It has helped me to own myself as a creature who is entitled to the full depth of my emotion,” Atkinson further disclosed.

For both Hart and Atkinson, their experiences varied, however, they both obtained comfort or ease from journaling. 

Journaling is one of many self-care activities people partake in. However, “journaling isn’t necessarily something that works for everyone,” noted Hart.

She mentioned a few other options to consider, such as “talking with someone close to them, praying, manifesting, meditating, et cetera.” Atkinson contributed his thoughts on this as well and answered along the same lines.

“I believe that self-care, in general, should be adopted more in society, and that looks different to everybody. Journaling might not work for everyone, but everyone needs time to heal. Whether it be therapy, time with loved ones, art, time in nature, or whatever, time to sit with one’s emotions should be a more widely accepted practice that isn’t a privilege but a human right,” he said.

Hart and Atkinson have both stated their stance on journaling and what journaling means to them as a growing individual. Self-care is conducted uniquely for everyone, whether it be exploring nature as Atkinson said, or as Hart said, meditation and manifestation; journaling has acted as a healing token for Hart, Atkinson, and many others.

Who knows? Journaling might be something for you as well.