The Art of Self-Care - The Bend Magazine

The Art of Self-Care

How taking pen to paper leads to a better life

By: Kirby Tello

I have long been an advocate for journaling and its magical way of solving life’s intense mental puzzles and emotional blunders. Being a writer, journaling comes naturally to me. I started writing in a journal at a very young age, and after realizing how euphoric it made me feel afterward, it has played an essential role in my self-care.

I realize that not everyone loves the idea. As if articulating your thoughts isn’t hard enough, journaling pushes you to navigate those mucky thoughts and turn them into words on a page. This idea of writing down things that make you feel sad or ashamed or fearful seems like a process that one would want to avoid. However, the purging of such deep emotions is extremely cathartic.

I have learned a few things throughout my years of keeping journals. If you were to open one of mine, you would find a bunch of nonsense that was written in moments of extreme doubt. I’ve gone back and read past entries, and what I found was a version of myself that I didn’t even really believe was me. It’s funny how the mind can trick you sometimes into thinking your world is tumbling down around you; but really, there are so many things to be grateful for. The lesson in this type of reflection is that journaling doesn’t have to have a dark undertone. In fact, I’ve found that challenging myself to find at least three things I am grateful for daily, and writing them down, makes the problems I originally wanted to spew onto paper seem negligible.

Even if you are one of those people who hasn’t had a traumatic experience or struggles with mental health, it has been shown that journaling helps make people more self-aware. It can have a positive impact on our overall health and help shift a negative thought into a positive one.

Trust me; I get it. Putting pen to paper can be daunting. However, what other tool, coping mechanism, or medication can help to calm your mind, reduce anxiety, release pent-up everyday stress, and fully explore your emotions? If nothing else, journaling is a great way to examine your innermost thoughts and provide a more positive perspective on life in general. Also, writing down your thoughts is simply a great way to create a roadmap for your future.

Everyone should approach journaling differently, and in a way that feels natural and comfortable. No one else in the world but you will see those thoughts, so why not allow yourself the freedom to explore yourself more deeply? Just like taking a bubble bath, immersing yourself in a realm of creativity, or zoning out to a great movie or a video game – journaling, too, gives the mind a much-needed break and a boost to your well-being.