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Wednesday 16 December 2020

Guest Post: Alexandra Eidens: 7 Why Students Should Keep a Journal

Journaling - the practice of writing in a similar structure every day, is an important tool for students. It can seem daunting to encourage your student to implement the daily practice. They are busy and may already be feeling overwhelmed.

The benefits of journaling are too many to ignore. They range from improving your health to reaching your goals. Here are 7 reasons why you should encourage your student to try journaling:

1. Explore Your Thoughts
One type of journal is to write daily thoughts. When we’re moving through our day, it may seem like nothing eventful happens most of the time. Still, the practice of daily writing is important because it lets students explore their thoughts.

Writing down their backstory allows students to see where they are and where they’ve come from. It lets them see how their thoughts have developed and grown. Seeing that development can give them insight into their mindset and areas of growth.

When students have a clearer picture of who they are, they can work to become who they want to be.

2. Build Better Habits
Keeping track of what you do each day has other benefits. It allows you to see your behavioral patterns - and where you can improve them.

Students who learn to journal, using journals for teens, get a head start on the process. Students are often very busy. Keeping track of assignments, meetings, practices, jobs, and every other time commitment can be difficult. Establishing systems that give them insight into what works and what doesn’t is a valuable tool.

Also, the act of writing what you do each day is a discipline that flows into other areas of life. When you learn to develop and keep one healthy habit, it is easier to build others.

3. Improve Communication Skills
To write well, you need to work on writing. Journaling can be a non-threatening and easy way to practice.

It goes beyond writing, though. When people write regularly, it can help them develop better communication skills in general. Students who journal are able to use their writing skills to improve their speaking skills. Being articulate - the ability to express complex thoughts well - will help students in a wide-range of groups and social conversations.

Good communication skills are soft skills that will only enhance opportunities and outcomes for students.

4. Elevate Emotional Intelligence

Part of building emotional intelligence requires a look at how we’re feeling and thinking about topics. Students who journal practice this idea regularly, so understanding what they are thinking and feeling can be easier for them.

When students use a journal for teens to work through personal feelings, it gives them perspective on their own lives. They can see what bothers them when they interact with others, and they can learn to change their behaviors or thinking around the problem.

Having a strong emotional intelligence doesn’t mean your student won’t have interpersonal conflict, but they will have the tools they need to work through those conflicts more easily.

5. Improve Writing Skills
A benefit of journaling for students that should not be overlooked is that it improves writing. A daily writing practice makes the act of writing easier. And journaling can be an easy and safe way to incorporate the practice.

With a journal, students can start writing without needing a particular theme. They just write. It’s the 'getting ideas on paper' that can be difficult, so the repeated practice of working through how to say something makes their writing better.

Developing writing skills takes time and effort. Journaling supports that practice while also delivering other benefits.

6. Learn Self-Reflection
Using a journal for self-reflection is powerful for students. It can be difficult to inspect our thinking to determine which thoughts and actions are serving us and which are not.

Journaling at night as part of a self-reflection practice gives students the opportunity to work through personal growth habits in a self-accepting and honest way. Students can use a journal for teens to see patterns and behaviors and to build compassion for others.

Self-reflection allows students to develop their thoughts to become who they want to be.

7. Achieve Your Goals
Journaling goals is another powerful tool. To write down a goal, large or small, means you’re admitting you want it to yourself. It makes it real.

When students learn journal goals, it can help them achieve those goals. Regular goal writing keeps the goal on their mind. That focus helps them take the small steps they need to keep moving toward their goal. It’s those steps over time that move the goals from just a dream to a reality.

Like most good habits, journaling does take some discipline to implement. It doesn’t have to be daunting, though. Encourage your student to start small: a bullet point list of actions and thoughts of the day. As the habit becomes more regular, they can build from there.

The practice of journaling is a life-long self-care habit that can’t be started too soon.

Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life's challenges with confidence.