By Allison Xu
For most high schoolers, flipping to a blank page in a journal with a pen in hand isn’t the go-to method to improve your mood or alleviate stress and anxiety. Writing is an underrated, often overlooked approach to cope with negative feelings and clear your mind. Especially in high school, when you’re swarmed by schoolwork, extracurriculars, volunteer work, and more, it is imperative to use writing as a way to destress and recharge after a long day.
1. Journal emotions and experiences
Journaling is the practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings to clarify our emotions and get to know ourselves better. It is a private outlet for you to express your struggles and experiences without judgment. Writing about your day-to-day happenings can help you reflect on your life, identify stressors in your life, and simplify your thoughts by putting them on paper.
It is also common to write about emotions, both positive and negative ones. This can help you ease past traumatic and stressful experiences and remember the precious, uplifting moments.
2. Write about the future
In addition to reflecting on events and emotions, writing about the future may be equally important. You can write down your goals and dreams, which not only creates a vision in your mind of the type of person you’d like to become in the future but also increases your motivation to achieve them. Having a clearer vision reduces anxiety and uncertainty about the future.
3. Jot down daily self-affirmations and gratitude
Self-affirmations are positive reminders that encourage and motivate you. Affirmations like “I trust that I am on the right path” and “I am confident in my ability to [fill in the blank]” cultivate a healthy mindset and ward off negative and intrusive thoughts. By writing down self-affirmations every day, you will start believing them and make positive changes.
Furthermore, writing down daily gratitude helps you appreciate the good moments in life and enhances empathy. Expressing gratitude every day can be as simple as writing down one sentence starting with “I am grateful for…” Handwriting letters of gratitude to family and friends deepens relationships and promotes self-esteem.
4. Start creative writing
Creative writing, from short stories to personal essays, from poetry to novels, allows you to organize your thoughts and explore your imagination. Studies have found that creative self-expression reduces stress and anxiety and strengthens positive emotions. Creative writing can also take your mind off stressful matters. Write about experiences that mean a lot to you.
Writing is unrestricted–whatever comes to your mind, you can write down. It is a wonderful way to process your thoughts, facilitate positive emotions, and improve your well-being. Now pick up that journal gathering dust in your room and a pen and start writing!