The Power of Pen and Paper


Diaries, journals, books, poems, literature. Languages and words have an effect on us that many do not know of. We can express ourselves through our words and feel others’ expressions through theirs. Whether it’s ink or graphite on a napkin or blank piece of paper, our emotion have a way to come out and possess more power than you realize.

Writing in a journal has many positive effects on our minds and body. Putting words on paper is one of the simplest therapeutic activities you can do by yourself. It helps relieve stress, anxiety, helps you think through decisions, and helps reflect on your choices. That is only the beginning of all the benefits to putting your thoughts and emotions on paper.

“I began journaling in order to maximize my effort towards success,” junior Caleb Bairos said.

Journaling has a way of organizing thoughts as you write them down. It guides the brain to sort through activities, thoughts, and everything else. From sorting things out, it helps you realize what your priorities are and it allows you to realize your fears or concerns. Comprehending your troubles is a step toward success because it allows you to let your worries go and to focus on the important tasks you have ahead.

“It’s nice to get all of my feelings out on paper I feel so much better after… it gives me a sense of relief,” senior Kate Phelps said.

Why does journaling give us a feeling of relief? Writing on paper about our day doesn’t seem very therapeutic. The disclosure of our problems is what makes it relieving. By avoiding thoughts and emotions bodies physically tense up. This can create headaches, tight muscles, and muscle pain. Pushing away your emotions can cause something as serious as depression. Opening up to yourself is an easy way to be mentally and physically healthy.

Participants who wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings reported significant benefits in both objectively assessed and self-reported physical health 4 months later…” psychologist James Pennebaker said in his study at the University of Texas.

Records of the studies of journaling go back to the 1980’s. James Pennebaker discovered that those who journal don’t only report of beneficial effects of mental health, but of physical health, too. According to Pennebaker’s studies from the 1980’s to the 1990’s, he has seen improved immune system from expressive writing or journaling your emotions. Other studies report that when asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients express journal for 20 minutes a day, they get physically better: and writing is keeping them from getting worse.

My experiences, whether good or bad, inspires me to write,” Abigail Ilog said.


Tips to Start Journaling

Remember that this is for you! If you want to add sketches, write about ideas, ask questions… do it. Make your journal time unique, just like you. There is no right or wrong thing to say. Here are three tips to help you get started:  

  1. Make a Time Limit- If you make a time limit, your ideas are more likely to come. Just make one rule: when the time starts start writing and don’t stop until the time is out. This result in the flow of your mind so you will have a less of a chance of not knowing what to write about.
  2. Trouble Starting?- Beginning with an empty page can be a little intimidating. If you struggle where to start your journal, just simply think of one thing you did that day; it can be positive or negative and just let your mind take you from there.
  3. Make it Interesting to YOU!- Writing to some may be fun, but to others it can be boring with just words. Draw pictures of what you’re writing or sketches of activities you have done or will do. Even icons or simple stick figures will make journaling a little more interesting.