As we mark the second year of the pandemic, we are slowly learning how to adjust to this new reality. Most of us have calibrated our routines, and we just learned to accept that this is how it will be for the next couple of years. We found ways to cope with it, but through all of these stories of survival, of getting through another week, there is a lingering question that hangs upon us as we turn off our screens for the day—kumusta ka? How are you, really?
And if the question renders us speechless, then maybe we should take time to breathe, check-in with ourselves, and contemplate. One way of understanding what we’re feeling is through stepping back, grabbing a pen, and writing down our thoughts and stories.
Many would think that stories only belong to writers, but at its core, storytelling is a fundamental part of being human. Stories—whether imagined or real—help us make sense of the world by weaving our life experiences into a narrative that can shape who we are. Studies show that expressive writing, which means jotting down your deepest struggles, can benefit your health and well-being—and one way to do this is through journaling.
We rounded up five reasons why sharing your stories, expressing your thoughts, and writing through your feelings can help you get through this uncertain present.
It relieves us of unnoticeable stress.
Working is healthy, but too much work can lead to stress and it often goes unnoticed until you look in the mirror and see the frown marks between your eyebrows. Stress not only affects our skin and physical health, but it also takes a toll on our mental health and performance. According to the American Psychological Association (2013), chronic stress can lead to fatigue, lack of concentration, and irritability. It is a “wear and tear” on your body and can worsen existing problems. It’s not just mental; it’s physical too.
But you don’t need to bottle all of these stress inside. Journals can be your trusted confidant to share your worries and stories by writing them down. This way, you get a chance to release pent-up emotions, deal with your feelings, and keep a healthier mind frame.
Created in collaboration with psychologist Meg Yarcia and artist Ivan Reverente, the Pahin(g)a journal promotes an idea of self-care through meaningful rest that does not end with the self, but also going beyond and locating the practice within our communities.
Whatever our age, journaling helps us process big emotions.
In school or at home, some of us were taught that the best thing to deal with our emotions is not to deal with them; that feeling our feelings is inconvenient, embarrassing, and hinders us from achieving our goals.
But journaling validates all of these emotions that we’ve been trying to carry all these years. It becomes a safe space to acknowledge that what we’re feeling is valid without external judgment. But beyond the release, it also allows self-discovery. It lets us learn why these feelings give us discomfort as well as discover patterns and triggers to manage big emotions better.
Designed with the Filipino child in mind, Mun(t)i is a bilingual kids journal with Pinoy elements incorporated in various creative and parent-and-child activities. Undated reflection pages, emotion prompts, and mindfulness exercises encourage emotional development.
It lets us pause and find meaning.
Writing in a journal is like having a quiet conversation with yourself. It’s a moment of meaningful solitude where you let ideas and experiences flow onto paper, organizing them into a narrative where we find meaning and connections from random events.
This innate impulse to organize our thoughts to tell a clear story—with a beginning, middle, and end—helps us realize that all of our experiences, good or bad, are part of our journey. It allows us to weave unconnected aspects of our life together to make them connected and have a better sense of ourselves.
The Rights of the Child Creative Journal comes with ample writing space, which cen be used as a diary, sketchbook or home to your feelings and creative musings.
It fosters creativity.
Beyond emotions, journaling helps us tap into the deep recess of our minds, which can bear new ideas and fuel creativity. Most journals these days also have creative prompts—such as writing a poem, expressing through symbols, or coloring—to encourage different ways of expressing ourselves creatively.
There’s also no right or wrong way to journal, making it a free process that opens up doors for mental exploration. A journal is your own tiny universe where you are free to do things independently.
The CANVAS Creative Journal and Monthly Planner comes with undated pages and flexible sections that allow efficient setting and organizing of ideas. It also includes six full-color postcards by various Filipino artists and coloring pages to destress and encourage creativity.
It helps us become better listeners.
When we listen to ourselves, we listen better to others. We learn how to step back, observe, and react with empathy—by acknowledging another person's truth and being more aware of our preconceived notions that can cloud our perception. This is particularly important in a current climate of division, where we need to deal with someone with a different view by meeting them with love rather than indifference.
Scribble reflections and little reminders with the Anthony Palomo Creative Journal, based on artworks by postwar and contemporary painter Anthony Palomo. The 160-page journal comes with unobtrusive dotted pages for more freedom in writing.
Journaling our thoughts is a form of transformation. It’s not just writing feelings and emotions but reshaping and shifting our feelings to acceptance, thinking, and understanding. So if you’re planning to start the year right, why not try journaling and discover how words and writing can help you get through another unpredictable year.