Journals allow students to think freely

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Wes Bausmith/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Laura Feidelson

My mom handed me a bright, red leather bound notebook that had a long red ribbon glued to the inside of its spine. It was brand new; the pages were blank and the was book stiff. She gave it to me and smiled. “No judgments,” she said. 

I have always struggled with my own creativity. When I am asked to draw, paint or flex my artistic muscles, I can’t help but to focus on an end result.

I think too much about the final product and not enough about the artistic process, which causes me to lose sight of what I am doing and I seem to always fall short of my expectations. I worry about how others will judge my work and how they will compare it to other people’s artistic abilities.

My mom uses journals to collage, write, paint and draw. She uses her journals as an outlet to relax and express her feelings on a blank page. She first introduced this concept to me over the summer three years ago.

When she handed me that bare journal, I was intimidated. The book felt heavy in my hands, and the idea of filling its pages was daunting.

The thought of being able to put anything into the journal with no one looking over my shoulder was a concept that I had never fully grasped.

Sure, I had secret diaries when I was little; however, I used them simply for a short daily entry.

Now, at 20 years old, I use my journal just as my mom does — as a way to let loose and put my feelings on the page.

My journal allows me to escape the Wake Forest world that we are constantly immersed in and lets me express myself free of anxiety.

After a long day of classes and time spent in the ZSR, my journal acts a stress reliever, something that allows me to take a break from regression lines and Karl Marx’s theories on social welfare.

At first, my journal was frightening as I didn’t know how to start or what my first page would look like. My mom told me not to think and to just do. And that is exactly what I did.

I collect different things to collage with and use paints, watercolors, colorful sharpies and pencils to draw and write in a way that gave me the power to have the freedom of expression.

Journaling is not only an enjoyable thing to do, but also it has numerous health benefits — both emotional and physical.

A study from Behavior Modification “showed that expressive writing was associated with significant decreases in generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, including worry and depression.”

Journaling can act as a way to cope with the stressful and fast-paced life we all live in.

I have watched my mom start and finish over 15 big blank books filled with drawings, cut outs and stamps.

Once you are immersed in what you are doing in your own journal, you don’t dwell on the outcome of your creativity. There are no judgments, and you are the only one who gets to see what is put down on the page.