The word diary immediately calls to mind the image of the tiny books with the bright, usually sparkly, covers and the dinky locks that just about every kid got in a birthday party goodie bag when they were six. Going back into my old, fluorescent pink holographic covered diary (yup, I was that cool), I can find such gems as "Today, I learned how to do long division. It was scary," and "Why does everyone always wear choker necklaces? They're itchy."
Clearly, the stereotypical diary keeper is not a college student. However, there is a lot you can gain from keeping a diary, especially as you get older. Here are eight reasons why you should go pick up a tiny pink book (or just a regular notebook) and start keeping track of your life.
1. Writing down the little things will help you remember them later.
If you count the number of little things that make you happy each day, you'll notice the number goes up pretty fast. Whether it's a joke with a friend, an awesome test grade, or just the fact that the vending machine had your favorite snack, there are lots of things to be thankful for. Of course, as soon as you have a bad day, it's easy to forget all of those small, wonderful things. If you write them all down, then next time you're down in the dumps, you'll have some happy memories to look back on to cheer you up.
2. It will help you in school.
Do you ever sit down to write an essay and realize that you can't come up with any of the personal anecdotes that your teacher loves so much? If you start keeping a diary, your entire recent life will be written down for you in a handy dandy little book. You'll be surprised at all the great stories that you've just been forgetting. Plus, if you consistently write down your thoughts in your diary, when you get around to essay time, it will already be half-written.
3. It will calm your emotions.
Studies have shown that writing down your emotions can help to keep your thoughts calm and balanced. Getting your feelings out on paper is a great way to let out all of the emotions that you've been holding in. It will also give you a healthy outlet for expressing yourself, which will keep you from holding in your anger and exploding at friends or family later.
4. It will help you sleep.
If you ever have trouble sleeping at night, a diary can be a great place to let all your thoughts out before you lay down in bed. Writing out the events of your day will help keep your mind calm and will prevent you from rethinking all of the different situations that would normally keep you up all night. You can also use your diary to keep track of how much caffeine or alcohol you had, and what time you went to bed, which will help you learn about your sleep habits. Plus, writing in your diary will also be a nice, calming activity to do before bed, which will help you to get relaxed and ready to fall asleep.
5. It will make you more self-aware.
As Peggy Nolan wrote for the Huffington Post, keeping a diary will help you to realize what situations normally bother you, where you usually trip yourself up, and what your best and worst habits are. Having your daily routine written out will help you realize what your biggest pitfalls are, and will let you come up with ways to avoid them.
6. It will help you keep track of your greatest achievements.
A diary can serve as a flowchart of your life. You can use it to write about that time you got an A+ on a paper, that time you got an interview for your dream internship, or that time you were accepted for an on-campus job. All of these accomplishments are important, and they will help to contribute to your future. If you keep track of all your achievements, big and small, in your diary, then you'll have a helpful list of everything that you've done to get to where you are today.
7. It will help increase your creativity.
As Lana Winter-Hebert at Lifehack pointed out, diaries don't have to be limited to just words. If you include pictures, song lyrics or even videos and multimedia aspects (if you're keeping your diary on your computer), it will help you to explore new mediums of expressing yourself, which could come in handy later.
8. It will give you an outlet to complain into.
If you're one of those people who always finds yourself complaining about everything in your life to your friends until they just can't stand it anymore, then a diary may be the perfect remedy. Write down everything that's bothering you, from that girl who chews too loudly in your history class to that guy who cut you in line at the dining hall, so you can vent without having to bug your friends anymore.