Do you ever get swept up in the momentum of a day, week, or month, then pause and try to make sense of the blur? Does tunnel vision ever make things blend and get jumbled for you? Life often takes us on voyages, grand journeys toward big picture goals. But without taking notes along the way, things can get disorienting. That’s why every voyage needs a captain’s log. And the good news is that these days we all carry one in the form of our smartphones.

Journaling is well-documented as having tremendous benefits on our mental health and can help us notice patterns, connections, and opportunities that we may otherwise miss. Like many good habits though, it can be challenging to get started and stay consistent with it. Recently, many people are finding success in journaling by linking it with a smartphone use many of us know all too well: checking social media.

So, you get the urge to lift your phone and check your favorite app. But now that you remember every voyage needs a captain’s log, you go first to your notes app or a journaling app of choice. You jot down things like what time you woke up, how you’re feeling today, what things you want to get done before bed, and even some things you’re grateful for. Now, feeling grounded and mindful, you can click over to social media or move on with your day. Either way, taking brief moments to jot down where you’re at can be a great way to turn your smartphone use into something restorative and beneficial.

When journaling becomes a daily habit, it can be a fantastic resource for growth and direction. Ever get into a slump? Look back on your notes and find a time when you were feeling well. What were you eating then? How were you spending free time? Who was fostering your positive mindset? Let your past self remind you of the things that bring you joy and fulfillment, as well as some things you may want to steer clear of. Start building your captain’s log today and see where the voyage takes you.

Written by Louis Nicholas – Graduate Student in Mental Health Counseling