Dear diary. That’s how we see journaling, isn’t it?
We conjure up an image of a teenager lounging on their bed, writing about their crush ignoring them in the cafeteria. We overlook its value as a tool. Yet repeatedly, science tells us that journaling offers a host of benefits for the mind.
Let’s take a look at 10 of those important benefits:
Benefit 1: Embracing Mindfulness
When you journal about your frustrations, concerns, and anxieties you remove their power. When worry loses its edge you can move to a more mindful place.
Benefit 2: Stretches Your Vocabulary
As you write in your journal, you will be exploring language, its meaning, and how it helps you express yourself. You will reach points in your entries where you wonder what word to use in that moment, and you’ll search for new ones. This will stretch your vocabulary, as well as encourage your imagination.
Benefit 3: Increased Focus on Chasing Your Goals
Your journal is a place where you can write about your dreams, ambitions, and goals for life. Simply writing them can’t be enough to achieve those goals, can it? While it’s definitely more complicated than that, you certainly can’t achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are and write them down. You’re telling your brain it’s important by writing your dreams out, and the continued pursuit of them (evidenced by additional journal entries) encourages your brain to red flag opportunities that will help you achieve your goals.
Benefit 4: Supporting Emotional Intelligence
A journal is an ideal place to process your feelings, good, bad, or just plain ugly. As you do this, you will learn to manage and perceive emotions (yours and others). It’s this skill that will increase your self-awareness as well as your emotional intelligence.
Benefit 5: Increasing Comprehension & Improving Memory
Words represent ideas, and as you formulate those ideas by forming letters your brain retains that information. So, by journaling, you are improving your memory and comprehension. You’ll find that writing down your ideas makes them clearer – you may also find that solving challenges is easier after you journal about them. The act of writing stimulates neural pathways in your brain and helps you find solutions. Opening up those pathways will not only help in the present, but in the future as you continue to problem solve throughout your life.
Benefit 6: Increasing Self-Discipline
How can journaling support self-discipline? It requires you to set time aside to journal daily, which is an act of self-discipline. Discipline breeds discipline. Just like a muscle that becomes stronger the more you exercise it. When you form a positive habit like journaling, you support your self-discipline and increase your ability to spread good habits throughout your life. Journaling consistently can have a domino effect on healthy habits.
Benefit 7: Better Communication
The more you write, the better and more clearly you can communicate with others. You put more thought into your chosen words and how you communicate certain ideas. Journaling might not make you a better public speaker, but it will certainly improve your overall communication skills.
Benefit 8: Promotes Healing
There is a healing power in the pen. We tend to overthink things and create unnecessary stress and anxiety for ourselves. Writing what’s on your mind in your journal helps relieve and remove those emotional blockages. As you write it all out, you’re processing it in a way that makes it easier for you to comprehend. Doing that frees your mind from the emotionally tangled web you have weaved for yourself.
Benefit 9: Triggers Creativity
We already touched on creativity, but it bears repeating. Allowing yourself to write freely without thinking is an excellent way to beat writer’s block, trigger innovative ideas and thoughts, and allow yourself to let go. Getting those blocks out of the way opens the door for creativity. You may find that you’ve discovered the answer by the time you finish journaling about a challenge or question!
Benefit 10: Boosts Self-Confidence
When you journal about your positive experiences, your brain relives that joy and gets a healthy boost in self-confidence. It’s a fantastic way to smother self-doubt when it rears its ugly head. It’s also a great mood booster – releasing the pressure of self-doubt while reminding yourself of the good things you’ve done and the other challenges you’ve overcome.
Any one of these 10 benefits is enough reason to start and continue a journaling habit – now, all that remains is for you to take up your pen, find some blank paper, a notebook, or a journal, and start writing. Give yourself the grace of continuing to journal for at least 30 days, and you’ll start to see (and reap) the benefits.
If a particular benefit appeals to you, concentrate on it for the next 7 – 10 days and note in your journal the changes in your mindset, emotions, and perspective. You can use yourself to prove the theory and turn it into a principle of positive change that you can lean into for the immediate and distant future.