"Dear Diary...today I couldn't help myself. I smiled at HIM as he walked by me in the hallway, looking right into his dreamy eyes. I wasn't expecting it, but OMG - he smiled back at me and winked...whatever could it mean?"

That's STILL how many people see journaling, despite the fact that it's much more than a place to keep track of who likes who, what so-and-so wore that day, and how much homework you've gotten in math class.

We conjure up images of teenagers lounging on their beds, flopping into a chair or onto a cushion on the floor while writing about how their crush ignored them in the cafeteria.

Journaling is a proven tool that offers a host of benefits for your mind - in fact, Dr. Shilagh A. Mirgain, faculty member at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, asserts that just 20 minutes a day over four consecutive days can be associated with a decrease in health problems, enhanced immune system functioning, improvements in a person's mood and sense of well-being. (Lilyvolt.com - Some of the benefits of journaling). 

8 Important Benefits of Journaling for Your Mind

Benefit 1: Ability to Embrace Mindfulness

Journaling about your frustrations, concerns, and anxieties empowers you to remove their power over you. The very act of getting the thoughts down on paper can help you to stop turning them over and over in your mind and lessen your stress levels. Once you take the edge off your natural human tendency to worry, you can continue solving problems or noting what needs to change in your life from a much more mindful and intentional place.

Benefit 2: An Increase in Your Vocabulary

Writing in your journal will help you stretch and expand your vocabulary as you explore language. You'll reach parts of your entries where you'll wonder what word will fit in the moment, and you'll search out new ones. The act of searching for just the right term to describe your emotions and process your feelings will encourage depth in your thinking, encourage your imagination, and stretch your vocabulary.

Benefit 3: Better Goal Definition and Achievement

Your journal is a safe space to describe in detail the dreams and goals you have for your life, the ambitions you have for your career or business, and to express your emotions. Simply writing them down isn't enough to make them magically happen, because our perfectly imperfect human lives are more complicated than that. The act of writing your goals down helps you to tell your brain they are important. Once that happens, your immensely helpful brain will go into overdrive to figure out ways for you to achieve your goals. Many people say until they write down a goal, it doesn't feel real - once it's written down, something happens, and the wheels begin to turn.

Benefit 4: Supporting and Enhancing your Emotional Intelligence

Processing your feelings can be scary and even intimidating at times. Writing about your feelings in your journal will enhance your ability to manage and perceive your emotions and those of others in your life. This increase in your self-awareness will also increase your emotional intelligence - you'll learn by helping yourself and be able to translate and extend those new abilities to others. Emotional Intelligence is defined in the Oxford Languages Dictionary as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions. Gaining capacity in this area is part of living an emotionally healthy life, and journaling can help you achieve it.

Benefit 5: Memory Improvement and an Increase in Comprehension

Ideas are represented by words, and as ideas form in our brains, the letters that describe the ideas help our brains retain that information. Journaling helps us to remember the words that come to us - how many times have descriptive and engaging sentences come to us during a stimulating conversation with friends or peers, and moments later, we can't quite remember what we said or how we said it. By journaling, you'll have a better record of the language you used and increase your level of comprehension, empowering you to continue growing and extending your abilities.

Benefit 6: Increased Communication Skill

Writing for a longer period and more often will increase your ability to communicate with others - you'll put more thought into the words you choose, and how you describe certain ideas. You might not translate that ability into public speaking, but your overall communication skills will improve, and you'll be more certain of what you're writing. Being able to express yourself more completely with the written word helps to ensure your ideas are being heard and may provide additional benefits, as writing is still an essential mode of communication, even in our increasingly visual world.

Benefit 7: Increased Creativity

Exploring the freedom to write without over-editing your work is a hallmark of journaling. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it, and it will help enhance your creativity. Allowing your thoughts to flow freely without restriction is a wonderful way to bust through a writer's block and encourages innovative ideas and thoughts to come to the surface. Removing self-imposed restrictions and just letting go will activate your natural creativity - the more you do it, the stronger your creative muscle will become, and your ability to express yourself will increase.

Benefit 8: Powerful Self-Confidence Booster

Journaling about your wins and positive experiences helps to boost your self-confidence and allows your brain to relive the dopamine "hit" of your victory. This will result in a lighter, happier mood, the ability to smother and squash self-doubt, and a joyful shot in the arm. With our world becoming more complex and challenging by the day, who couldn't use a little more self-confidence? Reviewing your past journal entries when things aren't going well can also remind you of the skills and talents you possess. When we're hard on ourselves, reminders of our successes and goals achieved can help create a much more positive mental state and relieve stress and emotional upset. 

About the Author Dianne Daniels

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently residing in Norwich, Connecticut, Dianne M. Daniels empowers women 35+ to create their Best Life with the Power of Affirmations & Journaling. You can learn how to use proven practices to create and manifest the life you want (and deserve) to live.

Dianne is a Unitarian Universalist Minister and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. She's an avid reader, a lover of old houses (she renovated an 1850s vintage Greek Revival home with her family), and proudly serves her community as a Registrar of Voters.

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