7 Benefits of Journaling
Some people find journaling appealing while others think it sounds like an incredibly boring activity. If you don’t currently write in a journal regularly, you might want to reconsider. There are many benefits of journaling for everyone, regardless of age. There are so many benefits gained from taking a few minutes each day to record your thoughts, life, and aspirations on a daily basis in a journal. The costs are minimal and the payback is huge.
Discover 7 great benefits journaling:
- The first 3 benefits of journaling all have to do with family ties. Keep a record of your life for yourself. How many times have you tried to remember when some particular incident in your past actually happened? Was it 1994 or 1995? Do you remember the facts differently from others that were involved? Who’s actually right? A journal is a useful way to record the significant events in your life. The benefits of journaling here are long-lasting. Your stories about your life can be passed on to others (see #2).
- If you keep a journal, you’ll have all the dates and facts right there. More importantly, you’ll be given the opportunity to see how your life has progressed.
- As we get older, every day seems to blend into the next. We get up, go to work, go home, eat dinner, watch TV, and repeat for 40 years.
- By writing down the day-to-day aspects of your life, your life will become more interesting. Just the act of recording will encourage you to live a life you deem worthy of recording. You might add more fun and adventure to your life, just so you can write about it.
2. You can leave them to your children. Depending on the types of things you choose to write about, you might want to leave your journals to your children or other family members. My father died when I was 4. My younger brother was 2 and my older one was 7. While I have vague memories of my father—and some very specific snippets of memories, my younger brother has none.
My family wasn’t great at sharing information either, but every now and then, one of my aunts or my grandmother would tell me a story about my dad and I loved it. My mother died when I was 28, weeks after I had my first child. I would have loved to have journals from her to tell me her experiences of being a new mother. But I was on my own.
Passing your journals on to your kids can turn them into family heirlooms or traditions. It’s a way to pass on family stories. Wouldn’t you like to read about your parents or grandparents?
3. You can record the lives of your children. Imagine how great it would be to keep a journal while your child is growing up and then give it to her later in life.
- Many people have “Baby books” when they have a child. I freely admit that I sucked at doing that. While I think 3 books exist, one for each of my kids, less and less info was recorded in each one. Even the first one wasn’t completely filled in. I mean, come on, I was an exhausted new mother. But if I had just kept a journal, I would’ve had the information because I would’ve been writing about each day with my baby. I wouldn’t have had to think about when things happened.
- You’ll record everything that happened during the years when they are too young to keep a journal themselves. Because it’s a journal, it’ll be your voice telling the stories. It will also be a great reminder for you.
4. Journaling can lead to improved mental and physical health. Writing things down will help you process them in a variety of ways that will help in your overall well-being. The benefits of journaling can affect many areas of your life.
- One study at the University of Auckland showed that writing in a journal can lead to faster wound healing and minimize the symptoms of several ailments, including asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.
- You learn about yourself. When you keep a journal, you quickly see your behavioral patterns and tendencies.
- Your memory will improve. If you reflect on your life at the end of the day, and record it, you’ll be much more likely to remember it. It’s a great workout for your brain and an effective way to remember more of your life.
5. Journals are great for processing feelings. One of the great benefits of journaling is to clear your mind. Things are always a little clearer when we get them out of our heads and down on paper. When you get the tough stuff out on paper, you feel better. Journaling can be cathartic and give your emotional health a quick boost.
- Everything is a little more objective and realistic.
- You might be surprised at what you figure out about yourself if you take the time to keep a journal.
6. Work towards your goals with a journal. A significant part of reaching goals is recording progress and prioritization. By writing about your goals each day, you can continually reaffirm your goals are worth achieving.
- How often have you set a goal and then forgotten all about it after a few days or a couple of weeks? If you write it down in a journal, there’s less chance that will happen.
- You’ll achieve more. Studies have shown that just writing down goals significantly increases the likelihood of increasing them.
- You can see your progress. When you record your thoughts and your life, they’re right there in front of you. It’s easy to see how much your life is, or isn’t, progressing. Just looking back at your old entries can tell you a lot.
- Make notes about new ideas to move closer to your goals.
- When you achieve a goal, you’ll be able to look back and remember how great it felt to accomplish it. The next goal will be even easier.
7. A journal will reduce the amount of stress in your life. Journaling forces you to unplug and focus your mind. Sometimes the best thing for a stressed mind is to turn off the computer and sit quietly with your thoughts.
- You view your challenges in a new way. Things look different in your head than they do on paper or on the computer screen. It’s a little less personal when you can see it. You might find that many of your challenges aren’t as challenging as you first thought. When you record your challenges, your brain starts looking for solutions. Having a solution to a challenge relieves stress!
- Journaling organizes your thoughts and improves your problem-solving abilities. You can clear some of the clutter out of your head when you journal, and your subconscious can begin working on a solution to a challenge.
Bonus Reason to keep a journal:
You’ll be in good company. Many famous people kept journals. John D. Rockefeller, George Patton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Marie Curie, and Mark Twain are just a few that believed in the power of journaling. Take a moment and think about those people. Brilliant minds. People who truly impacted the world. Who says words don’t have power?
I suggest using pen and paper instead of a computer for your journal. While using a computer can be more convenient, writing engages your mind at a higher level. There have been studies that show the link between handwriting and your mind is strong. By writing on paper, your brain will be more active and you’ll remember more.
A journal is a great way to organize your thoughts and record your life. There are so many benefits to keeping a journal, not giving it a chance would be a shame. The benefits are considerable, and it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes per day.
Hopefully, now that I've outlined 7 benefits of journaling and how it can impact your life, you'll be inspired to give it a try.
Try journaling for a full month and then make an evaluation. Decide for yourself if you want to continue. If you’re at a loss for how to start because you don’t want to just write a diary, look for journals that have prompts in them. You can get a themed journal to work on a specific area of your life: gratitude journal, manifesting a better life journal, dream journal, kindness journal, mental health journal…the list goes on. The important thing here is to start.