5 Top Benefits of Journaling

How adding journaling to the daily routine can help life get better!

Young woman relaxing with a notebook and pen in her hands.

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Journaling is the act of recording thoughts, feelings and any other ideas that pass through your mind. There are many medium options such as writing with pen and paper, digitally, drawing things out, recording one's voice or video and more. Adding journaling to your daily routine might seem like an overwhelming commitment at first, but there are many ways to keep it simple and enjoy the process. 

Journaling is meant to help reduce stress, not increase it! So one thing to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way to do it, says the BetterUp blog. Some do it daily, others weekly or monthly and others whenever it feels right. And the content is completely and absolutely individual. 

When journaling, the goal is to download our thoughts and emotions from our minds and hearts onto whichever medium we are using, which helps us feel lighter and enables us to look at the situation more objectively. It might also help make something feel more real, as it now has a physical place in the world as opposed to living as an abstract thing floating around our brain. So, keep it simple and do whatever works for you!

Journaling can help us achieve our goals

Writing down goals is powerful. And the studies are clear people who write their goals now have a significantly higher percentage of success in accomplishing those goals. Forbes recommends going one step further, which can increase the chances of reaching those goals even more. It recommends something called freewriting, which is where you write out your thoughts freely, without stopping to correct yourself, in a stream-of-consciousness way. What this does is it allows us to bring our subconscious thoughts and feelings to light and sometimes the root cause of what is blocking us from achieving what we want. 

Writing about goals in an antique journal.

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Journaling can improve self-awareness

A great tip for people who journal is to take time to read older entries from time to time. Looking back with fresh eyes can be an illuminating experience.

Journaling on a regular basis helps with identifying patterns in our lives. It can allow someone to learn what makes them happy, sad, confident, anxious, insecure and excited. Expressive writing can be quite healing, says The Aggie. And the more someone writes and learns about themselves, the more self-awareness they can get, which is linked to overall wellbeing.

Woman on a train thinking about what to add to her journal.

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It’s a great way to practice communication skills

Keeping a journal is a great way to build better habits, and stay organized. When we take the time to put pen to paper, it not only improves our productivity but also helps organize our thoughts and ideas. This new clarity of mind is one of the positive side effects of this habit. Another great side effect is the communication skills it allows us to develop.

Expressing thoughts allows us to articulate ideas and find words that express ourselves accurately and concisely, explains the Essential Life Skills blog. The more we journal and write, the more we can develop these important  skills. 

Woman writing in diary while relaxing in her cozy home.

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It helps regulate our emotions 

Have you ever kept thinking about something, even though you know it's not good for you? Sometimes an unresolved or stressful situation can do this to us. Journaling can help us step away from obsessive and negative thoughts, and regulate our feelings and emotions.

WebMD wrote about a study of people who wrote down their feelings compared to people who wrote about a neutral experience. Findings prove the brain scans of the people who wrote down their feelings showed they are able to control their emotions better than the other people. Writing and letting things out into the world can feel wonderful, and there are many more studies than this one that agree.

Concentrated man thinking and taking notes in a cafe.

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Journaling can encourage the practice of gratitude

Gratitude journaling is quite popular these days, and for good reason. According to Healthline, studies show that practicing gratitude reduces stress, boosts the immune system and improves relationships and overall health.

Some enjoy keeping a separate notebook exclusively for gratitude journaling, where they may write three things they are grateful for that day or general things they are thankful for. Others add the practice of gratitude to their traditional journaling by writing or expressing their positive emotions in their journal in a more informal way. However a person chooses to include gratitude in their journaling, it can be a beautiful addition to one's day, perhaps even life-changing.

Gratitude journal with a pen and a cup of tea.

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