Do you remember when you were young and you either had or wanted that pretty pink diary to write in? It had a gold lock and key so no one could read your thoughts? I had one and would write maybe 3 to 5 pages (probably about marrying Magnum PI or my desire to be a Charlie’s Angel) and then I’d never pick it up again. What about you? Did you like to pour your heart out in your diary?
Looking back I think of all the things I could have written about that caused me mental anguish. Writing your thoughts down is a great way to process what’s in your head without it coming out in anger, hate, or temper tantrums. That’s why I journal now.
Journaling isn't just for teens anymore. Science has shown that keeping a daily log of your day has a lot more benefits to it than merely creating a place to dump your deepest thoughts in private.
I’m not a wonderful writer and that was one of the things that kept me from journaling for a long time. I judged myself before I even started. You don’t need to be a writer or even want to become one to start journaling, but you might just want to run out and buy a cute notebook after you read these benefits journaling can have for you.
Rewarding reasons to start journaling, if you aren't already...
Writing boost creativity:
It’s one of the more obvious benefits, but you’ll find that you become more creative when you just let it flow in your journal. It’s is a process of allowing your stream of consciousness to take over and go where your mind takes you, and much like dreams, that’s pretty exciting.
In touch with your feelings:
Writing allows you to feel what is really going on inside. As children, adults didn’t always listen to us and as women, many were taught to just suck it up and keep going. Journaling offers you a ‘paper friend’ to help you work through your emotions and explore on a deeper level what’s bothering you or making you very happy.
Happiness is directly linked to mindfulness. When you’re writing in your journal, your frustrations and anxieties ebb away, and you’re left to unite with your thoughts completely. Sometimes simply having a place to dump all of your feelings, disappointments and thoughts also gives you a way to let them out and walk away from them. This release helps you to understand your feelings, sort through them via pen and paper, and move along in a healthy manner. It's quite powerful.
Brings you closer to achieving goals:
When we journal, we often write about the things we wish we could accomplish. That vegan café we dream of opening or that dream vacation we've had on our minds for years. No matter what it is, writing it down helps your brain focus on those goals and find ways to bring it to fruition. Essentially, it means you’re more likely to achieve those goals if you simply write about them first. You can even use your journal for a goals list.
Another way to boost your memory:
Recording things in writing not only prevents you from forgetting them but using a pen and paper forces your brain to engage with it cognitively. That means even when you’re not writing something down in the moment, for instance at a social event when a new contact tells you their name, you won’t space out and forget it if you journal.
Helps build your communication skills:
Keeping a journal is a way to help vocalize your thoughts. Interestingly though, it also benefits the way you speak, since it naturally forces you to build your vocabulary and put your thoughts in order. You’ll find that when you’re out in the world engaging with others, your journaling will have served you well for this purpose.
Do you keep a journal?
As I shared earlier, journaling has been a love-hate relationship with journaling but the benefits are too big not to sit down even if it’s just for 5 minutes before you fall asleep to get your thoughts out on paper.