Surprising benefits of keeping a journal

Benefits of keeping a journal

You may have stopped using a diary once you reached adulthood. But the concept and its benefits still apply. Now it’s called journaling. It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea.

Journaling is a written record of our thoughts & feelings. There are really not any rules although most journaling is a daily exercise. Journaling is a way to track everyday life. Figuring out what makes us tick and happy or upset.

Creating a meaningful connection with ourselves is as important as creating meaningful connections with family or friends.

How journaling can help you

From scientists to artists — and everyone in between — keeping a journal can be an important self-care practice. In fact, journaling can help you in the following ways.

Achieve goals

When you use your journal to write down your goals, you can keep better track of your intentions. This will help you stay accountable and serve as a reminder of what you need to do to reach your goals. Be sure to get specific.

Track progress and growth

If you make journaling a regular habit, you can see how much progress or growth you’ve made by revisiting previous entries.

Gain self-confidence

Seeing your progress can also give you a serious confidence boost. You can feel proud looking back at the challenges you faced and seeing how far you’ve come.

Improve writing and communication skills

Writing, like anything, improves with practice. When you journal every day, you’re practicing the art of writing. And if you use a journal to express your thoughts and ideas, it can help improve your communication skills.

Reduce stress and anxiety

Sometimes negative thoughts and emotions can run on a loop in our heads. This can be stressful when you’re dealing with a challenging situation. And it can even make your present situation feel worse. But if you stop and put your emotions down on paper, it can help you release negative thoughts from your mind. As you write, you may even come up with a solution you hadn’t thought of before.

Find inspiration

Leonardo da Vinci drew some incredible invention ideas in his journals. Like him, you can also use your journaling time to brainstorm or let your imagination run wild. The inspiration that may pop up while you’re writing or sketching might even surprise you.

Strengthen memory

The Journal of Experimental Psychology published research that shows how writing your thoughts down can reduce intrusive thoughts about negative events and improve working memory. Even the simple act of writing something down lets your brain know you want to remember it. That’s why note-taking is such an effective practice when learning something new.


Explore the many different types of journaling

Ready to start but not sure how? Here are a few different types of journaling options to consider.

Stream of consciousness

Write down your thoughts as they happen. The words and thoughts don’t need to make sense, you’re simply capturing your thoughts in action.

Dream journal

Take note of your dreams each night as a way of getting in touch with your subconscious. Remember to make your journal entries right when you wake up.

Food journal

Make a note of what you’ve eaten each day. This will help you be more mindful about the foods you choose to eat. If you’re struggling with a healthy weight-loss journey, documenting what you ate can offer insight into areas you may need to change.

Fitness journal

Keep track of your workouts so you can stay committed to an active lifestyle. The best part of keeping this type of journal is seeing the progress you made over time.

Gratitude journal

Before going to sleep, make a list of everything you were thankful for that day, week, or month.

Sketch journal

Express your feelings, thoughts, and ideas through illustrations, doodles, or sketches.

Day’s events journal

Keep track of your experiences throughout the day. Whether it’s making note of a funny conversation or describing a new recipe you enjoyed.

To-do list

Instead of keeping a running tally of to-do items in your head, write them down. You can cross things off as you complete them and get a great sense of accomplishment.

No matter which type of journal you decide to keep, remember there is no right or wrong approach. It’s all up to you. The simple act of taking the time to get in touch with your mind, body, and spirit is what’s truly important.

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