8 Surprising Benefits of Journaling You’re Overlooking

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People keep journals for different reasons. Some do it to unlock their creativity, others to document their personal growth, understand their dreams or for career purposes. No matter what your goal is, the bottom line is that there are many benefits of journaling and writing your thoughts down. If President Theodore Roosevelt, Anne Frank, and other famous people wrote theirs down, you should consider doing the same.

The basic concept of journaling is unclogging and decluttering. It helps you better organize all areas of your life.

Think of journaling as taking pieces of puzzles in your mind and placing them on paper to formulate a full picture. It, by extension, makes you a better writer and communicator. You can also use it to document your life, things you never want to forget or ideas you might forget but need to remember.

Here are ten surprising mental benefits of journaling, especially if you’re new to it or are considering starting:

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1. Reduce stress

By expressing yourself on paper, you transfer most of the burden from within you to an entity outside of you. It has the same therapeutic effect as talking and having a trusted friend or therapist talking to you. Journaling makes it less likely for stresses and anxieties of life to take root inside you and run your life.

Journaling frees you from tension within. Carrying this mentality will motivate you to purge on a piece of paper. It also empowers you; you’re able to see the areas that are within your control. Once you understand that you’re in control of your life, you can start  making changes and take the necessary steps toward stress management.

Learn more about the benefits of journaling for stress management here.

2. Helps with healing

Writing is used as a tool by metal health medical practitioners to help patients track their sessions. Researchers and doctors have found that writing exercises given to participants with physical, emotional and psychological problems can show substantial improvements in their mental and physical wellness. When you are stressed, both your mind and body are affected, and journaling acts to facilitate healing by removing blockages.

There’s no magic to it—stress, emotional pain, and negative thoughts have been proven to affect our health and the choices we make. Journaling facilitates the journey toward a positive outlook on life.

3. Facilitates self-reflection

Often life will move around you quite fast, and you won’t get the time to soak it all in. Journaling helps you stop time, figuratively, to take stock of the things going on within and outside you. Through journaling, you’ll be able to see patterns in behavior and thought, especially over things that stress or cause you anxiety.

When you look back on your pages, you can notice recurring themes, experiences or actions that may need changing. This awareness equips you to make necessary changes.  As time goes by, you’ll see a positive change and growth in you that’ll encourage you to keep journaling.

4. Improve your memory and communication skills

When you journal, you become better at storing information in your mind. Writing down things you’ve learned or experiences in details cements them into your memory. Your brain makes new connections and gets to store this information in the long-term memory “vault” of your mind.

With your thoughts organized and well-articulated on paper, you can communicate ideas and experiences better. Journaling, albeit to yourself, is still a form of communication. With time, all of that internal communication will also improve your verbal communications, by extension.

5. Helps set and achieve goals

When you write things down, you’re more likely to achieve your goals. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you continuously write them down.

In a journal, you can get into the details of what you want to do, how to get there, and what is potentially hindering you from getting there. You can monitor your progress, and even when you fail, cheerlead yourself back on track. That can be done by taking a look at your previous wins to give you a confidence boost.

The act of daily journaling requires discipline. Once you’re able to follow through, it will spill over into other areas of your life. You’ll have the will to do things that you’ve been putting off for days, months or even years.

Starting with goals and aspirations is a great journaling tip for beginners. So if keeping a journal is new to you, this can be your starting point!

6. Inspires creativity

Like Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way says, everyone is an artist.

Being an artist isn’t restricted to mainstream ideas. Every child is born a creative, and we can see it in their ability to imagine fictional worlds as they play. This same creativity never gets lost, it only lies dormant. By journaling, you can unlock your inner creativity.

Letting your mind wander to the furthest corners will bring about some surprising discoveries. Creativity is not limited to making art; it’s also about how you problem-solve in any given situation.

Here are some journaling ideas to unleash your creativity. Or you can check out these 30 daily journaling prompts for adults.

7. Cultivates mindfulness

Don’t let this buzzword put you off. Mindfulness has been proven to be one of the keys to happiness.

The basic concept of mindfulness is this: people often live in the past and the future. They regret their past and worry about their future. Mindfulness helps you live in the now, only allowing you to delve into the past and future for referencing and planning purposes.

When the mind is in this present state, it is unable to be affected by the stress and anxieties that otherwise plague us. Journaling allows you to lay down your worries; you actively engage in thoughts instead of being a passive participant.

8. Improves emotional intelligence

Also known as EQ, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage emotions, both yours and those of others. Journaling exposes your real feelings and creates a space in which to analyze them. You can note the cause of certain words and actions. This process increases your empathy so that when someone does or says something, you can understand their reasoning behind it.

Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a sign of high emotional intelligence. It makes it easy to build and maintain deeper connections with others.

There Are Limitless Benefits of Journaling

We’ve just scratched the surface of all the benefits of journaling. From mental clarity to improving creativity and even treating depression, it’s hard to dispute the benefits of journaling. But it’s easy to understand why some of the most successful people in the world are proponents of writing down your thoughts..

If at the beginning of this article you thought journaling is a fashionable trend, we hope to have convinced you otherwise. Try it yourself, won’t you?

Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a mental healthcare professional.

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