HOW JOURNALING CAN BETTER YOUR LIFE
We’ve provided you with a few different resources on different ways to keep journals and tips for sticking with your journaling, be it daily, sporadic, project-based, or other journaling. But you may still be asking yourself; why do I need to keep a journal at all? If you’re looking for a reason to start journaling, look no further: we’ve compiled a list of benefits–from stress reduction to asthma relief–that can come from keeping journals.
Personal and Emotional Benefits of Journaling:
Healing Benefits of Journaling:
- One of the most traditionally accepted benefits of journaling is leaving a record of your life’s history for your loved ones and posterity. Although the legacy you are leaving in your journals may not be a benefit you feel immediately, it can bring you a sense of satisfaction and peace to know that important details of your life will not be forgotten.
- When you regularly record your thoughts, you can more easily gain insight into your moods, behaviors, and habits. Journaling daily about what you do and how you feel can help you identify emotional patterns.
- In this post, we suggested Gratitude Journaling as a good way to start a daily journaling practice, and in this one we wrote about Oprah’s experiences with her own gratitude journals and why she says it’s the most important thing she’s ever done. Shawn Achor says that journaling every day about three new things you are grateful for every day helps you look for the positive instead of the negative in life and ultimately boosts optimism, improving your outlook in everyday situations.
- Journaling can boost your self esteem as it allows you to identify your values, measure your integrity, take credit for your strengths, and assess your weaknesses.
Health Benefits of Journaling:
- Journaling has proven to be an extremely effective tool in healing from traumatic events. Journaling about an event that is hard for a person to face allows them to fully explore the event, and writing thoughts down on paper tends to release more emotions than if the person struggling kept all of their thoughts in their own mind.
- Journaling is very effective for stress-reduction (see “Health Benefits of Journaling”).
- If you engage in any sort of therapy, journaling about your sessions allows you to revisit your sessions quickly and more in-depth, facilitating faster healing.
- Even if you don’t participate in therapy, some people consider journaling to be “their own counselor” by allowing them to record their thoughts and re-read (and re-assess) them later with a new and clearer state of mind.
Creative Benefits of Journaling:
- Journaling daily has been proven to decrease symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health complications.
- Journaling about stressful events can help you come to terms with them and reduces the chances that they will stress you further. Journaling can also combat general stress and anxiety disorders.
- Because it reduces stress, journaling also improves the immune system: University of Texas at Austin psychologist James Pennebaker has conducted research that proves that regular journaling strengthens immune cells.
- Journaling is one of the only activities that exercises both hemispheres of the brain. As you are journaling, the left hemisphere of your brain (which deals with analytical and rational reasoning) is occupied, which frees your right brain of creative blocks and allows greater intuition and feeling. Because it exercises both sides of your brain, journaling is a great exercise in engaging your entire mind, increasing your ability to come up with new ideas and draw connections.
- Julia Cameron suggests that journaling three unprompted and unedited pages every day boosts creative energy and productivity. You might consider undertaking her “Morning Pages” journaling project if you are faced with writer’s block.
As you can see, the benefits of journaling are extremely varied and valuable. How has journaling benefitted your life?