Learn the many benefits of journaling & How it Can Completely Change Your Life
What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word “journaling”?
Maybe it’s that you don’t have time for it, you don’t see a need for it right now, or you hate writing. That’s what used to come to my mind. I was very resistant to the idea of journaling.
I’ve been journaling now for about 6 or 7 years, and let me tell you, if I can find the motivation to do it, anyone can. And that’s exactly what I intend to do with this article – motivate you to journal because I know it will completely shift your mindset and change your life.
In fact, to help you easily start your journaling habit I’ve included some free therapeutic journal prompts at the end of this post. Don’t forget to grab them!
So here you are – all the amazing benefits that you’ll reap from journaling. Get your pen and paper ready – you’re going to need it after this!
Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something through that link, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
The Amazing Benefits of Journaling
If you’re not journaling yet, you need to start! Here’s why.
Journaling relieves stress.
Journaling helps to reduce your stress levels because instead of carrying these heavy emotions and thoughts around with you, you’re getting them out. When you write these things down, it’s easier for you to let them go.
Do you ever have a humiliating memory that pops into you’re head as you’re trying to fall asleep? You just lay there, re-living the moment and stressing about it?
That’s a perfect thing to journal about! You could write down what happened, how you feel about, and why you feel that way. Whenever I do this, I rarely think about that embarrassing experience again.
It’s like I’ve released it and I don’t need to carry it around with me anymore. It also helps me to find the humor in it, or realize that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was.
This works the same way for any sort of stress you’re feeling, no matter what the source of it is. When you write something like this down, you’re able to straighten out your thoughts and find solutions.
If you keep everything in your head, your thoughts are just running into each other and you can’t make sense of them. I always have a realization about what I’m feeling every time I journal which helps me decide the best course forward.
It’s fairly common knowledge by now that pushing down or avoiding negative emotions causes depression and anxiety.
We need to process emotions, including stress, before we can move on in a healthy way. Journaling helps you to do that. It lessens the intensity of what you’re feeling and offers you insight to why you’re feeling the way you are.
It improves your physical health.
Studies have shown that expressive writing, including journaling, can help to lower blood pressure, improve liver function, strengthen your immune system, and improve your memory.
Pretty crazy that something so simple can have such a positive impact on our physical health, right?
But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Journaling gets your feelings and thoughts out which reduces your stress levels. Stress is often the cause behind physical ailments.
It increases mindfulness.
Why is mindfulness important? Because it shifts our focus to right now.
When we’re in the present moment, our minds are not thinking about anything from the past or worrying about what’s going to happen in the future.
We’re not obsessing over painful memories or wishing for what used to be. And we’re also not imagining every possible future scenario (and often deciding the worst case scenario is likely going to be the outcome).
When you journal, your attention is fully focused on what you’re writing, feeling and thinking in that exact moment.
You can even take it a step further by writing down everything you’re seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and hearing while journaling.
This is a lot like pressing the reset button. When you’re done journaling, you’ll almost feel as if you’re mind is a blank slate and you can intentionally focus on what you want to focus on.
It improves emotional intelligence.
Journaling doesn’t just help you process and regulate your emotions, but it also strengthens your empathy and compassion. These skills can help you navigate conflict and come to resolutions with others.
When you journal your emotions, you’re clearing your mind which enables you to more clearly see where someone else is coming from.
Think about the last time you got into a heated argument with someone you know. Your emotions were probably running high and all you could think about was how right you were, or how frustrating this person was being.
Walk away and take some time to journal. Write down everything.
At first, everything you write will be coming from a place of anger. But as you continue to write, the anger begins to dissipate and you can begin to understand where the other person was coming from.
This doesn’t mean that the other person was right or that you even have to agree, but it’s much easier to come to a resolution with someone when you’re able to see something from their point of view.
Journaling is an easy way to help you better understand the world around you.
It helps you achieve goals.
You need to stay focused on your goals in order to achieve them. Putting pen to paper is powerful in that it helps you push that information into your long-term memory.
When you take the time to journal about what you want your future to look like, you’re committing it to memory and you’re more likely to act in a way that moves you toward your goals.
Journaling about obstacles and successes along the way helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t so you’re better prepared moving forward.
Journaling also helps you really sort out what you want your goals to be and if they make sense in the context of the type of life you want to have.
What I personally like about writing down my goals it that it makes my goals feel real. If I keep them in my head, they’re just sort of floating there and I’m wishy washy about them.
But once I write them down and I see them staring me in the face, my brain realizes that it’s time to take them seriously.
Journaling will trigger other healthy habits.
Journaling is a really enjoyable habit that you probably won’t have much trouble sticking to, but when you’re first beginning it’d be helpful to incorporate into a routine you already have.
Once you’re in a habit of journaling consistently, you’ll be more energized to do other healthy things for yourself because you’ve likely released some negative emotion during your journaling session.
A couple of weeks ago, I watched a video on the importance of making your bed each morning. So the next day, I made my bed, and it actually motivated me to then clean off my night stand. By doing this everyday after that, I’m creating a belief in my mind that after I make my bed, I clean off my nightstand.
This is called “habit stacking” – using one good habit to motivate you to create and sustain additional good habits. The first habit is one that is already automatic and it serves as a trigger to do the new habit.
Since journaling is good for you, it will motivate you to do more of what is good for you.
It leads to better communication skills.
It’s obvious that writing on a regular basis is going to improve your written communication skills. But it also improves your verbal communication skills.
When you journal, you’re unloading a bunch of stuff from your mind. Because you have less to remember and sort through mentally, it’s much easier to zero in on a thought that you want to communicate to someone. You’re less likely to get distracted, go off on a tangent, or lose your train of thought.
You’ll also be in a better state of mind so you’ll come across more positively, and people will be more willing to hear what you have to say.
Journaling expands your creativity.
Journaling activates both the left and right sides of our brain. The left side of our brain is responsible for logic and the right side of our brain is responsible for creativity and feelings. When you journal, your right brain is engaging in the writing and language, which triggers your right brain to bring out your creativity.
Journaling is especially great for writers who are experiencing writer’s block. If you just sit down and start writing anything that comes to your mind, it frees up your thoughts and gets your brain into that mode.
I often find that when I journal about my goals and dreams, I come up with a lot of new ideas and plans that I never would have thought of otherwise. It’s so much fun!
It helps with your personal growth.
There’s no rule that journaling has to be about your feelings. It can be whatever you want it to be and whatever serves you most at this point in your life. I can be just for fun, or it can be to further develop yourself.
Dale Carnegie would write down what he did well and what he didn’t do well each day as a way to motivate and better himself.
But really, no matter what you decide to journal about, it’s guaranteed to help you grow as a person in some way.
Removes mental clutter so that you can think more clearly.
It’s pretty clear by now that journaling helps remove any mental clutter you have.
Whenever you feel like there’s too much going on in your mind and you can’t think straight enough to make your next move, begin writing. Write down what you have to do and what you want to do along with all the other thoughts racing through your mind.
How many times do you think about what you have to do and you feel dread, anxiety, or just pure boredom. Or times when you think about what you want to do and you feel excited, calm, or happy.
So not only do you have all of these thoughts in your head, but you also have all of these emotions accompanying them. That’s a lot for one person to carry around all day!
Getting it all out on paper means you don’t have to keep it in your memory anymore.
You’ll get to know yourself better.
Getting to know yourself is so important. How else are you going to figure out what sort of life will make you happiest?
When you write down your inner most thoughts and dreams, you begin to realize what truly makes you happy and what doesn’t. What you enjoy doing and what you don’t. What stresses you out and what brings you a sense of peace.
You figure out what doesn’t belong in your life anymore and what’s missing. You decide what your values are and what’s really important to you.
Some years ago, I had reached a point in my life where I wasn’t happy with who I had become. But I didn’t know who I wanted to be either. Journaling was a BIG part in helping me through that journey.
It improves your problem solving ability.
We usually approach problems from an analytical perspective or an emotional perspective. But when journaling, you’re also tapping into your creative side which you allows you to think of solutions that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Journaling also keeps you from approaching problems from pure emotion. You get the intense feelings out so that you can look at the problem with a level head.
It makes you happy!
A wonderful thing to journal about is what you’re grateful for. Even just doing this once in a while brings your life into perspective and reminds you of all of the amazing things you have in your life already. It brings your attention to the things you have or experienced that brought you joy.
Bonus Benefit: Journaling allows you to see how far you’ve come and records your life history.
It’s fun, interesting, and fulfilling to look back on past journal entries and see how much your life has changed and how much you’ve grown as a person. It also brings back memories that you’ve forgotten all about!
A Final Thought
So what do you think? Have I convinced you to journal? I hope so because this practice is life changing. Your life won’t miraculously change over night, but I promise you, when you look back a year from now and re-read your very first entry, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.
Go grab a fancy journal or a plain old notebook, and write your heart out!
PS: Don’t forget to grab your free Therapeutic Journal Prompts to help you get the ball rolling on journaling!
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