Have you ever kept a journal—when you were traveling, as a way to record important events of your life, or as a tool for working through a difficult time? There are many reasons why we journal. From travel journals, dream journals, gratitude journals to prayer journals, we keep specific journals for different aspects of our life.
Journaling offers an array of benefits — from easing stress to sparking self-discovery. Journaling is mindfulness in motion. It shines a spotlight on the invaluable things in your life that you might not always recognize.
Here are some incredible journaling benefits that may inspire you to get into the habit.
- Helps in Achieving Goals
The physical act of writing down a goal can make it feel more real and can motivate you to achieve it. You can use your journal to not only craft specific goals, but also to monitor your progress as you take steps toward accomplishing those goals.
Using your journal can help you keep track of where you are in the process of achieving your goals and troubleshoot any challenges that arise in the process.
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Journaling can be a great pressure releasing valve when we feel overwhelmed or simply have a lot going on internally. It lets you work through your anxious feelings and obsessive worries before you descent into rumination and stress.
Writing down your feelings helps you to “brain-dump” your anxieties, frustrations and pains on a journal. It helps you identify stress-inducing thoughts and beliefs that are distortions of reality. You begin to notice when you’re in a bad mood or when you overgeneralize with words like “always” or “never” to describe your experiences.
- Helps you Sleep Better
Who hasn’t tossed and turned into the night with thoughts of unfinished tasks circling in their mind? Bedtime worry about incomplete future tasks contributes significantly to people’s difficulty in falling asleep.
Writing about positive events before bedtime helps, as it redirects your mind from dark thoughts that keep you up. In another study, you may also sleep better if you journal about the bright side of life.
- Boosts Memory
Writing information down by hand is an effective way to commit ideas to memory. When you write by hand, it stimulates a collection of cells called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Your mind then puts whatever you’re focusing on at the forefront and processes it at a deeper level. The physical act of writing brings information centerstage and lets your brain know it should pay close attention.
When you’re writing, you’re letting your brain know your words are important.
- Inspires Creativity
Writing a journal is a great way to unleash your creativity into expressing yourself and solving problems. If you’re the type of person who constantly has ideas coming to them, a journal is a great place to jot those down quickly so you don’t forget. You can revisit your notes later and write a more detailed entry around your idea.
Everyone has the potential to be creative, just that most of us haven’t discovered it yet. Your journal is the best place to start exploring your inner creativity. Write down anything that comes to your mind. Let your imaginations run wild.
- Improves your mood
Writing down your fears lifts your spirits because you’re expressing your emotions instead of keeping them bottled up. It also puts things in perspective and makes you realize that no matter how bad things seem, there are solutions and things to be grateful for now.
Writing clears your mind of intrusive thoughts and problems that you can’t stop thinking about. It also helps you identify your triggers and learn how to handle them.
- Improves your Sense of Gratitude
Keeping a gratitude journal can have life-changing effects. Writing down your positive thoughts can boost your sense of gratitude. Focusing on all the good things in life makes you more optimistic and boosts your self-esteem.
Expressing gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and help you sleep better. It also helps with depression, fatigue and insomnia.
- Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Writing about anything from today’s highlights to your biggest achievements gives you a brighter outlook on your life. A lack of confidence usually means an inner critic or a voice of self-doubt. And although that voice never goes away, journaling puts it into perspective. It gives space for your positive thoughts so the negatives don’t take over.
Journaling reaffirms your abilities when the ugly head of self-doubt appears. The release of endorphins and dopamine will boost your self-esteem and mood. These reflections can become a catalog of personal achievements that you continue to go back to.