7 reasons why you should write and keep a journal

Today I thought I’d share some of the benefits I’ve found to writing and journaling over the last 30 years. Learn a few ideas on how you can get started in your writing journey and how it can help benefit you in life, career, and personal happiness.

  1. 1. Studies show it helps improve your mental health 

You can express yourself freely without being judged by other people or put up against your peers or worry about the number of likes. It’s a way to brain dump your thoughts and opinions in a safe place. Getting your thoughts out and onto paper is key when going through a difficult period. Keeping a journal improves self-confidence by clarifying your thoughts and feelings. An article in the Huffington Post that talked about a study that was published in the journal of Psychological Science that reported writing your thoughts down and physically throwing them in the bin can be an effective way to clear your mind. I’ve heard of other versions where people write down their thoughts and rip the paper up before binning them. I want to put out a challenge today that if you find yourself struggling with negative thoughts or face a challenge at work to write down 3 things you are thankful for. 

  1. 2. It helps you express your creativity

You don’t need to be creative to write. Let me repeat. You don’t need to be creative to write. Although I’d like to challenge anyone who thinks they are not creative. I think for too long we’ve boxed creativity into the arts and that’s just not the only definition of creativity.

  1. 3. Helps you improve self-awareness to get to know yourself better 

Self-awareness the key to any success in life. Putting your thoughts on paper is one of the best ways to get to know who you are and what you like, what you don’t like. What you want… When you force yourself to write every day, you automatically become more aware of your thoughts. I believe it’s the number 1 most important task anyone can take upon themselves in life and should, is to self-reflect and one of the best mediums for this is a journal.

  1. 4. It helps reduces stress and anxiety 

Writing helps you to focus especially when anxiety and stress cause your thoughts are out of control due to internal or external causes that triggered a group of emotions and feelings. When you write you are forced to unplug from your current state, phones, and distractions and even if you write out something difficult, I find it helps me look at it objectively and undress from the situation that perhaps is making me feel anxious in that moment. This has been a particularly useful tool for me to get through a period of severe anxiety, so I know first hand this works. When I journal, I’m better. “A study from the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment showed thatThe researchers noted that 15–20 minutes on three to five occasions was enough to help the study participants deal with traumatic, stressful, or otherwise emotional events.”

  1. 5. Helps you make better decisions 

Have you ever done something and thought why did I do that? When you journal regularly you’ll find that you become more clear of the why behind that decision or action. Of course, we don’t always know everything, but this is a good place to start to help us make better more informed decisions. Journaling helps us understand our decisions and not to dwell on them. Philosopher and psychologist William James once said, “If you can change your mind, you can change your life” 

  1. 6. Helps solve problems more effectively 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When you write your thoughts out then you enable yourself the opportunity to identify lessons and find solutions to circumstances and challenges it wouldn’t otherwise be possible if just keeping within your thoughts, writing, especially when you write creatively, for instance, circling keywords, task, or theme, helps us to remember those moments, thoughts, or ideas that we can come back to and progress into something bigger and more productive. 

  1. 7. Helps you record memories and reflect on life goals

Where you are in life and how far you’ve come. You may not feel like it, but your journal is always there for encouragement. That you’ve progressed from January, or even last week. A journal is a piece of evidence that encouraging though so it’s no longer an airy-fairy sentiment, but meaningful. It’s especially great for when you need to be reminded that you have come through difficult or challenging situations before and you can do it again. You can go again.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that it’s not so much about what you write about, but how you write about it. I know many will say that they don’t always know what to say, but I think if you start to find three or four words to describe your day you’ll be off to a good start.

The What – what you write about is… 

Where

When

Why 

How 

How matters because It’s important to think about what you are thinking and feeling rather than just the emotion. If we start with what and end there it will create problems so it’s important to explore all aspects and challenge yourself.

When you make writing a daily habit, then I believe you will find greater fulfilment, self-improvement, and most importantly, allow yourself greater opportunity to share your ideas with the world in an impactful way.

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