According to many studies, journaling is good for your brain and your overall physical and emotional health. And it doesn’t matter if you write useful information, track your goals, or just write your thoughts as they come. The act of writing what’s in your head helps you unlock a lot of potential your brain wouldn’t be able to use otherwise. Not convinced? Here are the most common, often life-altering benefits of journaling.
Reasons to start journaling today!
1. Journaling helps you sleep better
Journaling before going to sleep and maintaining a to-do list can help you sleep better because if things are written, you don’t have to worry that you may forget them. By writing things down, you can get them out of your head and onto paper.
Journaling about good things before going to bed has been shown to be very helpful because it takes your mind off of dark thoughts that keep you awake. In a study, college students who wrote about the good things in life slept better at night.
If your problem is that you feel overwhelmed, you may consider a to-do list. Lots of people have a hard time going to sleep at night because they worry about things they need to do in the future, or they worry about things that have happened in the past. Instead of worrying about the past, realize that the past is over and nothing can be done about it. However, journaling about things that bother you is helpful because it allows you to get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. If your worries are about the future, take five minutes at night to write a to-do list. A to-do list helps your mind tie up all the loose ends that are keeping you awake. This will help you get a good night’s sleep (one of the many important benefits of journaling).
2. Journaling makes you more grateful
Writing down the things that make you happy can make you feel more grateful. In order to be more optimistic and have a better sense of self-worth, it helps to think about the good things in your life.
Keeping a gratitude journal can have a big impact on your life. Besides helping you sleep better, giving thanks can help lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, and lower depression.
3. Helps reduce symptoms of depression
Many mental health experts say that keeping a journal can help you manage your depression symptoms.
Depression sufferers find journaling helps clear their minds because journaling allows us the freedom to get things out of our heads. Just writing things down may often allow you to figure out what’s bothering you, because it can help you find the patterns and thoughts that lead to depression. As you clear your mind, your mood often changes for the better.
4. Helps solve your problems and stop you from complaining
Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, says that you should write three pages every morning—morning pages. This is a very popular and effective technique. However, if you are a complainer writing your daily morning pages, you’ll tire of complaining about the same things repeatedly. Instead, you’ll look for solutions and ways to move forward as soon as you start to feel bad. This is the power of writing down your thoughts and feelings. Journaling is also a great way to get a better sense of what you want and how to get it.
5. Expands your IQ
Evidence suggests that with long-term and continued journaling, your intelligence can be improved. That’s because writing forces us to think and speak in established language forms. Also, according to a report from the University of Victoria, there is evidence that “writing as part of language learning has a positive effect on intelligence.”
6. Strengthens your memory
Writing can help your brain better take in, process, store, and retrieve information. In other words, writing helps you remember things better. It helps you improve your comprehension skills, which leads to better memory. Journaling also has a direct effect on your working memory. When you are writing your thoughts, you are going over them again and again because your thoughts run faster than you can write. By doing this regularly, you build the capacity of your working memory and instant recall.
7. Builds focus and attention
Writing a journal is one of the best ways to keep your focus on anything. The relationship between the hand and the brain is sparked by how thoughts and ideas come together. Ideas are shown in words; the process of making letters while journaling makes the mind think about how to write or rewrite ideas. This strengthens the information you learned before and makes you think about what you learned.
8. Writing helps you find your own voice
When you write things down every day, you get in touch with your true self. And when you write every day, it’s hard to put on a show.
Writing honestly is a way to accept yourself. The more confident you become about expressing yourself on paper, the more you will do so in life.
9. Improves cognitive processing
Writing impacts your ability to think and make decisions. By writing, you are better able to understand complex material and unfamiliar concepts. Writing your thoughts makes you think about them in a new way. When you write something down, your brain automatically starts thinking about it. It helps you understand more, and it also helps clear up any ambiguity that those ideas might have when they’re just running through your head.
10. Journaling relieves stress
Researchers found that writing about stressful events helped patients make sense of tragedy and lessen their stress. Stress hormones like cortisol can build up in your body when you’re upset for a long time. This weakens your immune system. However, writing about painful things lowers your cortisol levels and helps you heal faster.
We live in the Information Age, which means our minds have to process a lot of information continually. It’s hard to take in so much information and then process it and put it to use. People who have a hard time remembering and processing information can be very stressed and make poor decisions because of this. If you want to forget more things, write them down. You’ll be able to go back to the information or a thought that you thought about a while back. This reduces the stress and anxiety that comes with multitasking.
11. Journaling boosts your creativity
Writing is always a creative thing to do, but it also helps you unlock your creative abilities. Writing in a journal helps us think outside the box and connect ideas that may be harder to do if we’re just thinking.
12. Journaling boosts your emotional intelligence
Writing makes you feel good. When we write down our trauma and negative experiences, we can better understand what we are dealing with and how to deal with it. It gives us a place to go, which helps us think and feel better. It also helps us look at our emotional problems in a new way, which improves our emotional intelligence.
A person with high emotional intelligence can see and manage their own emotions, as well as those of others. Journaling is a way to process emotions and become more aware of yourself. This internal familiarity becomes a bridge to empathy, and you’ll be able to better sense and understand what others are going through. How well you are able to connect with someone is a sign of how well you understand emotions.
13. Improves mindfulness
Many say that happiness and mindfulness go hand in hand. When you write down your thoughts, you become more aware of what is going on right now. It brings a mind that isn’t paying attention, back to attention.
14. Helps you achieve goals
When we are journaling, our writing will often include our dreams and goals. Simply writing our goals and dreams will not make them come true, but our writing can help you form a plan to achieve your goals. When you’re writing, your brain is paying attention. For the best results, try to be specific about your goals. Instead of saying “I want to earn more money,” say instead how much money you want to earn this year. Goals that are specific help build a mental picture of how to reach them, which increases the chances that your goals will be reached.
15. Helps improve your self-discipline
Journaling is like a muscle–the more you work it, the stronger it gets. If you are new to journaling, you’ll notice soon enough that it could feel like a chore. Setting aside time to write, whether in the morning or at night, is an act of discipline. But there is good news! Habits that start in one area of your life spread to other parts of your life. For example, keeping your office clean leads to keeping your bedroom clean, and your daily habit of writing will lead to other healthy habits.
16. Improved communication skills
According to this Stanford University report, there is a critical connection between writing and speaking. Although you are writing to yourself, journaling is a form of written communication. The subvocalization of tracing your written thoughts naturally translates into actual vocalization. However, it’s not just about writing. If your goal is to improve your verbal communication, you must have a deliberate aim to tidy up your writing before you will see benefits in your speech.
17. Journaling opens you to your potential
In her book “Morning Pages,” Julia Cameron talks about the “stream of consciousness.” She is of the opinion that it is not a matter of us not being creative. Rather, it’s about us needing to create an outlet to flow freely. Julia Cameron recommends we write three pages, first thing in the morning, using “stream of consciousness” writing. “Stream of consciousness” means to write without thinking. This kind of writing brings out thoughts and ideas that we never knew we had, and it loosens up your expressive muscles.
18. Builds self-confidence
Journaling about a good experience helps you relive those moments. This makes you feel good, and the release of endorphins and dopamine will put you in a better mood. These written memories can become a record of your own personal achievements that you keep going back to.
19. Boosts your immune system
Writing your thoughts can have a huge impact on your health. In fact, people who write about their feelings say that it helps them deal with their anxiety and it helps them to move on. For example, research found that people who wrote about stressful events in their lives saw their asthma and rheumatology improve. Other research shows that journaling can help people with terminal or life-threatening illnesses like HIV/AIDS. However, just writing in a journal isn’t enough. There is evidence that people who write to better understand their emotions get the most benefit from journaling.
20. Helps injuries heal faster
Research shows that older people who have had medically necessary biopsies heal faster after they write their thoughts and feelings.
People who write about their trauma heal 4.4 times faster than people who don’t, a study says. It takes longer for the body to heal from stress, so when you lower your cortisol levels, you’re tapping into the physical benefits of calmness.
21. Journaling helps you learn from your experiences
When you write things down and reflect on them, you’re more likely to learn from them. The Harvard Business School did a study and found that reflecting on what you’ve learned makes your experiences more valuable.
22. Journaling teaches you to better express yourself
When you write your thoughts, you learn how to better express yourself. Having clear thoughts leads to clear communication, which leads to clear writing. When you write well, it’s easier to get your point across in real life, too.
23. Helps increase your self-awareness
In order to become more self-aware, be sure to write about the things that are happening in your life, and your feelings about it. This allows you to think about what you’re going through and move past powerful emotions. Journaling can also help you see things from a different perspective.