Journaling has an important role in our history. We’ve learned much about the past through the diaries and journals kept by scholars, writers, politicians, military leaders, religious figures and everyday people. It’s a tradition that dates back to at least the 2nd century, when Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius kept a record of his thoughts and ideas. Similarly, philosopher Li Ao journaled his trip through China in the 9th century.
While there’s nothing new about journaling, we now know that the benefits of keeping a journal extend far beyond maintaining a record of our experiences. A journal is whatever you make it. To some, it’s an organizer and a place to jot down notes, ideas and plans. To others, it’s a form of therapy that allows for emotional catharsis and healing.
Whether you’re using your journal to stay on task or put your mind at ease, it’s a powerful tool. Here are seven ways journaling can benefit you:
It’s good for your health. Research has shown that journaling can help keep you healthy by strengthening your immune system, which makes you better equipped to fight off illness. Journaling is also good for the brain as it improves memory and boosts comprehension.
It opens a window into your inner self. If you’re looking to do some soul searching, writing down your thoughts and feelings can help. Don’t edit yourself, just jot down whatever comes to mind. This stream of consciousness can uncover ideas and emotions you didn’t realize you had.
It reduces stress and anxiety. Journaling can be an effective tool when it comes to managing stress and anxiety. When you’re facing a stressful situation or feeling anxious, write about it. It can help you explore what exactly is stressing you out and how to solve the issue. If you find your mind racing at bedtime, journaling can allow you to release the worries and get some sleep.
It can help you deal with trauma. Dealing with negative past experiences is no easy feat, yet journaling can be a powerful outlet for the pain. When you’re overwhelmed by hurt, sadness and anger, writing about it can lower the intensity of what you’re feeling and help you to process the emotions and thoughts linked to your pain.
It puts you in a good mood. Instead of journaling your worries and pain, fill your pages with positive vibes. Keep a gratitude journal and make time on a regular basis to jot down the things you’re thankful for. When you’re feeling down, revisit your list for a pick-me-up.
It supports your goals. Journaling can be a useful tool for staying organized and reaching your goals. Whether you want to develop a new habit, change your ways or make a big dream come true, putting it in writing makes it real. You can also use the journal to track your progress and look back on your success when you doubt yourself.
It keeps you mindful. Meditation isn’t the only way to practice mindfulness. Journaling allows you to release what’s on your mind and focus on the present moment. It promotes a sense of calm and allows for quiet contemplation.