Journaling Benefits: Why Starting A Journal Should Be On Your List Of Goals For Next Year
You probably know by now that journaling is a “good” thing to do. Your Instagram feed is full of people sharing their #BuJo spreads. Your best mate says journaling every day has changed their life. And you’re starting to wonder… are the journaling benefits really as good as everyone says they are?
Well, we decided to find out.
What does the data say about journaling benefits?
Don’t worry, you haven’t accidentally wandered into a science class. We’re not going to ask you to read any scary scientific reports.
Instead, we’ll just say this. The scientific world is a big fan of journaling.
From supporting those experiencing trauma to managing challenging student experiences, there are a lot of benefits associated with journaling.
When a group of registered nurses took part in a journaling study, they revealed that:
- Journaling helped them to unleash their inner-most feelings
- Journaling helped them to articulate and understand their feelings
- Journaling helped them make better decisions
“There is increasing evidence that journaling has positive effects on our physical and mental health. Exploring our thoughts and feelings on paper can provide the opportunity for reflection, problem solving and clarity which can be a very effective form of stress relief.”
The data is clear.
Journaling can help you connect with yourself in a deeper, more meaningful way. You can develop a stronger understanding of your thoughts and emotions, and use that understanding to make better decisions.
The psychological benefits of writing down your thoughts
The concept of writing down your thoughts is heavily associated with teen diaries, usually written in the dead of night and kept under padlock and key.
But it’s more than that.
Writing has so many practical benefits too. You’re able to process your thoughts before catastrophising about them. You can dive into your feelings in more depth. And you can understand the triggers behind your emotions.
“Being able to write your thoughts and feelings down on paper can help you to ‘dump’ those thoughts somewhere else, rather than keeping them in your head which can lead to anxiety and feelings of overwhelm.
Seeing those thoughts and feelings written down can then allow you to organise them better in your head and understand them more clearly.”
Dr Christie Lewis
Daily journaling benefits: should you journal every day?
Whilst we’d never tell you to follow a pre-set prescription, there’s a lot to be said for journaling every day.
“I often recommend journaling to my clients who are struggling with brain fog and burnout. Writing the constant barrage of thoughts and tasks down on paper always helps them to seek clarity and reduce the mental load they often struggle with.”
Dr Christie Lewis
Daily journaling enables the practice to become a regular part of your life. By spending just a few minutes journaling each day, you’ll start to recognise triggers and patterns in your emotions.
Just try these daily journaling benefits on for size:
- You’re more in tune with your emotions
- You can recognise triggers for stress and anxiety
- You start to detect patterns in your emotions and what brings you joy
- You develop more creative ideas
- You can reduce feelings of overwhelm
- You’re able to focus better
- You get your thoughts out of your head and down onto paper
- You develop increased self-awareness
- You become clearer on your goals and self-direction
The benefits of journaling before bed
If there’s one thing we could all do with more of, it’s sleep.
But how do you sleep soundly, when your mind is full of thoughts, anxieties and worries from that day?
You write them down in your journal.
Journaling before bed has been proven to help you sleep better. If you can clear your mind at the end of each day, ridding yourself of any worries and anxieties, you have a better chance of relaxing into a peaceful slumber.
And, of course, you can celebrate what went well too. Bedtime journaling is the perfect way to start a gratitude journal, a much-loved method to bring more positivity into your life.
Finally, any to-dos left on your list can be parked until the next day. You can write them down, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be forgotten. Ready to start tomorrow feeling fresh and well-rested.
How to journal for your mental health
There are many different ways to journal for your mental health. The key? Experiment to find the right one for you and your specific needs. We’ve rounded up some of our personal favourites below to help you get started.
When you’re struggling to focus…
If lack of focus is holding you back, give Morning Pages a try. This journaling method is loved by the creative community the world over, and for good reason too.
Morning Pages gets all the mundane to-dos, chores and anxieties out of your head before you start the day. So you can go into your creative work with a clear head, ready to take on the world!
When you want to understand a specific thought or emotion…
When you want to take a deep dive into a specific thought, freewriting is the best place to start.
Simply find a quiet corner of your home, open up your favourite journal and start to write about that emotion. When did you first notice it? When does it occur most often? How does it feel?
When you want to get to know yourself better…
New to journaling? If you’re not sure where to start, a series of simple prompts can help you get used to writing again. You’ll be surprised at just how much you have to say.
Try answering these journaling prompts:
- How am I feeling today?
- What’s caused these emotions?
- What can I do to support myself in this moment?
And that’s it! Get ready to discover the world of journaling benefits for yourself.
Disconnect from digital. And reconnect with yourself.
Inside your journal…