The Benefits of Journaling

When I was seven, my mom gave me my first journal. It was bound like a book and had a mixture of fluffy cats and bright sunflowers on the cover, and I fell in LOVE with it!

I remember taking it to the window seat and writing out my very first story, which went like this:

“I saw a bunny, and it was white. He ate three carrots and he hopped around, and his name was C- and he’s got a mom. Then, he ate two carrots and he lived happily ever after.”

journaling in 1996
Say hello to 1996!

Hey, it’s not bad for a seven-year-old! Thankfully, my writing has improved since then, and my love of journaling never went away.

I kept a steady journal until college, but I ended up slacking off due to other responsibilities. However, I’ve started journaling again, and I’ve found that it has some incredible benefits!

Let’s take a look.

Journaling helps you stay Organized.

In today’s crazy world, it can be hard to keep your thoughts cohesive. When you feel overwhelmed, try writing them down! Seeing your thoughts on paper can give you a new perspective and help you figure out what you were trying to say. Plus, the act of writing them down forces them to come together, so that alone is worth the price of a notebook.

Journaling can improve your Writing Skills.

The more you write, the better you become. And, if you journal every day, you’re bound to see some improvement in your writing skills. Even if it’s a personal diary and you’re not worried about penmanship or grammar, simply writing down events or memories will help you see writing in a new light.

Journaling relieves Stress and helps you manage Emotions.

You might not know this, but writing is a cathartic experience. Pouring your problems onto a sheet of paper releases them from your body and lets you see the issue in a calmer light- kind of like screaming into the void, but with a more physical medium that you can come back to later.

Your journal also acts as a safe place to express your fears, complaints, problems, fantasies, and desires without feeling judged, and that freedom goes a long way in helping you manage your emotions.

Journaling can help you Set and Visualize your Goals.

When I was younger, I liked to write about daily life. As I grew older, I tried writing about what I wanted my life to become. Now, I get to look back and see which dreams stuck and which fell by the wayside because, unbeknownst to me, I had used my journal to set goals.

When you add a goal or a future wish to a journal, it’s always there for you to come back to and revisit- sometimes in success, sometimes in failure, but always for nostalgia. Plus, there’s a belief that when you put a goal into writing, you start manifesting that goal into your life. What better place to put it than a journal?

Journaling allows you to Self Reflect and Grow.

Listen, my teenage diaries are a mess. I was completely boy crazy back then, so 90% of my entries are, “X looked at me, I think he likes me!

Talk about cringe.

However, I love looking back at that shy, naive little girl and seeing how far I’ve come since then- both in writing and in personality.

My journals are a portal into my past lives, and they will always remind me of my roots. They can do the same to you. Even if you start one today and plan to write in it for a year, you’ll be amazed at how much you can change in that time.

Journaling helps Boost your Memory.

It’s true! Using a pen and paper provides a more sensory experience, and you’re more likely to remember the information if it’s handwritten.

To verify this claim, I came across a study by Pam Miller and Daniel Oppenheimer. Conducted in 2014, they found that people who took handwritten notes remembered information better than people who used computers.

Now, the study was over college students, and I didn’t sift through all the nitty-gritty details. The gist is that handwriting notes (and summarizing the information written) lends itself to better retention.

And journaling is the perfect way to put that theory into practice!

Journaling can Inspire Creativity.

Need to record an idea? Throw it in the journal. Want to remember how the sunset took on the pink hue of a melon? Journal it.

A journal is more than a record-keeper. It also inspires creativity by giving you a space to explore your imagination. Write down ideas, thoughts, feelings, events, even people! Whatever catches your fancy.

Then, figure out how they connect! Soon enough, you’ll have a story worth telling.

Journaling is an underrated pleasure, and I look forward to the moments when I can sit down with my journal (and some coffee) and just write without reservations. It’s just me and my words, and that’s enough.

Do you keep a journal? How has it benefited you? Let me know!

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