Writing has always had a leading role in my life. I started documenting a little (or actually a lot) of my daily life, important occasions and even conversations with friends I wanted to remember forever.
As a young girl, my trusty companions were always number code lock diaries that at the time was the height of youth stationery. These notebooks are harder to find now because many companies have evolved to offer journals that are specifically catered to all your journaling needs. We won’t delve into the specifics of journals but if you’re interested, you can read about our best journal picks too!
benefits of journaling
Funnily enough, I’ve never really googled the benefits of journaling even after close to 15 years of keeping journals. I already liked writing so it never occurred to me that journaling could also bring about actual health benefits. Are you surprised? So am I!
1. journaling helps creates TANGIBLE memories
A lot of us journal to remember the little and big things in our life and this is also, I think, one of the top reasons why us journalers actually write down our experiences instead of just printing photos.
Besides keeping a daily journal, I’m sure most of you have also tried travel journaling which I find to be most enjoyable. With none of us being able to travel for the time being, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with all that holiday journaling. Live your holidays through these memories once more.
2. journaling can BOOST your CREATIVITY
Do you prefer digital or analogue journaling? While the convenience of these digital apps attract many users, everything is -as an app should be- pre-fixed. For those who prefer a more personalised approach, you’ll find yourself limited when it comes to style and colour of your digital app.
An analogue journal allows you to customise everything, thus boosting your creative side. With so many stickers, washi tapes and even inks to choose from, the possibilities are endless!
3. JOURNaling cAN increase productivity
If you’re familiar with Ryder Caroll’s method of bullet journaling, you’ll know that the bullet journal method prides itself on being a mindful practice centred around ‘purpose powered productivity’. Journaling is one activity that makes you use both your logical right side of the brain and your more creative left.
When I first got my hands on my 2021 journal, the first thing I did was create a finance, mood and sleep tracker.The journal ‘reminds’ me to fill these tasks and to take away time from my digital devices.
Writing enables you to retain information better and with a physical reminder, you’ll be encouraged to take care of your tasks and move towards your goals.
4. journaling AIDS WITH REDUCING STRESS & ANXIETY
Everyone is probably feeling a higher level of stress and anxiety with the current situation. As someone who is no stranger to the brunt of anxiety attacks, I find solace in journaling where I can express myself without worry. So what exactly is the science behind the effect of journaling on your mental health?
Well, according to a study done by The Pennsylvania State University, the ‘Positive affect Journaling’ (PAJ) has been associated with positive outcomes amongst a medical population.
Adults who had various medical conditions and elevated anxiety symptoms were found to have decreased mental distress and increased well-being after PAJ. PAJ was also found to lessen depressive symptoms and anxiety after 1 month.
5. journaling ALLOWS YOU TO SLEEP BETTER
Have you found yourself tossing and turning in bed over an incomplete task or simply, a bad day? If your answer is yes, you’ll be glad to know another powerful effect journaling has: allowing you to sleep better.
A study found that those who created to-do lists for their tasks were able to fall asleep significantly faster than those who did not. This study goes hand-in-hand with the fact that writing is able to boost your productivity. With better rest, you’ll be able to complete your tasks more efficiently and with less worry too!
6. journaling GIVEs YOUR HEALTH A BOOST
Writing about traumatic events can be extremely painful. But did you know that by writing about the negative events in your life can actually help you in your ability to cope with stress by organising and simplifying your problem?
Being unable to solve a problem causes you great strain not just on your mental health but your physical health too. Based on this study, it shows that by writing expressively, you can reduce intrusive and avoidant thoughts, freeing up your cognitive resources for other mental activities that include the ability to cope with stress.
7. journaling HELPS improve your healing factor
Besides effects on your mental health, journaling also aids in healing your injuries too. New studies seem to suggest that writing has physical benefits to those who battle with terminal and life-threatening illnesses.
Even though skeptics have expressed doubt, an experiment conducted found that patients who wrote about their stress improved more and deteriorated less than their peers who didn’t.
8. journaling PRODUCES THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS
Ever heard of the term ‘Amygdala’? Me neither. Scientists have found that when you see an angry or sad face, an increase in activity in a region of your brain, the amygdala happens. This activates your danger senses, leading to a cascade of systems that will protect your body.
What this means is that your body essentially ‘protects’ you even when you’re just looking at a photo of someone angry! What it also means is that you’re likely to feel less angry or sad once you’re able to verbalise your feelings, with writing being one way.
9. journaling SHARPENS YOUR COGNITIVE SKILLS
Writing is reflective of one’s cognitive skills. It requires the focusing of attention, planning, forethought and organisation of one’s thinking. These skills are sharpened when you put pen to paper.
With your developing cognitive skills also comes an improved ability to communicate as you’re able to process your thoughts and express yourself more effectively. When you’re able to communicate better, your relationships with others naturally improve too.
10. journaling lets you Learn from your PAST experiences
If you’ve read your old entries from old times and cringed, hard, you’re not alone. We’ve all done things we regret and sometimes it’s good to have a reminder so that you don’t get bitten twice.
From my old entries, I’ve realised that I have improved vastly from the person I was years ago. Maybe some traits still stay but they serve as a gentle, subtle reminder that people can change and re-reading and processing your past experiences will help you become a better person.
Journaling always cheers me up. It’s that little serotonin boost from picking out your favourite stationery and reliving happy memories that makes it such an enjoyable activity. With so many benefits that come out of journaling, there’s no reason for you not to start.
Don’t worry about being unable to produce mind blowing spreads or filling your journal down to the last page. Take it easy and just write once a day if you can. Journaling is meant to relax you, not stress you out!
How has journaling impacted your life? Do share your experiences with me! In the meantime, happy journaling to all!