4 great benefits of journaling

4 great benefits of journaling

Did you know that some of the most influential and successful people throughout history have kept detailed journals of their lives?

Journals can serve a range of purpose and they have numerous benefits. They serve as a cathartic release and they also act as a permanent record that you can keep for posterity’s sake. Additionally, journaling has serious benefits for your mental well-being and your health.

What exactly is journaling?
Diaries and journals are completely different. Unlike diaries which only record daily occurrences and happenings in your life, journals are more detailed. Journals contain your reactions and perceptions of specific events. The purpose of creating a journal is so that you can gain clarity on your life, which will allow you to make positive and necessary changes where necessary. At its core, journaling should allow you to state your thoughts and emotions down without fear of being criticized or judged.

If your journal entries contain your gratitude list too, all the better as it ensures your focus and mindset are on the positive which supports your aim of living a more optimistic and fulfilling life.

How to start a journal
It’s one thing to want to start journaling, but actually doing it successfully, is another. The hardest bit about starting a journal is figuring out what to write. If you are busy, it can be difficult to set time aside to journal effectively. Journaling is not complicated at all; all you need to do is find a time when you are least distracted to reflect and jot things down about your life. Some of the things that you can include are:

• The three things you are most grateful for in life today.
• The events and occurrences of the day.
• You can vent about something or someone that you cannot get off your mind.
• Or you can note down something that inspired or impacted you.
• You could commit your goals and habits you want to change to paper too.

Some journaling days are better than others. So don’t be worried when you have just a few words on one day and pages upon pages on another. Just make sure that you are taking the time to really stop and reflect on the state of your life and what you need to focus on going forward.

4 benefits of journaling

1. You gain real clarity
Journaling is a reflection of your thoughts so it offers you an opportunity to take a glimpse into how your mind works. This allows you to get to know the real you; things that make you happy, sad, or peaceful. Take notice to what you write down and consider what this says about how and where your attention is being focused.

2. It builds empathy
Journaling enables you to look at things objectively, rather than subjectively. Stand back from what you have written and your entry may help you consider and understand other people’s perspectives, which may encourage you to change your response next time or reconsider your attitude.

3. Real health improvements
It’s been scientifically proven that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions. It improves cognitive functioning, strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses and counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.

4. You feel calmer afterward
Journaling allows you to vent because you get to say the things that you really want to say if you were given the opportunity to. It’s a private place and should be one of safety. Have you ever written an angry email to someone but (hopefully) never sent it? The calming feeling that you get afterward is what you often experience when you journal. This can be particularly helpful for those suffering from confusion, frustration or anxiety.

But remember, try and have a balance so that your journal also contains ideas and notes of your dreams, gratitude and positivity. Your journal can become a place of comfort but also one that provides inspiration and a creative space for exploring your future, happier life. So, treat yourself to a beautiful journal and start writing towards the rest of your life!

Sally is the Founder of LifeBuddy. She is an Organisational Development consultant and is a Practitioner with the Association for Business Psychology.