Benefits of Keeping a Journal
Written by: Lindsay Shugerman
December 28, 2014
Filed Under Self Help
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
Every time I walk into my local bookstore or stationery store, I am immediately drawn to the journals. All those beautiful covers, all those clean-blank pages just begging me to fill them with words or sketches or art.
But those pretty journals are more than just an attractive indulgence. Did you know that keeping a journal can actually be good for you? It’s true! Research is showing all kinds of quality of life and even health benefits of journal writing.
The complete list is a long one. But here are ten of the benefits of keeping a journal to get you excited about picking up a pen and digging in.
10. Promotes gratitude
Journaling can help you appreciate the things you already have in your life. Studies have found that keeping a journal with lists of things you are grateful for can actually reduce depression and improve overall mental health. Not a bad return for counting your blessings on paper.
9. Improves the power of dreams
For centuries, people have known the power of dreams. They can provide messages from our unconscious mind, offer solutions to problems or present us with new ideas. But it can be difficult to remember the details of our dreams. And some people can’t remember their dreams at all.
But keeping a dream journal, where you record everything you can remember can actually improve dream retention. And improved dream memory means you’ll have access to all those messages your brain is sending you while you sleep. The result could be a more productive or happier life.
8. Brings projects to life
A journal is a wonderful place to take that seed of an idea and expand it into everything you imagined. Writing, doodling, sketching or even pasting in pictures or words can help you expand your vision, work out details and define the next steps. Forget the formal business plan for now. For the entrepreneur, the journal just might be your very best friend.
7. Lowers stress
Just writing down the things that are worrying you or the annoyances in life can actually lower your feelings of stress. And that’s not all. Researchers have found that writing about troubling or negative experiences can lower blood pressure, when compared to people who just “deal with it” or keep it inside. That could mean better health, just because of a good pen and a blank book!
6. Deepens your spiritual experiences
Your journal can provide the perfect medium to deepen your religious or spiritual life by giving you a place to record meaningful scriptures, personal prayers, thoughts on services or sermons, or inspiring events.
5. Cranks up creativity
Who says journals have to be just words on a page? An art journal can record your life, your moods, your feelings and your experiences, but it has another plus traditional journaling doesn’t offer. The visual nature of art journaling allows your creative, right brain to get involved in telling the story of you, while the analytic left brain crafts the words to go with the images. The result? Art journaling boosts creativity in all areas of your life, from problem solving to parenting.
4. Preserves the details
It might not seem possible right now, but trust me when I tell you that ten years from now you will have forgotten almost every detail of your daily life. Don’t believe me? Find an old letter or diary entry from a decade ago and read it. How many times did you come across some detail you had forgotten?
Journaling can save those details of life for the future, whether it’s for you to reread or your grandkids to pour over someday. That means all those little moments with your kids or your sweetheart won’t ever be forgotten. They’ll be safely preserved on the pages of your journal. Now that’s a priceless benefit!
3. Chases away loneliness
When “Life is too much with us,” we usually want to talk about it. But in today’s busy world, it can be hard to find someone to sit down with for a good heart-to-heart.
Did you know a journal can work almost as well? Pouring out your feelings or worries or joys on the page of a journal has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness in test subjects.
2. Builds better writers
No matter what you want to do better, there is only one way to achieve that goal: practice. And the same goes for writing. Even if you don’t fret over spelling or grammar while you write, the simple act of writing more will help you write better. And that’s a skill that can help you at work, at school or in your daily life.
1. Defines your values
What’s really important to you? What values matter most? Don’t worry if you can’t answer yet, because journaling will help you define those things. Sorting through feelings and experiences on paper helps people figure out what really matters deep down, and what is just passing.
There is no one right kind of journal to keep. Find the right kind of journaling for your life, grab a pen and start reaping the benefits of keeping a journal.