I often hear people rave about how great journaling is, but if you've never quite grasped the benefits of it, don't worry — you're not alone.
Whenever someone mentioned journaling to me in the past, the only thing I could think about is the cramp in my wrist from writing everything I did that day, and the inevitable dyslexic brain fog whilst trying to think of the word I need or how to spell it.
It doesn’t matter what your situation is, your journal doesn’t need to be perfect because no one else is going to see it – unless you want them to.
A journal doesn’t have to be in written form either, it can be done as a mind map or in picture form, you could even record yourself or write into the notes on your phone — whatever works best for you.
If you don’t fancy writing for longer periods, try bullet journaling instead.
Once I began reading up on the benefits of journalling, I started to think differently about it, and after reading this post, maybe you will too! So, here are some of the ways journalling has changed my life.
Journalling has improved my memory.
I’ve struggled with my short-term memory for quite some time. Being a perimenopausal dyslexic woman can take a toll on the ol’ noggin.
Journalling my thoughts and writing down what I’ve accomplished on the day allows me to look at what I’ve done on paper. It reduces the anxiety of not feeling like I’ve done enough.
This brings me to my next reason…
Journalling helped reduce my anxiety.
You’ve heard the saying: “A problem shared, is a problem halved.” Well, for me the same applies when writing my thoughts in my journal.
Writing them down on paper allows me to reflect on how I’ve felt throughout the day or week and find meaning behind those feelings. I don’t dwell on them as much as if they were circling around my head for days.
There’s also evidence to back up this theory. A 2018 study from the National Library of Medicine found that adults who completed 15-minute online journaling sessions three days a week for 12 weeks were less likely to ruminate on their anxious thoughts and better able to move past them.
Journalling has made me happier.
Ever heard of the Bridget Jones effect? And nope, I’m not talking about the fear of being single after watching one-too-many romantic comedies. I’m talking about writing down your emotions on paper to help you overcome them and leave you feeling happier.
Dr. Jeffery Lieberman, a psychologist from Columbia University who discovered the effect said "Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally. Whether it's writing things down in a diary, writing bad poetry, or making up song lyrics that should never be played on the radio, it seems to help people emotionally.”
So next time you feel like your emotions seem to get the better of you, why not try jotting them down? Or perhaps you think you could give REM a run for their money and create a hit sadder than “everybody hurts”.
Journalling helped my career.
Writing down my progress and goals within my coaching career has been life-changing, to say the least. I can see how far I’ve come from my past journal entries. It motivates me and reminds me of what I can achieve when I put my mind to something.
If I’m not on track to reach the goals I’ve set for myself, I can reflect on it and see where I need support.
Journalling tips to get you started.
Journalling is a habit that can take some practice. The important thing to remember is not to pressure yourself and to be patient. Try to be as honest and expressive as you can when writing down your thoughts.
My advice is to be cautious about where you are when writing in your journal, particularly when writing raw thoughts and feelings. Try to set aside time to write in your journal but then also to decompress after doing it.
I hope this post gave you some insight into how journalling can be beneficial for your mental health and well-being.
So why not give it a go? You never know, it could change your life too!