The Mental Benefits of Journaling

By Sean Barrett / June 10, 2021
Benefits-of-Journaling

Understanding the Benefits of journaling has progressed dramatically in recent years. There are several reasons why anyone can use the practice of journaling as a form of self-expression, decompression, and daily thankfulness. Journaling is one of the most accessible hobbies; there are no obstacles to entry and no gatekeepers or preconceptions in journaling. Everyone and anybody can benefit from it.

Journaling allows you to investigate the happenings of each day or week via writing and sketching. While many people believe that introspective writing is just for teens or that it takes up too much time, journaling has many rewards and benefits for your mental health.

Writing creatively or about your day may help you improve your writing style and memory — it’s the most accessible “brain exercise” because all you need is a piece of paper and a pen! Journaling may also help you de-stress by allowing you to see how hard you’re working and how much you can and are doing. You may include journaling into whatever self-care routine you already have, whether it’s yoga, meditation, walking, or simply writing after a relaxing bath or before drifting off in bed.

Keeping track of happy events while purifying your mind of negative thoughts will help you feel more optimistic about life. Here are a few proven benefits of journaling.

Journaling can Exercise the brain

What effect does journaling have on the brain? According to an experiment done at Michigan State University, expressive writing might assist our brain in ‘cooling down’ when worried. Worrying makes you feel like you’re continuously multitasking on a neurological level. You’re attempting to concentrate on one thing, but a piece of your mental energy is always spent repressing those fears, making it challenging to be present. So, journaling and, in turn, solving these worries triggers much activity within our frontal lobes, the problem-solving area of the brain, giving us a sense of relief as a result.

According to the findings of this study, the act of expressive writing can help cleanse your mind of anxieties and free up resources in your brain that can be used for other purposes.

Journaling can relieve stress.

As a stress reliever, you might write about your emotional reactions to events that have occurred throughout the day. Doing this can aid in the processing of your emotions and the exploration of more positive choices that you made. When you write about pleasant events, you have the opportunity to optimise and appreciate the nice things that have occurred during your day. This is also a fantastic method to increase your positivity ratio, which is a vital part of stress management, by focusing on the positive and managing the unpleasant aspects of your life.

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Journaling improves your memory.

Writing enhances our working memory, or our capacity to temporarily retain and utilise numerous pieces of information. Working memory encompasses far more than the capacity to remember a phone number for more than ten minutes. It’s all about improving our ability to acquire new information, recall current knowledge, link them, and work with them. Writing necessitates the ongoing use of our working memory, which is necessary for completing any activity. Journaling allows you to free up memory space while also improving your operational capabilities.

Different forms of journaling

 

Gratitude journaling 

Gratitude journaling is jotting down three to five moments or items for which you are grateful. Once you put your mind to it, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find things to be thankful for. This writing exercise is best done first thing in the morning since it will set your mentality for the rest of the day. Gratitude writing can make you feel more optimistic and grateful for what you have already accomplished.

 

Bullet journal

Bullet journaling, also known as Konmari, is a productivity approach that also serves as a mindfulness diary. It’s a bullet journal, a planner, a diary, and a goal-setting tool that you make for yourself to include everything you think requires structure in your day-to-day. You must create it from the ground up, starting with a blank page, and it must be maintained daily. It could have areas for a daily list of tasks, a monthly calendar, notes, long-term goals, and a reading list.

 

Prompted journaling

Prompted journaling occurs at the end of each day, and instead of writing about whatever comes to mind, you will assign yourself a prompt to help you write about a specific topic. This is ideal if you want to give your writing a bit more structure and direction. Prompted journaling can be done in a variety of methods, digital journal apps, physical guided journals, or even journaling challenges. You can pick the prompt that best suits you for the day, or you may choose particular prompts for special events like New Year’s Eve or your birthday.

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Developing the habit of journaling

Keeping habits can help us cope with change by having a constant in our lives to fall back on in tumultuous times. It’s a habit we can rely on when stressed, rushed, or simply not in the mood to do anything “productive”. And we don’t have to be too hard on ourselves if we don’t write every day. Journaling may also be used as a way to keep track of your progress. There are times in our life when we feel balanced and driven, and we know what is most important to us. Sometimes we’re stressed and wonder what’s the point of it all. But, despite the ups and downs, the importance of journaling shines through when we persist with it.

If you get out of the practice of journaling on a regular basis, it’s a habit you can pick up again at any moment. You don’t have to journal every day for it to be effective—a few times a week is sufficient, and writing on an as-needed basis is also beneficial.

Many of us are afraid of starting with a blank page. Understandably, you don’t want to make a mistake on those clean white pages but keep in mind that no one else will be viewing your work, so relax and enjoy yourself!

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As you can see, there are many different benefits of journaling. It’s not only about free-form expressive writing when it comes to journaling; it’s also about making lists, creating goals, recording thankfulness, and filling up a planner. Journaling has been proven to boost your mental and physical health, memory, relationships, and productivity. What’s more important, it’s completely free. All you’ll need is a notepad, a pen, and a little bit of inspiration.

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About the author

Sean Barrett

Sean is a 2nd-year politics student in UL (University of Limerick) who loves all things history related; Sean enjoys writing articles on Pop culture, history, art and music. You can find him on Twitter @SeanieBarrettJr

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