When we think of journaling, we tend to imagine it an activity for antsy teenagers, famous politicians or people who lived in the 19th century. But don’t let this prejudice stop you from taking up this powerful habit.
Logging your activities and thoughts is an amazing tool that has an incredibly positive impact on your life and writing a daily journal or diary is great for your health. Journaling is an ancient tradition that dates back to at least 10th century Japan and there is increasing evidence that supports that journaling has a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being.
Science shows that journaling provides a slew of unexpected benefits. The actual act of writing accesses your rational, analytical left brain and while your left brain is busy, your intuitive right brain is free to create, feel and tap into your intuition.
Here are our TOP 10 reasons why you should start journaling today.
#1 Improves Emotional Intelligence
Being emotionally intelligent means that you have the ability to control and manage your own emotions as well as empathize with the emotions of others. If you are journaling and write down on black and white what and how you feel, you significantly increase your self-awareness and familiarize yourself with what’s going on internally. Once you create that familiarity with your own emotions and feelings you create a bridge to empathy and you are better equipped to understand and intuitively know what others are experiencing. This heightened emotional intelligence will allow you to connect to others on a much deeper level and build better, stronger relationships.
#2 Boosts Memory
There is a unique relationship between your brain and your hand and you can strengthen and spark that link by writing out when you come up with new ideas and thoughts. The words you write on a piece of paper are the representations of the ideas, so when you actually put pen to paper, your mind composes these ideas during journaling and once written down, it strengthens your memory and you are better able to cognitively recall them.
#3 Strengthens Self-Discipline
Whenever you commit yourself to a new habit and you actually set time aside in the morning or in the evening, it requires self-discipline. Self-discipline is like a muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it becomes and the beauty of this is that when you form a disciplined habit in one area of your life, it spreads and spills over into other areas of your life as well. Your daily habit of journaling has a domino effect on other healthy habits you want to create. You might even want to use journaling as a trigger for another productive, positive habit.
#4 Improves Communication Skills
Writing and speaking are deeply interconnected. While journaling is a written communication with yourself, it helps you to translate your thoughts into actual vocalization and with that you practice what you want to say. Use your newly developed habit of journaling as a way to improve your written communication and you’ll be amazed to see the benefits in your verbal communication with others.
#5 Sparks Creativity
Journaling has the power to unlock our creativity. Keep in mind, it’s never a question whether or not we are creative, it’s always about if we can let the creativity flow. When you journal and write without thinking and simply let the thoughts come to the paper, this stream of consciousness brings out ideas and thoughts you never knew you had and in the process you loosen up your creative, expressive muscle. Get out a piece of paper right now and just let your creative juices flowing and you’ll be impressed with what you’ll see.
#6 Boosts Self-Confidence
When we journal about positive experiences, we allow our mind to relive the moment, which can help to give our confidence a boost especially when self-doubt comes up. Reliving the positive experience releases dopamine and endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that boost your mood and self-esteem. Just think about it, your journal with the reflection of positive experiences and personal achievements will become a source to come back to any time your mood and confidence start to slip.
#7 Clarifies Emotions, Feelings & Thoughts
Journaling is the reflection of your emotions, feelings and thoughts. You can compare your journal to a mirror in which you see the reflection of your body. The power of journaling gives you a glimpse into your mind like no other method can and you get to know the real you. You can clarify what makes you sad or happy, what you like or dislike and what brings you joy and peace or what you fear. Simply put, journaling heightens your self-awareness and as a consequence you find out more about what you really want in life or what you should eliminate from your life.
#8 Reduces Stress
When you bring your emotions, feelings and thoughts onto a piece of paper, you can help to release some of the intensity of those emotions and feelings and with that you have the ability to feel a lot calmer, lighter and less stressed. And keep in mind, when you journal, you don’t have to hold back, but can be completely honest since the journal is for your eyes only. When you feel stressed out about any given situation or you feel stuck in a mental loop that’s causing you stress, write it down and let the stress slowly melt away.
#9 Mimics Meditation
Meditation is a powerful tool that has the ability to improve your overall health, well-being and happiness. Meditation teaches you to focus on one thing – most often your breath – and tune out everything else in the world. Journaling has the same effect. You simply focus on bringing your thoughts, emotions and feelings on a piece of paper and scientists say this has a huge impact on your mental health, just like meditation. You can reduce stress, manage anxiety and it may even help you to cope with depression. For the best meditative results of journaling, create a calm and soothing environment for your journaling, maybe even combine it with some aromatherapy, a glass of red wine or a mug of tea and you give yourself a mini retreat.
#10 Lowers Blood Pressure
As we mentioned above, journaling has the power to reduce stress and anxiety and with that it can help to manage your blood pressure. Studies show that journaling strengthens your immune cells that can fluctuate due to stress and anxiety levels and when you journal on a regular basis, you can keep your stress levels better in check, strengthen and boost your immune system and keep your blood pressure low.
Writing has the power to remove mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. In addition, keeping a journal allows you to track trends and patterns as well as growth and improvement. To effectively start to journal, do it for about 20 minutes daily. Start anywhere, write without judgment or censor, write quickly to free your mind from ‘should’ and forget spelling and punctuation. The most important rule of journaling is that there really are no rules. As with everything, consistency and patience are crucial in forming this new, powerful habit.
THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT – START JOURNALING TODAY
Joschi & Monika