When I first started journaling, I wasn’t aware of all the reasons to journal more until I had gotten in a regular practice of writing each day. Each day would vary and some days I would write much more than others. It could be because I didn’t feel up to writing or that nothing exciting had really happened that day. But if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there are many reasons to journal more, starting today!
Studies show that writing down your problems prove more effective in getting through them than talking them out does. Participants were asked to journal during unemployment, and whether they wrote positive or negative entries, they were better off in the long-run than those who did not journal in the same situation. I think it’s incredible to see how the power of journaling can have such an effect on your mood. It’s just one reason to journal more, in my opinion, even if it’s for a few minutes each day.
It’ll make you more grateful! One problem that our society faces is a lack of time to express gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful and willingness to show that appreciation. Taking time to journal and jotting down one thing you are grateful for that day will help open your eyes to the finer things in life so that you find value in even the simple things. But not only do you find that value, you credit it and are more able to see it in future situations.
3. Before and after
A journal is a good measure of your changes over time. If you write regularly, then you will be able to see how your views on yourself and the world progressively change, how your response to a situation evolves. This reason can be very effective for instilling hope in traumatic situations. If your life isn’t plagued with misfortunes or opportunities for growth, then it will open your eyes to the baseline of your life and call you to have a deeper relationship to yourself and those around you.
4. You Can Look Back
Memories fade over time, no matter how much we wish they would stay. I can remember traveling to Europe and while my friends fervently journaled the ins-and-outs of each day, I merely took in the experience and kept a blog online. It’s a different form of journaling, but looking back months later, I like the availability to remember my trip to its fullest. If you develop this habit through your life, you can look back and reflect on where you’ve been and how that’s taken you to who you are today.
5. Specialized Journal
You can decide to write a specialized journal. It could be that you look for an inspirational quote or food for thought that a friend said and scribble them down each day. Or you may consider having a notepad on hand to journal about things you see around you. That exercise helps bring you into the moment and practice mindfulness. The possibilities are endless, from a gratitude journal to a rant book to just keeping track of your day-to-day life. Whatever it may be, getting in the routine of writing will give you something to look forward to in the chaos of busy days.
6. Check in
Journals are a good way to check in with yourself and how you are feeling. I know I sometimes get so wrapped up into the busyness of my days that I don’t actively notice if I’m stressed, upset, or worried until it's overwhelming and I’m burnt out. But keeping a journal each day allows you to check in with how you are feeling in that moment and observe your mood as the week progresses. One trick that I like to do is start my journal entry with bullet points from what I’m grateful for that day to what is contributing to my mental breakdown for the week. You might consider giving it a try!
7. You Actually Use Those Diaries You Have
I can’t tell you how many people gave me journals as birthday presents growing up. Before I got in a regular journaling practice, I just would stack them up or maybe scribble in the first few pages without much improvement over the next few years. But when I started to write regularly, I was amazed with how quickly my journals would fill up. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to finish a journal so that every page has something written on it, whether it's words, bullet points, or doodles.
If you’re new to journaling, try writing for 5-10 minutes a day and see where that takes you. If you haven’t written in years, though you used to love writing, start up where you left off. No matter where you are, the values of journaling are just too good to ignore. What do you think is the main reason you don’t write?