Why journal? What’s the point of all that hassle?
It’s a question many people have when they see diaries, notebooks, and different types of journaling. The truth is there are benefits of journaling that can’t be scoffed at. That’s not to mention many people find the whole process very fun!
If you’re curious to learn about these journaling benefits yourself, read on. We’ll go over how the process can help with relaxation, memory, and more.
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Benefit 1: Centering Oneself
Life is hectic, confusing, and sometimes downright sad. It can be hard to process all of it without taking some time to center oneself, gather your thoughts, and allow for healing and growth.
There are many ways people journal to help them through this process. Some people journal about relationships or traumas. Others write about unhealthy habits they have, all in an effort to work through them.
The trap some people fall into is thinking journaling has to be about what happened on a given day. In reality, it can be about whatever you want. If you need to process something, be it new or old, then write about it.
What’s important is you write on a somewhat consistent basis. Try to make writing part of your routine and choose a style and topic that appeals to you or sounds like it may do you good.
Benefit 2: Relaxation
This may sound like the benefit above but they’re two very distinct benefits of journal writing. In fact, writing to process the day and center yourself may, for some people, be incompatible with writing to achieve zen.
The good news is that’s okay! There are lots of ways to journal and everyone approaches writing in a different way. You can even swap the goal of your writing from time to time depending on your mood and what you want.
Journaling to relax is often about getting into the flow of your writing and seeing where it takes you. For a short while, you can tune out the world and focus on your words.
Why journal without a more overt goal in mind? Because there doesn’t need to be a distinct goal in everything we do. Sometimes it is okay to relax through writing and worry about achieving something later.
Benefit 3: Practice
One of the more obvious benefits of writing in a journal is that you are writing. In doing so, the odds are good you’re going to improve over time. They’re even better if you’re reading up on writing advice as you write.
We talk a great deal about self-improvement on our blog; it’s never a bad idea to do something that’s both fun and teaches a good skill all in one. No matter where you are in life, getting good at writing comes in handy.
Many adults who get out of school assume they won’t need writing anymore but that’s only sort of true. While you may not worry about essays and grades, you still can benefit from being able to write a strong email.
At a basic level, writing is about communicating ideas via words. As you write, you can learn how to present your ideas in ways that are more clear, more concise, and more convincing.
Benefit 4: Keeping a Record
Do you know there have been journals discovered dating centuries back? In many ways, journals and diaries are often a genuine look at a person as they were in a given moment of time.
Why keep a journal for the benefit of people you’ll never meet? While it isn’t something everyone cares about, a journal can make for a fascinating legacy that can survive far beyond you. Even when you’re gone, you can be remembered.
Whether you care about how you’re remembered or now, a journal can also work as a record of your thoughts for your reference too. It can be quite interesting to see how one has grown as a person and a writer.
This isn’t only true of traditional “What happened today?” type journaling. Depending on your style, you may be able to reference how your dreams have evolved, your goals, your own mental health, or plenty more.
Benefit 5: Lock in Memories
It won’t surprise most people to learn we tend to remember things better when we write them down. It has to do with the interesting way our brains work and the active nature of recording something.
Keep in mind, this is distinct from the ability to reference what you’ve written. We talked about that above and it is another benefit but this isn’t what we mean here.
Instead, writing something down and never referencing that page again still makes it easier to remember. Many students experience this with notetaking. They write notes and, despite not reading them again, remember what they wrote.
This is why many people keep dream journals. We tend to forget our dreams very soon after having them but, through writing, we can lock in those strange, surreal memories.
Benefit 6: Explore Yourself
It’s strange to say but almost everyone has a side to themselves that they don’t understand. It’s rare where we can say with real clarity what makes us sad or happy and why.
We understand ourselves in the broad strokes but the specifics often allude us. This is unfortunate because often achieving an understanding of ourselves is the key to positive change.
By recording your thoughts on a day, event, or hardship, you can often catch a glimpse of your hidden self in the words you choose and the elements you decided to focus on.
It’s also worth highlighting that happy moments have lessons to teach too. By understanding what brings you joy, you can better cultivate a happier life.
No matter who you are, there is always more to learn about yourself. Journaling may not be the only way to explore our minds but it is one of the most accessible.
Benefit 7: Give Better Interviews
Journaling is in many ways a practice in talking about one’s thoughts, fears, and feelings in a way free from judgment.
While at first your prose may be awkward, as any new writer’s is likely to be, almost anyone will see improvement over time. You will get better at discussing your thoughts and experiences in a coherent way.
In the past, we’ve discussed how becoming a better storyteller can help in interviews. This is much the same concept. Journaling allows you to practice skills key to being good in interviews in a way without judgment or risk.
You can do even better if you practice reading your writing aloud when you’re done. This will not only help you learn to convey your ideas verbally (a different but related skill) but also is a good way to check the quality of your writing.
Benefit 8: Vent in a Safe Space
There is a common suggestion that when one is angry at someone, they should write a letter. In that letter can be whatever you want to say to them. When you’re done, you instead either destroy the letter or hide it.
This process is meant to allow you to vent your emotions in a way that is safe. A journal can very much serve the same purpose. After all, many people journal for themselves rather than anyone else.
You get to put down the thoughts that feel like they are bursting out of you, no matter how incoherent or unfair they are on a logical level. Then, when you’re done, you can feel calmer but having done no harm.
In fact, this can be a useful tool for those who are trying to overcome issues with anger. It allows them to look back at how they react to situations in the immediate and see where their thought process gets muddled.
Whether your negative feelings are rational or not, it is healthy to learn how to vent them in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone. Journaling can be great in that role.
Explore the Many Benefits of Journaling Yourself
There are plenty more benefits of journaling than what was discussed here. It is a very versatile writing medium that can be used to explore oneself, their day, the world around them, and more.
We encourage any and all readers to practice journaling. It has a very low barrier to entry and can pay big dividends.
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