Journaling each day keeps the doctor away.
Okay, okay. We may have made that one up. But there’s a reason why keeping a journal has long been described as therapeutic. Think about it – it’s your therapist and your BFF all rolled into one. It’s a quiet place where you can express your wildest dreams or your innermost fears—without advice or judgement.
Simply put, journaling is your key to self-insight. That swirling stream of thoughts in your head? You can translate it into something that makes sense by simply writing it down. And the better you understand your own thoughts and feelings, the better you are able to do things like track personal patterns, gain some clarity, problem solve, and experience gratitude—the secret to feeling happier. And it doesn’t have any side effects! (Well, maybe a slight hand cramp? Because seriously, who writes pen on paper anymore?)
Luckily, you don’t have to be a professional writer to take advantage of the many benefits of journaling. All you need to do is spend 10-20 minutes of your day putting your thoughts down on paper. Your words don’t have to be perfect—they just have to be a reflection of you and your day!
Here are some examples how keeping a journal can benefit your life…
Your accomplishments? Just as important as your goals.
Thinking about your long-term goals are important—no question. But just as important is making a habit of celebrating your daily achievements. While we tend to obsess over the places where we’ve stumbled, consciously switching our focus to our successes and small wins is a great way to boost confidence and self-esteem. So try writing down your ‘win of the day,’ and soon any negative thoughts will be replaced by the power of positivity.
Bye-bye, swirling thoughts. See ya later, insomnia!
In a world where multitasking is valued over mindfulness, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve experienced a little thing called brain fog. If you find you can’t make sense of the thoughts spinning around in your head, try devoting part of your lunch to writing those thoughts down. Getting your ideas organized on paper is a great way to return from your break, feeling refreshed and ready to go. Keeping a journal gets your creative juices flowing, so your scribbles might help you solve a problem you’re experiencing at work, or you might come up with a promotion-worthy idea.
Same goes for if you have a mind that won’t shut off at bedtime—jot down those thoughts to get some rest! Not convinced journaling will help cure your insomnia? Think about it: once the fog has lifted, you’ll be able to clearly articulate any problems that are keeping you up at night. Write down questions, list the pros and cons, and consider different perspectives. And before you know it, problem solved!
From attitude to gratitude… to happiness!
Practicing gratitude is officially good for your mental health—91 gratitude studies can’t be wrong! So now that you’ve started writing, why not include what you’re thankful for in your daily log? It’s an easy way to notice the wonderful things in your life that you may be taking for granted. Regularly practicing gratitude can benefit your mental health in many ways! And get this: a week-long commitment to writing down 3 positive events each day can raise happiness levels for up to six months. That’s right, regularly reflecting on what you are grateful for can significantly increase your mental wellness, so stop waiting until Thanksgiving to give thanks!
So whether you’ve never been one to keep a journal, or haven’t touched one since you were an angsty teen, now’s the time to start writing. Writing daily has been shown to help problem-solve, diminish insomnia, and contribute to heightened feelings of positivity and gratitude.