While many people associate journaling with writing in a diary like many of us did as kids, writing in a journal is actually so much more than that. Despite the stereotype of “dear diary” and teenagers pouring out their hearts in a notebook, journaling is a great practice for anyone to get into, even if you don’t think you need to.
From relieving stress to achieving goals, there are lots of reasons to pick up a pen and start writing. Whether you journal about your daily activities, your hopes for the future, or your worries and feelings, writing down your thoughts has a lot of benefits for your mental health and daily life:
- Better understand your thoughts and worries. It can be hard to decide when you’re uncertain of how you’re feeling. This is especially hard in stressful situations. Writing these feelings down on paper is a good way to spend some time with your thoughts and figure out how you’re really feeling. It’s also a way to work through misunderstandings, which can be hard to do in the heat of the moment.
- Keep a record of your experiences and growth. Not everyone who keeps a journal wants to write paragraph upon paragraph about what they do each day – there’s certainly no right or wrong way to keep a journal. But writing even a little bit about what you did during the day or how you felt means that in the future you can look back and see how you have changed as a person.
- Improve your writing and communication skills. We all know how important it is to have good communication skills, whether it’s in the workplace, in the classroom, or just at home with friends and family. Writing in a journal is a great way to improve your written communication skills through regular practice, even if you don’t write in your journal every day.
- Define and pursue goals. Ever noticed that sharing your goals with another person makes you more motivated to achieve them? Not only does this make you more accountable, it also helps you better define what your goals really are. It’s easy to make vague, unclear goals that sound great but are difficult to achieve because they aren’t specific enough. Just like talking about your goals with others, writing about your goals in a journal is a great way to get specific about what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it.
- Relieve stress. Just the simple act of putting your problems and worries on paper can go a long way to relieving stress in your life. When we keep all our fears and anxieties and stressors bottled up inside it can be all too easy to let them out in an unhealthy way. Writing these down in the privacy of your journal is a good way to let out your frustrations and worries in a healthy way that allows you to think about them and move past them.