Benefits of journaling. When I was a kid, at the end of the school year, our teacher would give us a journal. We were supposed to write our summer adventures, thoughts, and feelings.
Of course, most of the kids hated this “summer homework” but I loved it. (Not that I could tell any of my friends that ’cause hello, middle school drama! *shudder*).
Now that I’m an adult, I SWEAR by the benefits of journaling! In fact, maybe even more so than when I was a kid.
And here’s the thing about journaling: It’s not just for the “granola crowd”, or the “intuitive” people. Journaling is wonderful for everyone (even “macho” guys like my contractor husband!).
And serious journalers know that it’s not just a “touchy-feely” Hallmark movie activity… there are TONS of benefits that can help you emotionally, physically, and spiritually!
Here are some secret journaling benefits that will make you want to get out your sparkly pen ASAP:
Benefits of Journaling
1. Increased Clarity
This is probably my favorite thing about journaling, but something that many non-journalers don’t understand.
There’s something about physically writing things down that helps declutter your brain.
Once everything is on paper (or a laptop because hey, it’s 2017) it becomes MUCH easier to sort through your thoughts and feel less negative about everything.
Have you every opened up a messy closet and thought to yourself, O.M.G., where do I begin?!
So you decide to take the bull by the horns and pull everything out of the closet to sort through and declutter it?
At first, the process seems overwhelming, but as you begin to lay your items out, something magical happens… You begin to have clarity. You realize:
- What you have (why did I buy so many Beanie babies?)
- What you want to get rid of (Suzanne Somers Thighmaster… need I say more?)
- What you want to keep (Dirty Dancing movie soundtrack from 1987… keep FOREVER!)
Journaling is like cleaning the closet of your mind and spirit. It can help you find clarity on ANY issue – relationship, job related, past trauma, decision making – anything. Que deep sigh of relief!
2. Personal Understanding
This could or could not be fun… but either way it’s very helpful. Here’s an example:
I have been journaling for a LONG time now so I’m able to look back at certain time periods of my life. This actually helped me recognize some patterns I go through when things aren’t going my way — and anticipate them.
By seeing where I’ve been mentally, I can better anticipate how I’ll respond to things.
Plus — it’s great for life lessons:
3/6/2017: “OMGGG I didn’t get my dream position. The world is going to end. I hate everyone and I feel like I’ve worked hard for nothing :(”
3/8/2017: “OMGGG I got a job offer from another company and they’re amazing! I’ve worked so hard – tears of joy! This is the best day ever! I’m going to celebrate with a Pinot Grigio!”
By being able to look back, I realized I tend to overreact to bad news without trying to find the blessing in disguise. Because, pro tip, it’s almost always there (like an even better job offer waiting in the wings!).
3. Mental Dexterity
I know, I know, cool word alert. But I didn’t write it just for points. (Did anyone else’s school teacher assign points for big words?)
The thing is, one of the benefits of journaling is that it can increase sharpness of mind, creative thinking, and expression. I attest that I feel way super focused when I’m journaling!
Think about this:
Chances are you communicate in writing a lot: emails, texts, Facebook posts etc. but journaling is a whole new level. It causes you to be introspective and reflect on what’s going on.
It engages a different part of the brain. Plus, unlike Facebook, no one is judging your journal entries (thank goodness!), which means you get to uncover the REAL you.
4. Solitary Outlet
Think of another outlet you have that no one else has access to… you can’t? I couldn’t either.
Even working out (a popular outlet) has turned social. People want to go to the gym together, run together, or play a sport together.
Of course there is nothing wrong with a little togetherness (or a lot if you’re an extrovert). But, don’t underestimate the power of your alone time. One of the benefits of journaling is that it provides a completely private outlet for your emotions – one that you only share with yourself.
5. Increases Your Intuition
One of the most fun benefits of journaling is that it increases your intuition. We are all born with intuition, but a lot of us question it and don’t really know how to tap into it (and trust it).
Well, journaling solves that problem. When you journal, you unconsciously get in touch with yourself on another level – i.e. your Higher Self /soul/spiritual side.
Your Higher Self (because it is a part of you) will never steer you wrong and will always guide you in the right direction.
After a few months of journaling, you’ll begin to notice that:
- You become more aware.
- That “little voice” begins to guide you – and you begin to listen to it.
- Life becomes more fun because your intuition is kicked up a notch.
- You feel more in tune with the people and places around you.
- Your authentic self begins to shine through as you uncover who you REALLY are on a higher level.
Here’s a post from that explains all about where intuition comes from.
6. Record Keeping
So, I’m notorious for forgetting important dates. I thought it was just something I’d have to come to peace with. BUT, hey, journaling is here to save the day again.
Actually, this is something that my mother-in-law (who was an avid journaler) taught me. She journaled everything! And now that she’s no longer with us, we cherish her journals… which is just another benefit, but I digress…
I’ve started to look back at old entries and see when important things happened. “Hey Jane, do you know a year ago today is the first time we had coffee? Now you’re one of my best friends!” Jane feels special and you feel like a flippin’ memory Queen (or King).
7. Reviewing Your Life
Of all of the benefits of journaling, I discovered this by accident… and let me tell you – it’s AMAZING!
One day, I was looking through a bunch of my old papers and journals. I’m talking about YEARS worth of stuff. As I flipped through my journals, I was reading about the hopes and dreams that I had years ago – like when I started this blog and what I wanted it to become.
I realized that, in the last few years, the dreams that I had have come true. Instead of feeling like an under-achiever and comparing myself with other people – A sense of peace came over me and I felt SO proud of myself!
Without even realizing it, I had manifested the life I had been dreaming about :) Now, I make it a ritual to flip through my old journals once or twice a year to see where I was and how far I’ve come.
I can’t put into words how powerful this benefit of journaling is!
Ok, so you’re sold on journaling now, right? If not, reread the benefits or journaling and then give it a try – because I promise it’s worth a shot.
And since I’m not in the business of leaving you hanging, here’s a post about how to start journaling (and not feel stuck!) :)