Journaling is an ancient tradition that dates back to at least 10th century Japan, and it’s no mystery why it’s still a beloved practice. The benefits of journaling reach far beyond the page. Pen plus paper equals a powerful life tool for cultivating awareness, tracking transformation, and building a good relationship with oneself, others, and life itself.
“What a comfort is this journal. I tell myself to myself & throw the burden on my book & feel relieved.” – Anne Lister
The written word is my most friendly vehicle for expression–since childhood, writing has been a comfort for me, a kind of self-soothing process and eye-opening channel. I’ve always found a certain joy in looking at a blank piece of paper and bringing forth the words that seem like a good match.
The benefits of journaling, for me and for many others, are nothing short of amazing.
Journaling is a healthy, safe way to explore the darkness and discover the light within. It can be a way of expressing oneself, discovering oneself, and healing oneself. It can be a soothing balm for a weary soul. It is a reflection pool.
As an ode to the romance between pen and paper, here are a dozen gorgeous benefits of journaling worthy of our attention.
12 Absolutely Beautiful Benefits of Journaling That I Cherish
1. Increases clarity.
Writing promotes self-discovery and builds self-knowledge.
Writing in a journal helps:
- Identify your thoughts, feelings, and values
- Gain insight into behaviors and moods
- Identify patterns and cycles
Essentially, you read your own mind. It’s beautiful how different aspects of yourself are revealed as you turn the pages.
2. Cultivates mindfulness.
Journaling calls a wandering mind to the present moment, the only place where you can tap into the power of the universe and change the direction of your thoughts. This moment is also the only place where happiness can be wrought, for you’re never truly anywhere else but here, and now..
Research shows a strong connection between happiness and mindfulness.
3. Supports goals.
Journaling about your dreams and ambitions signals to your brain that they are important. When your brain deems something important, it seeks out supportive resources and relevant opportunities to achieve that goal.
4. Tracks growth.
As you look back on past journal entries, you’re able to compare where you were then to where you are now. You have the chance to record your own life story, and to reflect on past celebrations, intentions, blessings, and obstacles overcome.
Seeing progress is a magnificent source of self-confidence, which brings me to my next point…
5. Boosts confidence.
Your journal becomes a story upon which you can reflect; it is a catalog of personal achievements, positive experiences, triumphs over negative experiences, and a testament to how far you’ve come.
Make it a point to write down your goals, challenges, and victories–even the smallest ones can leave a footprint on your heart.
6. Strengthens self-discipline.
Setting aside time to write in your journal is a habit, and it take consistent, disciplined action to form a habit. Even better, forming a habit in one area of your life tends to have a ripple effect on your life as a whole.
Daily journaling may be the spark of motivation that lights fires in other areas of your life, fueling more healthy habits and a happier life experience.
7. Sparks creativity.
We are all creative. The problem isn’t whether or not we possess creativity, but whether or not we’re allowing it to flow.
Writing helps release blocks that would keep us from expressing our natural creative selves. Writing without thinking–also known as “stream of consciousness” writing–lets your thoughts and ideas (that you never even knew existed) spill out onto the pages. Simply put, don’t think; just write.
Getting into the flow of creative expression both stems from and grows into a deep presence and a deeper, truly abundant life.
8. Identifies negative thoughts.
Negative self-talk is a common thread in stress, anxiety, panic and depressive disorders. It is crucial that we’re able to safely navigate the swirling sea of thoughts inside our head.
Writing helps locate the negative thoughts that are floating around inside, identifying patterns that may not be serving our deepest desires and joy. By facing them, and translating them into words, we can purposefully work through them and with (not against) them, and then move beyond them.
9. Shifts perspective.
A useful tool in the healing process, journal writing helps you discover hidden lessons in challenging situations through reflection, contemplation, and release. You always have the power to change your mind, and writing empowers you to make that miraculous shift in perspective.
10. Boosts memory and comprehension.
The composition of thoughts and ideas causes the mind to compose or re-compose these ideas while journaling. In other words, when your hand engages in writing, your brain engages in cognitive recall. Your learning ability is strengthened and your memory improved.
By writing about a subject, you understand it more fully and deeply.
11. Improves relationships.
Stewing in anger, bitterness, guilt, and regret is damaging to our health and continues to permeate all of our relationships.
Journaling is a safe outlet for processing emotions and enhancing self-awareness, which helps us to better understand ourselves and how we handle our relationships. Writing our emotions down on paper can shine light on the bigger picture, leading to resolutions, deeper connections, and new beginnings.
12. Promotes healing.
Expressive writing has been linked to improved immune function, lower anxiety and stress levels, and better sleep. By translating our experiences, we can untangle ourselves from the web of confusion that so often keeps us emotionally and psychologically bound to the trauma, drama, disappointment, regret, or any long-held belief.
You may enjoy these 21 quotes about writing and life.
- What is your favorite way to write?
- Has writing in your journal helped you in any of the ways listed here, or in any other ways that you’d care to share?
Please share your thoughts, helpful insights, what you’ve learned about yourself through writing, and any inspiring stories of positive change via journaling with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who appreciates the beauty of the written word.
Your journal is an all-accepting, non-judgmental friend, and sometimes a really good therapy session.
Free digital paper from Free Pretty Things For You; lettering by Aim Happy.