I recently began to journal a little more, and when I tell you it has made quite a difference, I truly mean it. This got me thinking: what does science have to say about journaling? What are the actual studied outcomes of journaling?
I decided to take a deeper dive into the benefits of journaling. In the many articles and studies I read, I found that there were 5 results that came up quite often.
Physically writing down goals makes them seem that much more real. It allows you to feel more motivated, and as an article by Kaiser Permanente says, “You can keep better track of your intentions.” Writing down and planning out your goals can keep you accountable and gives you the ability to see your progress in written form.
If you’re someone who thrives off of making goals, a tip from the University of St. Augustine for Health Science says that you should implement SMART, or specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This will give you a better outline of how to monitor the steps you’ll need to take in order to reach your goals.
Piggybacking off of achieving goals, you can gain self-confidence by seeing that progress play out. Having the visual of the achievements you’ve had gives you a sense of motivation and purpose. If you use your journal as a planner or schedule, it can help you stay organized and prepared which can reduce anxiety.
“Properly managing your time so that you can consistently check off those boxes on your to-do list can help reinforce for yourself that you are an intelligent, capable student,” explains the University of St. Augustine.
If you use your journal as a way to practice positive self-talk, you can better learn to combat negative thoughts which can help in making your relationship with yourself that much better.
Aid in Mental Health and Emotional Intelligence
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “Taking pen to paper can help you relax, manage anxiety, [and] cope with depression.” You can learn about yourself in a whole new way, and through writing develop a deeper sense of what might be causing these thoughts and feelings.
Having the ability to write your thoughts in complete honesty can give you more emotional intelligence. If you can learn to address what is affecting you, you can become stronger mentally and begin to handle your problems head-on.
Journaling allows you to channel your creativity and express who you are. Stream-of-consciousness writing can give you the opportunity to “use thought-provoking prompts to help ignite creativity” which can help you not only get all of your thoughts out but also generate new ideas.
Having a physical holding place for all of your ideas can help you to look more into the topics that you find interesting and boost your overall drive for creativity.
As you might already know, writing things down has been known to aid in memorization. Yes, you can use this as a way to study for exams, but you can also use this to jot down parts of your day whether they are important or simply bring you joy.
The Journal of Experimental Psychology published research on how writing your thoughts not only reduces intrusive negative ones but improves your “working memory.” When you write things down, your brain instantly begins to commit them to memory.
Journaling has so many benefits and is something you should definitely try at some point in your life whether you need a way to release your thoughts or just to have a creative outlet. The amount of research that backs journalism should be a dead giveaway that it can be a very healing and motivating practice.
If you’re ever having difficulty understanding yourself or you want to vent about your day but don’t have a friend to do it with, I highly recommend journaling!
“10 Ways Journaling Benefits Students.” University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, University of St. Augustine for Health Services, 30 Dec. 2020, https://www.usa.edu/blog/ways-journaling-benefits-students/
“Why Everyone Should Keep A Journal-7 Surprising Benefits.” Kaiser Permanente, Kaiser Permanente, 24 March 2020, https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/healtharticle.7-benefits-of-keeping-a-journal
“Journaling for Mental Health.” University of Rochester Medical Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1