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8 Life Changing Benefits of Journaling

benefits of journaling

Indeed, there are great benefits to journaling!

According to Catharine Cox Miles, a psychologist known for her work on intelligence and the habits of geniuses, all 300 geniuses she studied (including Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci and Copernicus) were avid journal keepers.

In contrast, for many of us, the concept of keeping a journal conjures up images of documenting our high school crushes, dubious triumphs, and inconsequential events which we never expected to take seriously or deem valuable.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us with science intervening and alleviating of our skepticism. Here are 8 life changing benefits of journaling:

The Benefits of Journaling


1. Improves Communication Skills
Putting your thoughts to paper forces you to articulate your ideas and, in turn, find words that express those ideas accurately and concisely. The more you journal/write, the better you get at it and the more your communication skills improve.

2. Boosts Memory and Clarity
When you write down your experiences, thoughts and thought processes in the form of journaling, it gives permanence to those thoughts and, in turn, triggers memories of the past, of various events and even the feelings and emotions experienced during those events.

Clarity also gets a boost when you write down what takes place in your life. If you are confused or unsure about a situation jotting down your thoughts and emotions brings focus and attention to the issue. Journaling helps illuminate an issue and further prevents it from fleeing your awareness.

3. Helps achieve goals
Writing down your goals and reviewing what you've written daily, helps remind you what's important and what you must do to achieve those goals. Furthermore, the written reminder prompts action and keeps you focused.

4. Sparks Creativity
The act of writing itself stimulates the imagination. When you formulate or express ideas on paper it automatically releases your proverbial creative juices. Writing regularly helps you learn to process and communicate complex information while at the same time allowing you to come up with and brainstorm new ideas.

5. Helps Reduce Stress
Research has shown that journaling effectively helps reduce stress (Article: How Psychotherapy and Journaling Help ). In fact, both physical and emotional benefits are experienced by those who journal. Writing down your feelings is cleansing, illuminating and liberating.

Journaling is cleansing because it helps you sort out your thoughts and emotions; illuminating because it brings your findings to light and liberating because it releases negative pent up feelings and emotions. Expressing yourself in a journal is a healthy way to release the tension and stress you otherwise may be internalizing.

6. Increases Self-Awareness
When you journal on a regular basis you learn what works for you. You learn what makes you happy, sad, confident, insecure; and that which is crucial for your overall well-being. The process of writing down your thoughts and feelings allows for insight into a situation and how to potentially handle it. Equally, journaling broadens your perspective by allowing you to read what you’ve written and in turn, look at with fresh eyes.

7. Improves Problem Solving Skills
Along with all of the above great benefits, keeping a journal improves your problem solving skills and advances overall personal development. When you write about a particular problem you remove it from the abstract (your mind) and place it onto the concrete (your journal). This act itself can be empowering and brainstorm inducing. When an issue is right in front of you, you are able to deal with it more effectively and more objectively while feeling less encumbered. Putting a problem on paper engages a creative process that generates more potential solutions for resolving problems.

8. Helps You Plan and Stay Organized
Journaling is a great way to plan and stay organized.When you routinely take the time to plan, prioritize and then implement your tasks by writing them out, it much improves your overall efficiency and productivity. Journaling not only keeps you physically organized, it keeps your thoughts and ideas organized and coherent.

Overall journaling, or keeping a journal, is a great way to build better habits and focus your thoughts and energies, while providing a cathartic release for emotions and feelings.

As Judy Willis MD, a neurologist specializing in brain research regarding learning suggests: "The practice of writing can enhance the brain's intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain's attentive focus - boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain's highest cognition."

Tips on Keeping a Journal


✔ Find the right format for your journaling. Specifically, find what works best for you - paper or electronic, fancy decorative paper, or simple white lined paper; a laptop computer, or a notebook.

✔ Decide on what type of journal you would like to keep, a health journal, a gratitude journal, an ideas journal, a diary type journal, a power journal (for successes, ambitions, inspiration). Perhaps you would like to keep several different journals.

✔ Find a comfortable, reasonably quiet area where you can journal without being disturbed. If you are constantly being interrupted your ideas won’t flow freely and your thoughts will be stifled.

✔ Find sources of inspiration. Reflect upon qualities you admire in your favorite athletes, writers, musicians, or artists.

✔ Consider bullet journaling. It can be fun and creative while keeping you organized. You may not always have the time to elaborate on your thoughts or write long sentences, so instead you can jot down quick bulleted notes.

✔ Make it a habit. Strive to spend at least 30 minutes each day contributing to your journal. The more you write, the better you will become at illuminating, clarifying and expressing what is inside you.

Related:
Quotes on Journaling
Good Communication Skills - Key to Any Success
How to Improve Your Memory
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