By Nicole Tinkham
In your younger years you may have kept a diary or journal of the things going on in your life but as we get older we tend to drift away from doing this. If you’re still doing it, that’s excellent! But if you haven’t thought about keeping a journal in ages, we have some surprising benefits of journaling that you probably didn’t know. Read on for why you should start journaling again and how it can change your life.
1. It helps you think creatively
Studies show that while sleeping your subconscious mind wanders and makes connections with different parts of the brain as it does during creative activity which promotes creative thinking right after sleep. With that being said, you can purposefully direct your unconscious mind by thinking about specific things before bed. To do this, jot down the things you want to accomplish in your journal right before falling asleep. Write down any thoughts or questions you want to figure out and be very specific about it.
Right after waking up, grab your journal again and have a thought dump where you unleash any creative ideas or answers you’re thinking about. Just write down whatever comes to mind, be loose with it and let the ideas flow. Don’t be worried if they’re good ideas or not. Just get them in your journal. It may take some time but eventually this could help you come up with new creative ideas for future projects.
2. It reduces stress
Having too much on your mind or scattered thoughts can lead to stress. You may have a difficult time concentrating on one thing at a time and that can be overwhelming. Use your journal to unload all the ideas you’re storing in your head. Once you have them down on paper they aren’t going anywhere and you can get back to them later. You’ll notice that doing this makes life a lot less hectic and you can finally relax.
In addition to your ideas, journaling also releases the emotions you’re holding on to. When you get your feelings written out, you can begin to let go of the things that are holding you back. You’re more likely able to let go and move on with your life by doing this. View your journal as a way of therapy.
3. It helps with your memory
It doesn’t matter how great you think you are at remembering information, writing things down is proven to help retain that info. When learning something new, it actually helps to write it down versus type it out. By writing things down, a different part of your brain is engaged which helps things stick. Try it out next time you go grocery shopping if you don’t normally write out a list. You’ll be amazed by what you remember to pick up without even looking at the list! Writing things down also helps you work out problems and helps with your learning process, just an added bonus. So next time you’re in a rut, grab your journal and do a little brainstorming to find a solution.
4. It makes you a happier person
If you use your journal to jot down what you’re grateful for each day, you’ll draw more positive things to your life and just be all around happier. You can start by listing the big things but eventually you’ll realize just how many small things in your life that you appreciate and may not have noticed on a daily basis prior to doing this. The little things sometimes matter more than the big things.
If you have a relationship that’s going downhill and you’d like to revive it, jot down one thing a day that you love about that person. This will get you thinking about them and all of their good qualities. Soon you won’t even notice the things that once bugged you and instead you’ll notice how much love you have for them. This can drastically change your relationship.
5. It improves your communication skills
Believe it or not, as you write in a journal you’re speaking to someone. Maybe it’s just to you but that doesn’t matter. You still have to make sense of what you have written down. With time, journaling will improve your writing which also improves your communication skills. Start jotting down little stories and scenarios to keep your creative mind sharp and discover your voice!
Before you go on thinking journaling is a lot of work, remember that a little bit goes a long way. Also, you won’t see a drastic change overnight but with time it could boost your creativity, increase your learning and memory, help with your communication skills, strengthen your relationships, and reduce your stress. Journaling is not just something for teenage girls! Invest in a nice journal, let the ideas flow, and allow it to change your life.
Tell us, do you write in a journal? What types of things do you write in it? Let us know in the comments!