A Case for Journaling
I think you should journal. I think most everyone should journal.
I picked up the habit several years ago when I was still in the Navy and consider that moment to be an inflection point in my life. I learned to make the time when I didn’t have the time. I learned to articulate my feelings and emotions (no small feat it turns out). I discovered that when I went out into the world looking for answers, I would often find them in the pages of my journal.
I wasn’t a believer immediately, but I trusted the process. I showed up every day and put the pen onto the paper. And that has made all the difference.
It worked for me and it will work for you if you let it. Why?
Journaling helps reduce stress. When you write down your thoughts and feelings, you release the pressure and tension that builds up over time. You will naturally process your disparate thoughts and emotions, allowing for new perspectives on what’s bothering you. Studies show that journaling can lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and reduce your distress.[i][ii]
Journaling boosts your self-awareness. Sitting down to write everyday allows you get to know yourself better. You’ll discover what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what makes you angry, and what gets you excited. You’ll also learn about your strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals. You will come to understand who you are and you will grow into who you want to be.
Journaling enhances your creativity. When you journal, you tap into your imagination and explore new ideas. You can write about anything you want, from your dreams and fantasies to your plans and projects. You can also experiment with different styles and formats, such as poetry, fiction, or bullet points. Journaling stimulates your brain and sparks your creative flow.
Journaling improves your problem-solving skills. When you use your journaling time to think through problems you’ll brainstorm solutions, weigh pros and cons, and evaluate outcomes. You can also ask yourself questions and reflect on your actions and decisions. Journaling helps you to think critically and logically.
Journaling enables goal-setting and goal realization. Your journal is the space where you can be completely honest with yourself – no edits. In your daily writing, goals will naturally bubble to the surface. You can use that space to then develop a course of action and evaluate both successes and failures.
The easiest way to get started is to start today. Buy a notebook at the grocery store and start by filling in one page per day. No excuses. Write about your day. Write about a problem you’re facing. Write out all of the things you are grateful for – how about a refrigerator that keeps your food cold? Just write.
Eventually, you’ll find yourself naturally writing about goals, things that are bothering you, trouble with your spouse, etc. If you do this you will find yourself more self-aware, less stressed, and generally more capable of living life.
Hop to it.
[i] 15 Benefits of Journaling and Tips for Getting Started (healthline.com)[ii] 5 Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health (positivepsychology.com)