Benefits of Journaling – Enjoying this Valuable Practice

Life is challenging at times, and it’s not always easy to find someone to talk to or ways to express yourself.  In this article we’re going to discuss the benefits of journaling and why you should consider starting this habit for your mental health.

Journaling is the practice of writing various things down and has many benefits.  From expressing emotions to finding positivity, journaling has spiritual, mental, and physical benefits.  It is beneficial for every stage of life, whether done occasionally or daily and can promote mental well-being.

Are you feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with current events and don’t know how to express yourself?  Are you looking for a safe way to express emotions and make note of memories and not sure if journaling is for you?

What are the Benefits of Journaling?

Journaling, which is the practice of writing about thoughts, dreams, and events, has so many wonderful benefits.  Regardless of the type of journaling done, some of the benefits include identifying what triggers stress, expressing emotions during difficult times, finding positive events during trying times, improving emotional intelligence, increased creativity, and improved problem solving skills. 

A woman writing in a simple journal - Benefits of Journaling - Gone Minimal
A woman writing in a simple journal

Areas That Benefit From Journaling

Whether you’re keeping a journal about your dreams or your daily struggles, there are several different areas of your well-being that can be helped.  From psychological to spiritual, let’s look at all of the different areas that benefit from journaling.

Here are some areas that can benefit from journaling:

  1. Emotional well-being
  2. Personal development
  3. Creativity and inspiration
  4. Problem-solving and decision-making
  5. Health and well-being
  6. Productivity and organization
  7. Preserving memories
  8. Spiritual exploration

Journaling is a personal practice. You can adapt it to suit your needs, focusing on specific areas or using it as a tool for overall self-reflection and growth. Experiment with different writing styles, prompts, or techniques to find what works best for you.

Psychological Benefits of Journaling

We can experience a lot in a day, and it can be challenging to keep up with everything.  When we utilize journaling, we can reap several psychological benefits.  From identifying emotions to reviewing reactions, when we journal we can let out a lot of steam and let go of what’s bothering us.  Psychological benefits of journaling include less stress, less depression, less distress, more positivity, and even less burnout and more happiness.

  Journaling is a way to have private conversations with oneself and freely express thoughts and emotions

Scientific Benefits of Journaling

There have been multiple studies over many years that have shown the scientific benefits of journaling.  These findings include higher IQ, improved sleep, better immune system response to illness and stress, and even higher self-confidence. 

Other scientifically proven benefits of journaling include enhanced gratitude, reduced depression and stress, as well as improved memory function.  All of these benefits don’t just occur in the here and now-they can continue to benefit us as we age, keeping us mentally sharp and functional-and it’s scientifically proven too!

Spiritual Benefits of Journaling

Spirituality is all about emotions, mental struggles, and having faith in what we don’t know.  Spiritual benefits of journaling include managing stress better, tackling problems head-on, personal growth, mental decluttering, better control of thoughts and emotions, and one mighty powerful thing-mental clarity. 

We struggle with so many day-to-day things emotionally and spiritually, and sometimes it’s difficult to make sense of why some of these things happened.  Journaling can help us better understand the whys, the emotions we experience, and help us better respond emotionally as well as find mental clarity.  Spiritual peace is a powerful thing.

Simplistic brown leather journal - Benefits of Journaling - Gone Minimal
Simplistic brown leather journal

Health Benefits of Journaling

Yes, there are even health benefits of journaling!  According to psychologist Dr. Cheyenne Bryant, journaling can reduce stress, improve immune function, boost your mood, and strengthen your emotional functions.  These effects can improve blood pressure, resting heart rate, and improve your quality of sleep.  There’s also relieved depression, a better way to process emotions, and improved memory-all which can make you a happier person!

Mental Benefits of Journaling

Whether we do it daily or after stressful events, there are several mental benefits of journaling.  According to medical reviewers Watson, Fraser, and Ballas of University of Rochester Medical Center, mental benefits of journaling include reduced stress and better coping with depression. 

This is possible through tracking symptoms, recognizing triggers, identifying negative thoughts, and using these tools to control feelings and improve mood.  Journaling can help you create your own plan to fix problems and improve mental health conditions.

Benefits of Journaling for Students

School is hard-whether it’s grade school or grad school.  There are a lot of things to keep up with, from what we learned today to what homework or tasks we needed to complete.  Benefits of journaling for students include clearing the mind after a long day, keeping track of assignments as well as special memories, and expressing frustrations as well as happiness at the end of the day. 

Student journaling in a minimal classroom - Benefits of Journaling - Gone Minimal
Student journaling in a minimal classroom

One day the student will look back on this journal and think “Wow-I’ve come a long way!  I overcame a lot of problems and look at me now.”  This can really help when it feels like there’s just too much, it’s more than you can handle, or you can’t see past an obstacle.  Journaling experiences from school can help a student see that they are powerful, they are smart, and they can overcome obstacles.

The Benefits of Journaling Frequently

There really are no rules when it comes to journaling, but you can only benefit from doing it versus not doing it.  Journaling is a way to have private conversations with oneself and freely express thoughts and emotions, as described by graduate student Anna Bosanac of Lakehead University. Whether you do it once a week, once a month, or even daily, there are many benefits of journaling frequently.  Let’s review a couple options, how to do it, and how you could benefit.

Benefits of Journaling Daily

When we write down the events of every day, we help with remembering things we did as well as emotions we experienced.  The benefits of journaling daily include remembering special memories as well as day-to-day that may mean a great deal to us in the future. 

Daily journaling can also help with keeping the mind fresh, with memory recall, hand-eye coordination, staving off mental illness and mental decline, and sharing special thoughts with someone in the future.  Who knows-your daily journal may become a published memoir someday!

There really are no rules when it comes to journaling, but you can only benefit from doing it versus not doing it.

Benefits of Journaling Before Bed

You’re familiar with the feeling-you go to lay in bed and go to sleep and your mind just keeps racing.  Reviewing the events of the day, thinking about the things you said (or didn’t say), remembering happy and sad thoughts, and you find yourself struggling to sleep. 

When you take the time to journal before bed, you can clear all of those thoughts out of your mind and fall asleep easier.  Not only does this improve your mental state, but it also gives you a record of your thoughts and helps you be more creative with communication and problem solving.  Plus-you’ll fall asleep faster!

In this helpful video, learn the five biggest benefits that journaling has on mental health and how to start practicing it.

Related Insights

Why is journaling meaningful?

Journaling is meaningful to the writer because it’s a way of expressing oneself.  When you journal, you can write down your innermost thoughts, emotions, memories, fears, dreams, whatever-and no one ever needs to see it.  That way you’re more likely to truly express yourself, which is very beneficial to your well-being.

What do you write when you are journaling?

You can write anything when you are journaling!  Things that made you stressed today, things that are making life difficult, things that have made you happy or sad-it’s a good idea to write all of these things down.  You have so many things to gain from journaling-regardless of the topic!

Can journaling be harmful?

That’s an interesting question-journaling harmful?  I believe it’s more harmful to not express emotions and write down events of the past that may be hidden down deep.  If you’ve experienced something traumatic and you remember it through writing it down, you may experience some fear and distress related to that event-but that will help you let go of the bad feelings as well as any trauma you may have experienced.

Areas of Life Where Real People Think Journaling Would be Helpful

I asked friends and family to list which area of their life they think would benefit most from journaling. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll, and the percentages of their responses.

Are of LifeTimes Selected
Dreams 18%
Daily stressors 23%
Work 18%
Kids 27%
Relationship 14%
Areas of life where people think they would benefit most from journaling

Other Resources:

There are so many different ways to journal and multiple benefits, too many to even include here.  Whether you just need a hobby or have experienced a stressful event in your life, this is a great time to start journaling.  Start writing down your memories, your thoughts, your likes and dislikes, things that are stressing you out or things you don’t know how to process.  Journaling can only help you identify and work through those thoughts and feelings-and that’s a great place to start.

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