While we often associate keeping a diary with teen girls scribbling out their letters of unrequited love, writing a daily journal has more practical applications for adults. From preserving memories to providing mental clarity, keeping a journal can provide the life direction you’ve been looking for. Even if writing is not naturally your thing, jotting down just a few notes each day in your self care journal can still provide plenty of self-improvement benefits. After reading the benefits, our guess is you’ll be quickly picking up a pen.
First off, journaling gives you the opportunity to track your daily life. While it is often easy to focus on the big moments in our lives when we sit back and reminisce, journal entries help to document our smaller struggles and feats. When you reach new goals, it becomes easier to understand how you got there by going back and reading old entries. This gives you more insight into your personal process.
Keeping a journal improves mental clarity by reducing stress. In our daily lives, we face a number of stressful situations. Some are in our control and can be changed, while others make us tackle some of the more unfortunate truths of life. Writing helps us sort out the trying and traumatic experiences and make better sense of them. In research published by the American Psychological Association, researchers found that creative writing helped to reduce “intrusive and avoidant thoughts” concerning negative life events. Their analysis pointed out that pestering thoughts actually harm our ability to remember new events.
Providing Natural and Free Relief
In addition to reducing stress, keeping a journal does not expose you to addictive prescription drugs or come with a large counseling cost. According to Harvard Medical, American social psychologist James W. Pennebaker conducted a study that showed journaling about stressful situations provided effective methods of emotional relief. He tested 46 healthy college students by asking them to write about either traumatic or trivial events in their lives on four consecutive days. His results found that the students who chose to write about traumatic events relied less on the campus health center and pain relief options for stress control.
Pointing Out Patterns
We naturally base our lives around our routines. However, getting too sucked into our daily routine can also trap us in harmful behavior patterns. By writing down your daily thoughts and actions, you hold yourself accountable. Reading past entries will point out patterns on how you tend to deal with stressful situations, which things in your life take up most of your focus, and how you are dividing your time. For example, you might notice that whenever you had a bad day at work you chose unhealthy options for dinner to compensate for the anxiety and stress built up throughout the day.
Finally, with all the other self-improvement benefits, it’s easy to overlook the most obvious one. Keeping a daily journal helps you practice becoming a better writer, and thus a better communicator. Learning how to write and communicate is not just a useful skill for journalists or psychologists. In fact, these are tools you can use in pretty much any trade and career field. Realizing how to organize your thoughts in the privacy of your journal better, will provide you with more confidence when it comes to piecing together sentences in person.
A Word from GR8NESS
With everything considered, taking a few minutes each day to chronicle your life in a handy self care journal will largely improve your mental health and processing. Plus, it holds memories dear so you can always look back on the meaningful moments in your life.