Journaling is a tradition with roots that date back hundreds of years. Many United States presidents have kept journals for posterity, while numerous other public figures have maintained them for a variety of other reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of journal writing.
Perhaps the most obvious benefits to keeping a journal is a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings. Forcing yourself to focus on the way you feel so that you must write it down sentence after sentence can, at times, lead to surprising revelations (especially if you re-read the entry sometime down the road). When humans force themselves to express emotions through words they search out the most appropriate words to identify those emotions; in other words, humans can get a greater grasp on the way they feel when they are forced to contain those thoughts within language.
In an effort to better articulate one’s points, a person who journals may, over time, expand their vocabulary. Whether you are looking for synonyms (words with similar meanings) or more nuanced words to describe the way you’re feeling, journaling may help you stretch yourself intellectually. That’s right: journaling may make you smarter.
Writing about stressful situations, whether it’s a disagreement amongst friends, a problem at work, or some other painful emotion, can be simultaneously therapeutic and solution-oriented. When people write about problems they’re dealing with, they may be better able to see the situation from a variety of angles. This may include the perspective of a person with whom you’re disagreeing, an approach to a problem you would not typically take, or a bigger picture to make an unfortunate situation seem smaller. No matter the problem, it may be possible to find a solution through journaling.
Types of Journaling
There are three main types of journaling methods people use today: paper, application (app), and blog.
- Traditionalists prefer a paper notebook in which they can write down their private thoughts without prying eyes to correct grammar or sentence structure (don’t worry about editing your thoughts, just get them out!).
- More modern journalists may use an app, whether it’s for their phone, tablet, or computer; like paper notebooks these apps can keep thoughts private, but allow you to attach links, images, and other media as well.
- And, finally, a very popular style of journaling these days is blogging: putting your thoughts online for all to enjoy (though you’ll probably want to do a bit of editing if you choose this method).
If you search online a bit, you’ll find research and studies that propose more benefits to journaling: communication development, achieving goals, discipline, creativity, or even mental and physical health. No matter what you get out of journaling, it is likely that you will get something out of it. So why not give it a try?