Did you keep a diary when you were a kid?
Diaries are a safe space to confess thoughts and feelings you can’t talk to anyone about.
But then you grow up, and the idea of writing down your secret crushes in a diary loses its appeal.
That’s when it’s time to graduate from keeping a diary…
Journals are grown-up diaries with grown-up goals.
They can help you with your health, career, creativity, and more.
Here are 8 surprising ways journaling can help you achieve your professional and personal goals.
8 Reasons to Start Journaling
1. Better Self-Confidence
There are a few ways that journaling can boost self-confidence.
Since keeping a journal can help you manage your thoughts and schedule, you may find that being organized reduces anxiety.
A journal can also help you practice positive self-talk. By working to combat negative thoughts, you may find that being more positive and kinder to yourself makes you feel better about who you are.
2. Better Mental Health
Journaling can help alleviate stress, manage anxiety, and cope with depression.
Writing down your thoughts can help you organize them and start to visualize solutions. You may be better able to see what problems, fears, and concerns are troubling you, as well as what’s behind the challenges you’re facing.
3. Better Physical Health
Journaling not only helps you mentally; it can help you physically, too. Expressive writing has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve immune system functioning, improve liver function, and improve athletic performance.
4. Achieving Goals
A goal can feel more tangible if you write it down. You can use your journal to create specific, meaningful goals and monitor your progress. Try future self journaling.
5. Better Creativity
Many artists and creatives keep journals to brainstorm and jot down ideas. One of the most popular books on journaling for creativity is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which recommends a specific form of journaling called “morning pages.”
6. Better Memory
Writing information down by hand helps you commit ideas to memory better than typing them into a computer. It’s amazing how much we forget. As you record conversations and events in your journal, you’ll have a permanent record of events that you may have otherwise forgotten.
7. Better Communication and Writing Skills
Journaling can help you improve the way you express yourself. Just as practice makes perfect, you get better at writing the more you write. Seth Godin, author of one of the most popular blogs of all time, believes that everyone should commit to writing on a daily basis.
8. Better Critical Thinking
A study published in the Journal of Nursing Education found that reflective journaling improved critical thinking skills, noting that the ability to think critical, reflect, and make informed decisions are essential to professional development.
So how can you get started journaling?
6 Types of Journals You Can Start
You can start journaling today by grabbing a notebook and writing down what’s in your head.
There’s no “right” way to journal.
But if you have specific goals, or you’re not sure what to write, here are some ideas to get you started.
- Idea Journal: A journal can be a place to “brain dump.” Write down everything and anything that comes to mind. This can help you understand and process your thoughts and emotions, clear your head, and feel more at peace.
- 5 Ws Journal: Break down what you’re thinking about by the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why). This can help you learn new information or better understand a particular situation you’re in.
- Transfer Journal: Write down how you will benefit from or plan to draw on specific concepts or experiences that you are currently learning about or going through.
- Double-entry Journal: Write down a concept or phrase on one side of a notebook, then record your thoughts about or reaction to that idea on the other side.
- Reading Journal: Keep notes on any books you’re reading. Write down quotes and ideas that struck you, so that you can draw on them later.
- Question Journal: Record questions that you’re struggling to answer. These can be questions you want to ask someone in your life or ones you hope to answer about yourself.
Want to Know More about Journaling?
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences has some additional ideas for journals that can improve your life.