Three Reasons Why You Need to Journal

  1. 1.  It can be anything you want and everything you need.

    I wrote my first journal entry in August. I began by saying Happy Monday, then wrote about everything I had done that day. I wrote down every thought I had, every emotion I felt, every frustration, worry, everything good or bad. There are absolutely no rules in keeping a journal and it became a huge outlet for me. You can write, draw, or do anything you want. It is entirely yours. I am super dyslexic so I can misspell and say things wrong, and it doesn’t matter. For the first time I loved writing because there was no grade, no one reading it, nothing I wrote was wrong. I could express myself in any way I wanted to and -say the things I was often afraid of. I became my own best friend.

  2. 2.  Self-awareness            

    By journaling, I can write down my thoughts without judgement and I can think about why I was feeling that way. In doing this, I began to understand the idea that we are not our thoughts or emotions, we are the observer. I learned to look at myself in a very different way. Rather than criticizing my behavior, I began to look deeper at why I may have felt or acted a certain way. When I would get upset with myself or have what I call a ‘moment’, I go back with the perspective of a future self and think about what had happened. I don’t get mad, I don’t judge, I read it and I offer myself advice, support, and love. You gain so much clarity when you write down all your thoughts and emotions.  As I write, I release those thoughts from eating away at me. I have become a more insightful and thoughtful person as a result.

    In a clinical trial, they found...

    “Participants in the experimental group, who were instructed to write their deepest thoughts and feelings about the exam, exhibited a significant decline in depressive symptoms from 1 month (Time 1) to 3 days (Time 2) before the exam. Participants in the control group, who wrote about a trivial topic, maintained a relatively high level of depressive symptoms over this same period. Expressive writing did not affect the frequency of intrusive thoughts, but it moderated the impact of intrusive thoughts on depressive symptoms.”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9364758/

  3. 3. Strengthen your memory.

    My memory has always been something I have struggled with. I find that so much of my life is foggy and hard to remember. I can go back to any day within the last six months and in reading a few words, I remember everything about the day. I often can feel those same sensations within my words. According to the APA, journaling not only helps memory, but improves cognitive function and makes managing stress easier. The results by Klien and Boals found “expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thinking about a stressful experience, thus freeing working memory resources.”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11561925/

    Additionally, studies were done on college students finding that...

     “participants in the expressive-writing condition showed modest improvements in working memory between the second and third memory tests.”

    In addition, participants in the expressive-writing condition observed that “expressive writing boosts the narrative coherence of stressful memories. Gains in working memory were also associated both with greater use of cause and insight words and with higher GPAs both immediately after the experiment and in the subsequent semester.”

    https://www.apa.org/monitor/sep01/keepdiary