In fifth grade, a teacher asked us to write on a diary as a school project. I remember finding the idea funny at the time, especially since what we’ll write would be read and graded. However, I found a joy in it that I never found elsewhere. So I haven’t stopped writing since.
I used to write down everything, and have gone through a lot of notebooks. But I did lay low quite a bit in the past couple of years. The age old “I just don’t have time for it” excuse is to blame. But I’m slowly easing my way back into it because it truly helps in a lot of ways. Here are just some of the benefits of journaling to mental health.
Sharpen your focus
Sitting down and writing down your thoughts on paper helps you focus on just that one task. With your thoughts pouring freely, it gives the same effect as meditation. If you find that you get distracted easily, do try following a schedule and remove any type of distraction there might be. You’ll find that it will be easier for you to just sit down and finish tasks because you’ve been practicing doing it through journaling.
Boosts your productivity
There’s a reason why many people are currently obsessed with journaling — bullet journaling to be exact. Writing things down, especially tasks, helps you become more productive. The act of ticking off items on your list also gives a rewarding feeling that helps your brain release dopamine (yes, the happy hormones)!
It also helps you in achieving your goals. A study mentioned in this article on Forbes says writing down your goals (or anything for that matter) helps you get a clear picture of them in your mind, which is really helpful when you start taking steps toward achieving them.
Makes you more reflective
There’s no denying that with everything going on in our lives, it can be hard to just pause and take a moment to reflect. But journaling helps you do that. Whether you had a bad day or a great one, sitting down with your thoughts and committing them to memory through writing them down helps you look at things with a different lens. Much like meditation, journaling gives you the liberty to take a pause and examine your thoughts, emotions and actions.
Improves your writing or art skills
While it’s not strictly a mental health benefit, improving in a certain aspect in your life certainly adds up to your confidence and makes you happy. So if you’ve always wanted to be better at writing or drawing or collage-making, keeping a journal is definitely a good way to practice. You just have to make sure that you allot enough time for it.
Teaches you that things get better
Hindsight is 20/20, they say. With journaling, you’ll find it to be true. Once you read through old notes, you’ll find that you’ve improved a lot or have come so far from whatever it was you were going through at the time you wrote them. It will teach you that even though some things might not necessarily get better, they have unfolded the way they needed to and that you have picked up lessons since then.
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