It’s no secret that journaling has tons of benefits for mental and emotional health, and these benefits are even greater for promoting cognitive health as we age. From being a therapeutic outlet to process thoughts and feelings to reducing stress after a long day, journaling is a great practice for those in any stage of life.
Journaling is also a great way to keep our brains sharp! By recording the day’s events, we can train our minds and boost memory. If you’ve never kept a journal before, you may be unaware of how to begin keeping a journal or how this mental health practice can benefit you. This article breaks down the benefits of keeping a journal and how you can get started journaling today.
Benefits of Journaling
The benefits of keeping a journal extend to many areas of life from mental health, physical wellness, and even emotional intelligence.
Journaling Can Reduce Stress
Regardless of what season of life you’re in, it’s important to be able to recognize stress and manage it. While stress is a normal part of life, it is not unmanageable and can cause serious health problems if left unaddressed. For instance, high stress levels that are unmanaged for long periods of time can lead to weight gain, heart problems, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, anxiety, inability to focus, depression, and fatigue.
It is essential to find ways to manage and reduce stress in our everyday lives. Journaling is an easy, affordable way to do this! In fact, research demonstrates lowered levels of blood pressure and stress in those who journaled for just 15 to 20 minutes each day.
For stress management, try journaling before you go to bed each night. This gives you an opportunity to unwind and release stress you’ve collected during the day. It also gives you an opportunity to process any stressful situations and release tension. As a bonus, journaling before bed can help improve your sleep.
If managing stress is a challenge in your life, consider using a hemp extract gummy or tincture to help ease feelings of tension throughout the body, and it doesn’t make you high like its cousin marijuana does. You get all the benefits of feeling calm and relaxed without the psychoactive effects!
Journaling Can Support Immune Health
As we age, it’s important to care for our immune systems. Some of the most popular ways to do this are to take multivitamins, engage in regular exercise, and eat a balanced diet full of nutrients and minerals. However, journaling is also a great way to promote immune function and boost health.
Recent research shows that journaling about negative or stressful experiences can boost immunity and promote our overall health and ability to fight off sickness and disease. Purging our minds of negativity and stress and writing in a journal each night can also strengthen the individual immune cells in the body.
Journaling Can Help Memory
The process of journaling requires reviewing a day’s events, which can help you remember them for the future. In addition to this, writing words with a pen and paper is an easy way to boost cognitive function and improve memory. In fact, when we write by hand as opposed to typing on a device, our brains are more likely to remember the information and really process it.
Journaling Improves Mood
Journaling has also been shown to boost overall mood and happiness. By writing about our feelings, thoughts, and the events that happen each day, our brains are better able to regulate emotions and boost happiness.
Journaling Promotes Emotional Intelligence
Another benefit of journaling is that it promotes emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence involves how well one is able to control impulses, recognize their own emotions and behavior, be able to see from another’s perspective and have empathy, and maintain healthy relationships that benefit both participants.
In other words, it’s the ability to understand your own thoughts and feelings, the thoughts and feelings of others, and communicate effectively to maintain a positive relationship. Journaling benefits emotional intelligence in a few ways.
It allows us to record and process our feelings. During a busy day, you may not have time to pause and dissect your feelings after a stressful event. Journaling at the end of the day allows you an opportunity to think back through the day and process it then to understand your thoughts and feelings. This also gives you an opportunity to analyze other people’s behavior and try to see situations from their perspective.
In addition to this, journaling helps us keep track of our goals and growth. It provides a way to look back to past behaviors, learn from them, and grow in the ability to process and be self-aware.
8 Tips To Start Journaling
Regardless of whether you’re new to journaling or have been journaling for years, here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to help you keep a journal.
1. Record Daily Events and Thoughts
Journaling doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, simply journaling about the day’s events and your thoughts and feelings throughout is a great way to process your day, remember what happened, and destress before you go to sleep.
Start at the very beginning and simply write about what happened during the day and how it made you feel. You can also write about those involved in the story and how they responded as well. This helps develop empathy and a new perspective about how the situation may have made others feel.
2. Follow a Journal Prompt
If you feel stuck on what to write about in your journal, consider following a prompt! You can even write creatively or write poetry. Here are some journal prompts to follow.
- What is your favorite way to spend the day?
- What would you do if nobody was watching?
- Who have you loved the most?
- What activity do you wish you were better at?
- What do you appreciate most about yourself?
- What is your favorite part of your routine?
- What makes you feel the happiest?
3. Write About the People in Your Life
Another tip for journaling is to write about the people in your life. Here are some examples of how you can do this:
- Write about those who have had a large impact on your life.
- Write about people you’re thankful for.
- Journal about those who have taught you important lessons.
- Write about your friends and how your friendship has impacted your life.
- Write about your family members.
4. Journal Your Goals
As life gets busy, it can become easy to forget goals that you’ve set for yourself. Especially when you have a family, taking the risks to pursue your goals may take a backseat in your priorities. Journaling is a great way to keep track of your goals and remind yourself of where you want to be. It also lets you change or modify your goals!
5. Write About Memories
Another great way to boost memory through journaling is to write about your favorite memories. For instance, you can write about your childhood home or neighborhood, or your college courses and friends. You could write about your favorite memories such as your wedding or a family vacation.
By picking a memory and journaling about it as though it just happened, you can boost cognitive function and memory.
6. Write Every Day
To maximize the benefits of journaling, experts recommend writing every day. This helps you cultivate journaling into a habit and allows you to benefit your mental and emotional health as much as possible!
7. Make Lists
Making lists is a great way to participate in journaling, even if you have a little bit of writer’s block. Here are some ideas of lists you can write.
- List out the places you’ve visited.
- Make a list of things you’re grateful for.
- Make a list of things you don’t like.
- List out activities or skills you want to learn.
- Write out a list of activities or skills you’re good at.
- Write a list of books you enjoyed reading.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan for journaling. Everyone thinks and processes differently, so everyone’s journal takes on a different form. Studies show that any movement of a pen on paper can be beneficial to mental health. So, if you’re not always able to write, consider drawing while you journal. This allows room for creativity, self-expression, and freedom.
As you draw, don’t worry about making it look good or realistic. Simply focus on drawing for you and for fun.
Journaling is a great and easy way to cope with life’s stress and process emotions and thoughts each day. It can help you improve sleep by reducing stress levels, support your immune health, improve memory, and increase your emotional intelligence to help you have better relationships and higher self-awareness.
The benefits of journaling are widespread and can improve mental health and wellness. All you have to do is find a notebook and pen and start writing.