Why do you journal?
Why is it important to keep one?
What happens when you journal?
What do you get out of journaling?
How does journaling work?
Keeping a journal will absolutely change your life in ways you’ve never imagined. ~Oprah Winfrey
7 Benefits of Journaling
If you've been keeping a journal, you can tell a thing or two about this.
To many, the benefits of journaling are immediate.
People report fast relief of headache, positive shift in mood, improved memory, or finding a solution to a problem.
The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt
Here are a number of benefits from keeping a journal:
1 - Solitude and freedom
When you sit down to journal, the first thing you reap is solitude.
Solitude connotes loneliness, emptiness, isolation, seclusion, privacy, detachment, separation and solitariness.
You may engage in journaling when feeling lonely or empty.
However, it could be way beyond that.
In fact, it may be the opposite, which is good.
Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company. ~ Hara Estrof Marano, Psychology Today
More often than not, journaling is where you find:
- Peace of mind
- Sense of security
- Peace of mind
It is in solitude where you let down your hair and become the person you truly are.
It's enjoying the freedom to be oneself.
You lose yourself and claim it back, way better when you let it go.
The magic takes place in solitude.
2 - Relief from Stress and Anxiety
To many, there is no better place than being alone journaling.
Journaling relieves stress and anxiety.
It is a powerful form of self-expression that brings calm and relaxation.
As you journal, you let go of frustrating, troubling, stimulating - even, uplifting but stressful - thoughts and emotions.
You gain clarity, self-understanding, focus and confidence.
Unlike before, you now face and solve problems with calm, grace and confidence.
Even health conditions such as migraine, depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, and other forms of illness show signs of improvement.
3 - Creativity
Journaling sparks creativity.
It is a tool for creative expression.
It challenges you to think, feel and respond in familiar, strange, novel or untested ways.
What you can do is limitless.
Draw. Doodle. Paint. Pastel. Ink.
Swear. Pray. Romanticize.
Tear. Cut out. Crumple. Fold. Paste. Mask.
Exclaim. Explain. Solve. Resolve. Answer. Clarify.
Up to you.
No right or wrong.
No black or white.
Only creative expression.
4 - Clarity
In order for something to become clean, something else must become dirty. ~Imbesi’s Conservation of Filth Law
Journaling is excellent to clarify your thoughts, emotions, responses and behaviors.
As you journal, you gain valuable insights that lead to clarity:
- Clarity about yourself
- Clarity about your situation
- Clarity about future actions and directions.
Clarity about self
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What is my mission in life?
What do I live for?
What am I willing to die for?
What do I love the most?
What pains me?
How do I feel today?
Why do I feel this way?
What am I scared of?
Who are the most significant people in my life?
What do I want to be 5, 10 or 20 years from now?
What have I achieved?
What have I become?
These are some popular journaling prompts that would help you understand yourself at a much deeper level.
To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ~Jo Coudert, Advice From A Failure
Clarity about situation
Journaling is a wonderful way to understand the world that surrounds you.
It can help clarify events, problems, circumstance and options as well as people influencing your life.
When you’re beset with a mind full of fuzzy, disconnected thoughts flitting here and there, journaling would:
- reveal helpful and self-defeating patterns
- put focus on what's relevant and important to you
- give you a broader view and understanding of the situation
- clarify your goals and objectives
- provide you answers to recurring questions
- offer you options and alternatives.
Clarity about actions and directions
As you understand things better, you also gain a clearer view of actions, solutions and directions to take to deal with whatever confronts you.
You're able to carve out a more defined and definitive roadmap for your future.
5 - Self-esteem and confidence
Self-esteem is feeling proud, satisfed, confident, accepting and respectful of your abilities and worth.
Keeping a journal boosts your self-esteem.
When you journal, you keep tab of your progress:
- how much effort you invest to achieve your goals
- how you fire back when you experience setbacks
- how you emerge victorious despite challenges.
You track how close you are to achieving your dreams.
You reaffirm the benefits you are achieving as you get closer to your goals.
You see yourself in a new light as you see how much you have transformed.
Even when you don't always succeed, you realize that you are worth more than gold.
It doesn't matter what others say.
You accept yourself warts and all, believe in yourself, and pride yourself of who you are.
6 - Positive mindset and energy
When you journal, you release negative thoughts and emotions that block your view of things and approach in life.
Without these impairing blocks, you gain a new pair of eyes.
You see things in a positive light.
You open up yourself to new possibilities.
You respond differently.
Life has more meaning and you approach it with more life.
7 - Memory recall
You’ll be amazed at how much you forget.
When your memory fails you, your journal is there.
Among other things, it would remind you of:
- contact information
- program of exercise
- debt to settle
- income to collect.
Over time, your journal becomes a valuable catalog of memories that you can look at for years to come.
8 - Healing
Journaling is powerful.
It can heal you by stimulating and boosting your body's happy hormones.
Following are major hormones that create happy feelings when you journal:
- Endorphin - This hormone is the body's natural pain killer or morphine. It alleviates mood or euphoria and reduces pain and anxiety. The more you have of it, the happier you feel.
- Serotonin - This hormone boosts your mood and makes you more sociable and likeable. It regulates a range of behaviors including appetite, sleep, arousal and aggression. It is responsible for diminishing craving, achieving restful sleep, boosting self-esteem, relieving depression, preventing agitation and aggression, and reducing anxiety.
- Dopamine - This is the pleasure hormone that is responsible for your feelings of bliss, contentment, euphoria, pleasure, fulness of appetite, controlled motor movements, and sharpness of focus. It is strongly associated with reward mechanisms while striving to achieve a goal or pursuing a rewarding experience.
- Oxytocin - This is your love hormone that's stimulated by dopamine. It is secreted in response to social recognition, emotional bonding, cuddling as well as sexual stimulation, arousal and orgasm.
- Acetylcholine - This hormone makes you alert, sharpens memory, optimizes sexual performance, controls appetite and releases growth hormone.
- Enkephalin - This hormone restricts pain, reduces craving and inhibits depression.
- Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) - This hormone is found in the centra nervous system. It fights stress, anxiety, panic, and pain. It promotes calm, focus, control as well as growth in muscle mass.
- Melatonin - This hormone is responsible for rest, sleep and healing or recuperation. It regulates the body clock and fights aging.
- Norepinephrine - This hormone is secreted in response to stress, making you feel excited, happy, alert and motivated. It fights depression, controls appetite, uplifts energy, and achieves sexual satisfaction.
- Phenylethylamine (PEA) - This hormone is a powerful natural stimulant in your body that stimulates good mood, promotes bliss, stirs infatuation, diminishes anxiety, boosts energy, and sharpens focus.
Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease. ~Hippocrates
9 - Data, insights and applied learning
When you journal, you record information in real time:
- blood pressure
- type and amount of food taken
- time and duration of sleep
- activities done
- projects accomplished
- income and expenses
- and more.
Over time, you accumulate a significant amount of data for multiple uses.
One day to collect the scattered fragments of myself, and give them symmetry, wholeness and use. ~Muriel Strode (1875-1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912
How important is your baseline data?
What good does it do for you?
What do you make of it?
There are a number of things you can do with it, such as:
- get insights on thought, emotional and behavioral patterns, shifts and trends
- see changes, progressions and transformations taking place over time
- get answers to questions
- track and verify progress against set goals, plans or programs
- derive observations, findings, conclusions, plans and actions
- define measures or adjustments to take
- respond to changing situations on a timely basis.
Data for improved decision-making
Once you realize the value of your insights, things begin to shift in the way you think, feel and behave.
Journaling offers this opportunity for personal growth and development.
Data for product creation
Browse your journals and see endless possibilities of products to create and sell:
- book of poems, prayers and affirmations
- children's story books
- typography of memorable quotes
- blog posts
- floral designs for fabric
You name what else.
The list is endless.
Data for planning
When you have solid data to work with, you may define what you want and come up with a plan for it.
Your plan would include:
- expected outputs
- people or expertise involved
- resources needed
- among others.
How about you?
What benefits have you gotten from journaling?
Please share your first-hand experience on keeping a journal.