Many great scientists, artists and writers including; Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain, completed personal journals.
They listed down feelings, memories and writing which they didn’t intend anyone else to see. Why would you write something with the intention of no one else seeing it? There has been a lot of research suggesting that journaling can have many benefits and can positively change people’s lives.
From better organization and prioritizing, understanding personal own feelings and views plus proven benefits with mental health, journaling is a way to improve your lifestyle. Plus, it’s a really fun activity to spend your spare-time on.
There are many types of journaling, and it’s really easy to personalize and mix a variety of styles to create the perfect journaling option, depending on how much time is available.
You don’t have be a scientist, artist or creative to journal either, you’ll still be able to see the positive effects, as will hopefully many others.
Benefits of Journaling:
1. Understanding of feelings:
‘It is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.’ – Mina Murray
Journaling is a great outlet when it comes to processing emotions, especially if they are connected to tough or emotional situations. Writing about feelings connected to the situation can allow you to get a better understanding of personal emotions. This can then help in the process of understanding how to react to someone else’s actions.
2. Understanding of personal view:
‘As there are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.’ – William Makepeace Thackery
In the same way journaling can help with personal feelings, it can also help with understanding personal view. Writing things down makes the confusing thoughts make a lot more sense. Allowing yourself to write down these thoughts, without thinking about spelling or making the page look ‘smart’ gives you the ability to understand these thoughts more clearly.
3. Mental health benefits:
‘I tell myself to myself and throw my burden on my book and feel relieved.’ – Anne Lister
Writing down is a great way to express anxieties and getting our worries out in the open rather than bottling them up. Writing them down, even if we don’t want to say them out loud to another person, is one step closer to coming to terms with why you feel the way you do.
Some people may even find just writing those anxieties and worries down is enough for them to conquer them.
4. Improving communication skills:
‘It is not my job to entertain anyone in my diary.’ – David Sedaris
The practice of writing also helps with communication skills. Writing about experiences and conversations allows the brain to remember and understand what happened more clearly, thus meaning when communicating with someone it is a lot easier to explain.
5. Organization and prioritizing benefits:
As with understanding feelings and personal views, journaling can help in organization and prioritizing different things. Writing a list of all the things that need to be done, signifies to the brain that all these things are important and need to be completed.
Writing a list also allows you to see what needs to be done and decide which ones are of more importance. Writing the list in order of importance or with number next to them, gives you something to work by and gives a large amount of
‘If there was no other motive in view [except] to have privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent writing.’ – Wilford Woodruff
Keeping a journal also means keeping memories. It means you are able to write about the great, or not so great things, that have happened to you. Saving your journal means you can read back over what has happened to you and what you have achieved since writing in the journal.
7. Accomplishing things:
Writing down goals and things you want to accomplish has been showed to help when it comes to achieving it. This is because we feel more obliged to complete something and tick it off the ‘to-do lists’ due to satisfaction.
So, whether it’s eating healthy or actually writing in your journal daily, keeping a journal can help you keep good, positive habits.
‘Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point’ – Joan Didion
You can use your journal as a way to record different experiences. Writing about the good things that happen daily, whether big or small, will help build up your self-confidence.
Got up on time? Write it down.
Got the big promotion at work? Write it down.
Managed to drink 2 liters of water? Write it down.
Celebrating and remembering the positive things you managed to get done in a day, even by just writing them down, will make you realize how great you really are.
Tips on Making Journaling Beneficial:
Try writing daily: by making writing in your journal a daily activity, will help keep all these benefits fresh. It will also help keep feelings and anxieties balanced which will also help in understanding personal feelings and views.
Make it accessible: By making your journal accessible it will make it easier to keep on track with turning it into a habit. It also means if you are out in public and you need to write down an important date, see something you want to remember or need to take down an important number, it will be kept all in one place.
Write however feels right: when you write in your journal, don’t worry about spelling mistakes, missed words or grammar. Your journal is your private place and it is your decision if you want to share it with people.
Taking away the ‘stress’ of making sure the writing is perfect, will help when it comes to be more open and honest with yourself and the pages.
Types of Journaling:
Paper journals are the most common and popular way to journal, and usually double up as a diary/ life plan for most people. It’s a great place to keep everything in one place, from important dates to to-do lists, from contact numbers and important business meetings.
By having them all in one place you can keep your organizational skills up to scratch whilst building up a list of memories for you to look back on.
If you want to keep your journal completely personal, a paper one is probably the safest. Being easy to carry, great to look at and easy to hide, it is less likely someone will accidentally stumble across it and read something you don’t want them to see.
Here are a few different popular paper journals for you to try:
1. Bullet Journal:
The bullet journal is a great way to get into journaling. Firstly, you don’t have to go and buy a specific journal for this one. You can go out and buy a brand new notebook or you can use one that you have at home. Simply visit the bullet journal website and you’ll find all you need to set it up.
What is really great about this system is that it’s easily adaptable, though it comes with a simple key system, if one doesn’t work for you – you can change it around.
On the website it gives you a step-by-step guide on how to use the key, how to arrange the pages of the journal. So, whether it’s remembering that really fancy dinner you have coming up or just simply writing down something great that day, the bullet journal has you sorted.
2. Gratitude Journal:
If you are looking to become more positive or grateful, this is the journal for you. Consciously being grateful can be hard and something we may even have to train ourselves to do. It’s easy to forget with busy lifestyles, trying to balance work, social life and general health.
The Gratitude Journal is an easy way to make gratefulness a positive habit. You don’t have to follow a set of guidelines to create a successful gratitude journal either – you can simply do whatever you think will work best with your lifestyle and schedule.
Other journals: Introverts Journal, Five Year Memory Journal and The Happiness Planner.
Journaling apps will make filling in a journal super easy, super convenient and super quick. Having your journal on your phone means you can fill it in pretty much wherever.
So, if you get the bus to work in the mornings you can use the journey to fill it in or whilst you’re having a relaxing bath spend five-ten minutes focusing on your journal.
Here is a list of popular and easy journal apps which may soon be your new best friend.
1. Five Minute Journal
With a morning entry and evening entry that take around 2 minutes each to complete, this is the quickest journaling app to get you started. In the morning simply fill in what you want to achieve throughout the day and what you are grateful for and in the evening, fill in what you did well in the day, what you could have done better and your daily affirmations.
This is the perfect app for beginners in journaling or if you want something quick and easy to fill in.
2. Grid Journal
Grid journal is an effective way of keeping a journal. With templates you can personalize it means that you can set daily questions which you want to work on. Whether that’s eating healthy, going to the gym, what you are grateful for or how you saved money, you can keep track of pretty much everything.
This is a great app for keeping up-to-date with new habits and improving on your old ones.
Other journal apps: Day One Journal, Diaro, Journey – Diary
Creating an online blog is another great way to start journaling. Having your journal online makes it easy for you to access and it also makes it easy for others to access if you want them to. It is also a great way to get involved with the online community of bloggers and fellow journal-writers.
It’s also really easy to build an online journal with many websites offering a free membership.
WordPress is one of the most popular blog building websites and is incredibly easy to use. With a large number of free templates to pick from to base your website on and a generous amount of YouTube tutorials, setting up your online journal will be easy.
You can also make your website private so people have to have a password to enter it. This makes it easier for you to write more honestly without the worry of someone finding it. It does also mean interacting with other journal writers is super easy, and you can share all your journaling tips with each other.
Other online journal websites: BlogSpot and Wix
So, if you want to improve your life with journaling, take the plunge. With positive health benefits, easy to follow templates and easily adaptable for your day-to-day life, journaling could be the best thing you add to your daily health-care routine.