The act of journaling has proved to have many positive impacts on individuals' well-being. It helps remove mental blocks and allows you to use your brain power to better understand yourself, others and the world around you (Purcell, 2018). The act of journaling can help release some of the feelings and thoughts you may have bottled up. There are many formats and types of journals you can keep, including: bullet journals, gratitude journals, plain notebooks, journals with daily prompts and all which can be digital or paper based (Rodriguez-Cayro, 2018).
According to Rodriguez-Cayro (2018) the following are 8 proven ways journaling can have a positive impact on your mental health:
1. Can improve your memory
Journaling can help reduce intrusive thoughts which lessens your stress level. By reducing your stress level, you are increasing your cognitive energy that can be used towards forming memories.
2. Can ease anxiety
Studies have proven journaling can reduce feelings of worry which in turn takes the edge off your brain so you can perform tasks with a clearer mind.
3. Can make you kinder (gratitude journal)
Gratitude writing can boost your mood and improve your mental health.
4. Can lessen symptoms of depression
A 2013 study showed expressive writing decreased symptoms of depression in people with Major Depressive Disorder and found a huge decline in depression scores at the end of the study.
5. Can make you more creative (dream journals)
Journaling about your dreams has been linked to an increase in creative thinking and providing insight into your subconscious mind.
6. Can help you achieve your goals
The act of writing down your goals is linked to actually achieving this goal. Those who wrote down their goals and shared it with a friend were even more likely to achieve their goal.
7. Can improve your leadership skills
Recording your thoughts can stimulate reflection and can help make sense of what is happening around you which can improve how you lead.
To start journaling, set aside 20 minutes a day. Choose any format or method you prefer to start writing or typing into! Write quickly and freely without any censorship. “The most important rule of all is that there are no rules” (Purcell, 2018).