The Benefits of Journaling

Okay, think of journaling. What is the first thing that comes to mind? It's likely that it has something to do with "Dear Diary" and high school-sweethearts... Am I right...? If you have read our article about 21st century skills, your thoughts may be a little different, however.

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Research shows that people can benefit from journaling. Their lives are more structured, they're in better control, they're happier, and they may even be wealthier. Are you convinced? Start journaling today and see for yourself how it will impact your life.

What Is Journaling

Basically, journaling is writing down what you think, feel, fear, celebrate, experience, observe, dream of; and whatever else comes to mind. Journaling can be jotting down a few sentences about your day, a short poem, a graphic story, or whatever suits you best. Collecting your thoughts together in an organized space is a small change in your daily routine that can make a big difference!

5 Reasons to Start

So... Here are 5 reasons why you should start journaling!

  1. Make Dreams Come True

    If you were to build a house, you would also start with a blueprint, right? Imagine yourself as the constructor of your own life. Writing down your ambitions helps your brain to play with them. With journaling, these ambitions can turn into goals. Through writing, you review your life vision and get the big picture of your goals. Goals that build better habits in your physical health, working life, personal growth, spending money wisely, and more!

    The more detailed your goals become, the more likely they are to be achieved. Pieces of this puzzle create a bigger picture that help you design your life the way you want it to be, and become the person you want to be. For example, if you want to pay for higher education, write down the important details like how much it will cost, how you will earn the money, what you need to have tucked away each week, month, and year. If you put your mind to it and take the goal seriously, you can achieve, or get much closer to your goal than if you simply keep it in mind as something you might want to do.

  2. Experience More Happiness

    Paying attention to your thoughts, anxiety and frustration when writing is a good way to get a grip on them. It helps you to live in the present—also called mindfulness. Research shows that mindfulness makes you more actively engaged and relaxed which contributes to a happy feeling.

    But what to do with all your awesome moments, sparkling thoughts and brilliant ideas? Write them down too! It will boost your positive feeling and is nice to reflect on at a later time. Other nice benefits of writing down positives include reducing stress and increasing your feelings of gratitude. More happy experiences are on the way!

  3. Grow Self- awareness, Confidence and Discipline

    Wow, those are some fancy words. Remember that a small act can make a world of difference. It all starts with the first step. It's like wanting to run a marathon. You have to take the first step; practice on a daily basis and improve your training. Start small and extend your practice until you can do the whole thing. Changing your life is much like training for a marathon.

    So, sit down, write and find out the patterns in your thoughts, behavior and feelings. Consider writing about your feelings as they relate to money, or any purchases you made that day. Was it a smart purchase? Or are you having "buyer's remorse"? Use this FoolProofMe article about the start-stop-continue method as a place to start.

    For example, let's say your friend gave you some advice about personal stuff and you responded in a way that upset your friend. Later, you write down what happened, what thoughts and feelings you had about "what was said" , how you reacted, and how you (now) feel about that. Think of other possible ways you could have reacted. What would you do different in a similar situation next time? You'll see that when you keep journaling, you can grow and positively change your life.

  4. Optimize Your Creativity

    Referring back to your 21st century-survival-kit: enable your creative skills. Writing, especially as a part of your morning routine, will help you to unlock your creativity. While you were sleeping, your subconscious had been working. And after a good night of sleep, your brain wakes up with marvelous ideas to solve problems. Have you ever been told 'to sleep on it'? That helps you to look at a situation from another angle, sometimes in an unexpected and creative way. Next time you want to make a big decision, like buying a cellphone or even car, sleep on it and write your thoughts down in the morning. Chances are, you might rethink that frivolous purchase in favor of a planned savings goal instead.

    Need a way to kick start your creativity? Look up writing prompts that will help you to get started!

  5. Your Skills Will Improve

    Journaling helps you to increase your focus, memory and learning skills. It also boosts your productivity and it helps you to remember and track your progress. All of these are skills and traits that will help you find success.

    Consider the skill of communication, too. You can improve your vocabulary, because you keep looking for new words to describe what you're experiencing. You become a better communicator, because you can express yourself in a more structured way.

    There are many more skills you'll improve by journaling. You just have to start doing it regularly.

So, How Do You Begin?

If you like to physically write, you can find a journal, notebook, scrapbook, or any other type of paper that is a reflection of you, and begin collecting your thoughts.

Another option is to use an app. There are many journaling apps out there that have features which help you to establish a daily routine, or personalize your entries with photos. Some may even connect to your social media, or offer a search feature too!

Some of these apps are free, but they may have premium features or in-app purchases. Be sure to do your research properly, of course. Or start free (and see if can master journaling), and add paid features as you go (and please).

Start journaling today. Write at least three times a week and make it your new habit. Just write for a couple of minutes a day and expand on that. Remember; a small change can make a world of difference.

Cheers, Will

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