Journaling is certainly nothing new. Many of us spent our teenage years scribbling away in diaries hidden under lock and key about the scandalous goings’-on in our school lives, right? These days, however, journaling has seen somewhat of a resurgence and established its place as a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity – particularly when it comes to work and careers.
Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them. Journaling effectively and getting all those thoughts down on paper can do wonders for clearing your mind and making important connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviour, helping you get to know yourself better.
There are so many benefits to journaling, however we have compiled a list of six that are sure to convince you to begin journaling today.
There’s nothing more motivating than having a goal in mind that you are passionate about achieving. Whether it’s earning that promotion at work, hitting your sales target or simply keeping on top of the housework at home, committing a goal into writing means that you are holding yourself accountable for working towards this, and thus more likely to achieve it. By journaling daily about the steps, you are taking to achieving this goal, you are much less likely to procrastinate and allow yourself to waste a day.
If you aren’t sure what goal to set yourself or the milestone you’d like to reach next, journaling is also a great tool to help you realise this. Expressive writing helps you to better identify what it is that you want in different aspects of your life, allowing you to pinpoint any blocks that are stopping you from being where you want to be, such as self-doubt. Journaling helps you to realise your goals and create a realistic plan to achieving them.
Stress at work or at home can be a real barrier to productivity. A little bit of stress is a good thing, but it can soon weigh heavy on your mind. It is scientifically proven that journaling can lower blood pressure and even improve your liver functionality. Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health.
This is because journaling allows you to work through any anxious feelings and worries, giving you the tools to rationalise and manage them in a healthy way. In the same way that making a to-do list can help in organising your day or week when you feel like life is getting on top of you, jotting any thoughts down on paper – the good, bad and the ugly – releases any tension in your mind and helps you understand where it is coming from and how to tackle it.
It’s no secret that as human beings in the 21st century, we’re finding it increasingly difficult to slow down. There’s always something to be done; between balancing work, family and relationships, leisure, exercising, life admin… Taking some time in the morning or evening to sit down with your journal and reflect on the day and your mood will reduce these frenzied feelings and give you the chance to reset and reconnect.
This could be as simple as writing down three things that you enjoyed about the day or three things you are grateful for. It’s too easy to breeze through days without feeling fully present or enjoying more meaningful experiences. Journaling for self-reflection adds depth and meaning to every day, providing emotional catharsis and helping you regulate your emotions.
Helps your memory
For many people, writing things down helps their brain make a stronger connection with the information and as a result, store it more effectively. It is a core element of kinaesthetic learning. If you want to get technical about it, writing by hand stimulates a collection of cells called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The physical act of writing lets your brain know that the words that you are writing down are important.
With this in mind, journaling works wonders for keeping your memory in shape. Not only this, but it also allows you to remember the happy thoughts, goals and realisations that you are recording in your life day-to-day.
What’s not to love about being creative and expressing yourself? Being creative can add real meaning to our lives and improve our performance at work; be it problem-solving or strategizing. However, it can be difficult to connect with your creative side, particularly if this is not something that comes naturally to you. That’s not to say that it is impossible though, as everyone does have the potential to be creative somewhere inside of them.
Journaling is a really simple way to begin exploring your inner creativity. You don’t need to have structure, rhyme or reason when it comes to journaling. Simply write down what comes to mind with no inner censor and see what happens! There’s no backspace button when writing by hand and no right or wrong way to journal. Journaling regularly will flex those creative muscles, and who knows what else that could lead to?
Improves sleep quality
You know those nights where you lie in bed with a million and one thoughts circling your brain? Suddenly you remember that email you forgot to send at 3pm and the meeting you forgot to jot down in your diary. This bedtime worry can be a real hindrance to a good night’s sleep.
Research has shown that people who write to-do lists and journal about the tasks they need to complete the next day fell asleep faster than those who wrote instead about the activities that they had completed that day. By transferring those outstanding thoughts and tasks onto paper, you are letting your brain know that you can forget about them until the morning. They will be waiting for you in your journal to pick back up the next day.
Whilst journaling is by no means difficult, it can take a bit of practice in order to journal effectively. It’s often a good idea to use prompts to get your mind ticking and the thoughts rolling. If you need a little helping hand, our Notebook Mentor journals can help you.
Designed for mindful workplace journaling, our Notebook Mentors help you manage important situations at work and self-development through the art of journaling, with helpful prompts to improve your happiness and self-awareness. Shop the range here.