10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Journaling

When it comes to keeping a journal, we quickly think of the stereotypical “Dear diary, reserved for the emotional high-schooler or awkward recluse. Others see writing merely as a pragmatic tool, overlooking any value in keeping a journal. But science continues to dissolve skepticism—for those who are sitting on the fence, here are 10 researched-based benefits to encourage you to start journaling:

1. Stretching Your IQ

Journaling has the ability to improve your IQ. A report by the University of Victoria noted that “Writing as part of language-learning has a positive correlation with intelligence.”

Journaling is an exploration of language, you’ll have the natural urge to search for new words and increase your vocabulary. The report goes on to say, “One of the best single measures of overall intelligence as measured by intelligence tests is vocabulary.”

2. Evoking Mindfulness

It’s the buzz-word for good reason. There’s a strong connection between happiness and mindfulness. Journaling brings you into that state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment.  It calls a wandering mind to attention, from passivity to actively engaging with your thoughts.

3. Achieving Goals

Journaling includes writing out your dreams and ambitions. While the idea that scribbled words will help you achieve your goals seems fanciful, just consider building a house without a blueprint.

Writing goals signals to your brain, “this is important to me!” Your reticular activating system (RAS) then flags relevant opportunities and tools to achieve your specific goal. Detailed goals provide a psychological blueprint and increases the likelihood of achieving them.

4. Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to manage your own emotions and empathize with the emotions of others. Journaling—writing out what and how you are feeling, increases self-awareness. This internal familiarity becomes a bridge of empathy, you’ll better intuit and understand what others are experiencing.

Being able to get on the same page with someone is a mark of emotional intelligence and allows for a much deeper connection.

5. Boosting Memory & Comprehension 

There’s a unique relationship between the hand and brain; that link is sparked and strengthened when you come up with new thoughts and ideas. Words are representations of ideas; so when you are writing words, your mind composes these ideas while journaling. This strengthens your memory and cognitive recall.

6. Strengthen Your Self-Discipline

Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. And discipline begets discipline. Like a muscle, the more you exercise your brain, the stronger it becomes. And habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread; keeping your office clean leads to keeping the bedroom tidy. Your daily practice of writing will domino onto other healthy habits.

7. Improve Communication Skills

“Writing has critical connections to speaking” according to a Stanford report. Journaling is a form of written communication, albeit to yourself. The subvocalization of your written thoughts will translate into actual vocalization. You are practicing what you want to be saying.

Use journaling to work on tidying up your written communication in order to see benefits in your verbal communication.

8. Healing  

Expressive writing helps improve your emotional, physical, and psychological health. Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal has shown that people who journal have improved immune function. Stress often comes from emotional blockages and being tied up in your thoughts. Dr. Pennebaker explains, “When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.” And in doing so, you free yourself from mentally being tangled in traumas.

Studies have also shown that the emotional release from journaling lowers anxiety, stress, and induces better sleep.

9. Spark Your Creativity

Julia Cameron’s journaling exercise, called the “Morning Pages,” has been praised as a panacea for unlocking creativity. Our struggle isn’t whether we’re creative, it’s how to let it flow.

Her powerful tool is simply to write without thinking, “stream of consciousness” writing. Stream of consciousness writing brings out thoughts and ideas you never knew you had in you and loosens up your expressive muscles. She recommends three pages, done first thing in the morning.

If you start doing just one page as part of your journaling practice, you’ll be able to get your creative juices flowing.

10. Self-Confidence

Journaling about a positive experience allows your brain to relive it. It’ll help give you a boost of confidence when the ugly head of self-doubt appears. The release of endorphins and dopamine will boost your self-esteem and mood. These reflections can become a catalog of personal achievements that you continue to revisit.

As you work to incorporate journaling into your life, remember that the elephant is best eaten one bite at a time. Patience and consistency are crucial in forming new habits. Start with journaling  3 days a week, first thing in the morning or before sleeping.

28 Responses to “10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Journaling”

  1. March 22, 2015

    SS Reply

    Where and how do we fit this into our day? I’ve tried to incorporate journaling into my every day for a while but always unsuccessfully. Any tips?

    • April 6, 2015

      [email protected] Reply

      Hi SS,

      Creating new habits can be challenging. I’ve found giving yourself “pre-commitments” can be helpful — start off with something small like every morning 15 minutes for 7 days, and then build your way up from there.

      Thai.

  2. April 2, 2015

    Dawn Herring Reply

    Thai,
    I read a lot of articles and blog posts about journal keeping as host of #JournalChat Live, but I just love the detailed benefits you show here that truly cover many life dimensions. My favorites, which I personally experience, are the mindfulness quotient leading us to be in the present moment more often, emotional intelligence which can increase the quality of our relationships, as well as being able to recall things more readily. It amazes me how my body can respond in a healing fashion by doing something I enjoy so much.

    I have chosen your post, 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get from Keeping a Journal, as Dawn’s #JournalChat Favorite on 4/2/15. I will share a link on social media, on my website and in my monthly Refresh Journal.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for journaling.
    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

    (I originally attempted to comment on the Huffington Post article but ran into technical issues.)

    • April 6, 2015

      [email protected] Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Dawn. I’m honored that you’ll be featuring my post. Send me a link if you’re able and I can also share on social media.

  3. […] finally a rousing article from theutopianlife.com, about the 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Journaling. I heard Nathan’s interview with Thai Nguyen in his podcast on his site, Write4Life and I was […]

  4. […] in life. Negative scripts and doubt will enter your storyline, and need to be replaced. Adopt a journaling practice. Regular reflection on your narrative will ensure you keep editing it in a way that empowers you to […]

  5. […] in life. Negative scripts and doubt will enter your storyline, and need to be replaced. Adopt a journaling practice. Regular reflection on your narrative will ensure you keep editing it in a way that empowers you to […]

  6. […] in life. Negative scripts and doubt will enter your storyline, and need to be replaced. Adopt a journaling practice. Regular reflection on your narrative will ensure you keep editing it in a way that empowers you to […]

  7. […] in life. Negative scripts and doubt will enter your storyline, and need to be replaced. Adopt a journaling practice. Regular thoughtfulness on your account will safeguard we keep modifying it in a approach that […]

  8. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think […]

  9. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? […]

  10. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? […]

  11. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think […]

  12. January 12, 2016

    Dan Neamtu Reply

    Love it! after all is easy to keep a jurnal, it’s about self discipline, like point 6. Cheers!

  13. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think […]

  14. […] of well-researched articles listing the many benefits of positive journaling, like this one, this one, and this one. I appreciate the fact there is real science and documented results behind the […]

  15. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think […]

  16. […] in life. Negative scripts and doubt will enter your storyline, and need to be replaced. Adopt a journaling practice. Regular reflection on your narrative will ensure you keep editing it in a way that empowers you to […]

  17. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think […]

  18. […] a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think […]

  19. […] regularly originates from enthusiastic blockages, and overthinking hypotheticals. He clarifies, How writing helps in self-improvement “When we make an interpretation of an ordeal into dialect we basically […]

  20. […] a gratitude journal and read it when you need a boost of positivity. You could include anything from being grateful for […]

  21. May 23, 2017

    Paige Henderson Reply

    I loved reading this article! It made me realize that I, myself should begin a journal. It will help me with my overall goal of achieving happiness, peace, and hope in life.

  22. […] is 100% you. And there’s something beautiful about that. Let your creativity out and write as a form of therapy. Just like reading takes you into another world, writing does the same thing. Talk about a cheap […]

  23. June 23, 2017

    SeraPelle Reply

    I am continuously looking online for tips that can facilitate me.
    Thank you!

  24. […] a gratitude journal and read it when you need a boost of positivity. You could include anything from being grateful for […]

  25. […] is 100% you. And there’s something beautiful about that. Let your creativity out and write as a form of therapy. Just like reading takes you into another world, writing does the same thing. Talk about a cheap […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*