Dear Diary: 5 Benefits of Writing in a Journal

I’ve had an interest in journaling ever since I was a kid. I loved the idea of having a space for me to engage with myself and explore my emotions and thoughts because, well, I had a lot. I was always real garbage at keeping a journal though because it flared up my insecurity about my handwriting, or I would miss a bunch of days and fall off the wagon. Nevertheless, I’m back to journaling, and I’m feeling, like, way better about it this time.

Between now and my last journaling kick, I took a class about writing about personal experience where we actually explored journaling styles in depth. It helped me face my concerns and anxieties towards journaling, so I’m excited to have finally picked up my journal again.

I’ve always found journaling to ultimately have a positive impact on my mental health. It does so much to help me I want to make more of a commitment to keeping my journal. I think it’d be bananas not to when I look at the benefits.

Declutter Your Mind

You know when you have something on your mind – a situation, a person, an idea – and your mind keeps playing it? I find that writing these things down helps you process them and work through what you’re actually thinking. What you may be thinking about is sort of all over the place in your head, but writing about it in your journal can help you sort it and make it clearer.

Make Your Emotions Tangible

If you’re anxious or are prone to letting your emotions take over, inhibiting your ability to function or think, journaling is an excellent way to start managing them. Similar to the first benefit in that you can sort your thoughts, I find that writing my feelings down makes them a real thing. Not that they aren’t real and valid already, but I think seeing my emotions on a page and being able to touch the way I feel is a different experience. It makes me feel like I’ve moved those feelings (in some small way) out of my mind and body to help me not let them consume me.

Preserve Your Memories

I go back and read entries I’ve written every time I come back to journaling or finish a journal. I think there is something real special about reliving different moments of your life. It’s an experience to be transported to a different time through your own words. The details that have faded away, the times your entirely forgot, the people that mattered, the moments that hadn’t come to be. It’s a tangible way of traveling through your own timeline.

Authenticity of the Emotional Moment

You can’t hide from yourself. When you read your journal entries, you taste the honest emotions. The devastating heartbreaks, the nasty fights, the joys of friendship, the hearts you draw next to a new crush’s name. It can be a good or a bad thing to re-expose yourself to your past, but you can’t deny how raw and authentic it is. Reading your own account of your life brings back those emotions in a way unlike any other.

See How You’ve Grown and How Far You’ve Come

I’m not where I was in my journal last year, the year before, or the years before that. We are constantly progressing through our lives, growing and developing into different individuals with each passing day. Writing in a journal allows you to to not only relive your past but realize how distant you are from it. You can see your maturity, passion, and development budding through each page to culminate into you. You can relive your fondest memories and be proud of yourself for making it through the aches your pages heard.