Keeping a journal can be beneficial in so many ways! The best benefit? It can help you be happier, overall. How, you ask? Well, there are quite a few ways that journaling can boost your happiness.
There are a lot of benefits journal writing provides. Need to be more organized? Check. Want to work through your emotions in a healthy manner? Do you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results? Journaling will reveal those patterns!
Keeping a journal will help you track so many aspects of your life all in one place. It’s almost like going to therapy, (without the huge bill). If you’re looking for a simple way to better yourself, give journaling a try! Here are just some ways that journal writing can make you happier:
Journaling builds on the most important relationship in your life – the one you have with yourself.
The relationship that most of us neglect the most is the one we have with ourselves. It may sound weird, but it’s true. Think about it. How many times have you put yourself down internally? We tend to be super hard on ourselves, engaging in negative self talk and battling self doubt. If you’re like me – you have periods where you’re your own biggest critic.
Journaling can help you cut back on negative thoughts and feelings you have about yourself. It also allows you to clearly define your goals, what makes you happy, what stresses you out and how you deal with all of life’s obstacles.
Journal writing can help you work through self doubt, improve your self esteem and highlight the good parts of ourselves that we otherwise may neglect. Self reflection is a pretty powerful thing. It’s even more powerful when we are able to quiet our inner critic and learn how to be our very own cheerleader.
A few Self-Confidence Building Journal Prompts:
- Write about what you consider to be your best quality. How has having this quality improved your life? Where would you be if you didn’t have this quality? How can you build on this special quality you have?
- Write a love letter to yourself. (Yes, this sounds cheesy as hell. However, it’s important to appreciate yourself and focus on your positive qualities.)
- Write about a time when you made a difference in someone else’s life.
- Write about something you’ve overcome.
- How do you think others really see you? Write about yourself from the POV of another person. *This is an excellent confidence building exercise.
Helps you be more “in touch” with your Emotions
Emotions can be confusing sometimes. Why do we react to certain emotions the way we do? If you keep a journal, you will begin to notice certain emotional triggers that elicit a specific response. Through journal writing, you can identify how your emotions impact that way you do things. Also, you can note what emotional responses are negative and how you can make them more positive.
Nerd Tip: A simple way to track your emotional responses to certain “triggers” or situations is to make a cheesy little chart. Use emojis and write down the instances that lead you to feel that emotion.
Allows you to Track Patterns
We all do things differently, but sometimes the way we do things isn’t beneficial. Keeping a journal can help you track patterns that aren’t necessarily working for you. Maybe you use a poor coping mechanism for certain aspects of your life. Perhaps you’re using a system that isn’t working when it comes to work, exercise or your personal life.
Lots of people use their journals to track the progress of specific goals. You can use a journal to track which methods increase your productivity.
Example: I was poorly coping with a loss and I found that instead of mourning that loss, I was using anger to cope. At the time, it didn’t seem so obvious but it became crystal clear when I was tracking my coping process in a journal. After I realized I was screwing myself over behaving that way, I was able to properly mourn.
Improves Problem Solving
This versus that. Which way is best? Journaling can help you improve your problem solving skills immensely.
We tend to encounter similar problems throughout our lives. By using a “this versus that” method, you can easily see which problem solving techniques are best!
A Journal Exercise: Write down problems you’re facing right now on 1 side of the page. On the other side of the page, write down which ways you have tried, or want to try to solve the problem. Track the “this versus that” using that journal page.
We all get stressed out. It’s really how we handle the stress that makes or breaks us. Writing down the causes of your stress, as well as how you are trying to manage it will actually reduce the stress you’re experiencing. The adage is true that sometimes, “we just need to get it off of our chests.” Well, writing it down is a form of release, and one of the easiest means of stress reduction.
Free writing in your journal is a great way to get all of that stress out on a page. Some refer to these as “Rant Pages.” Go wild.
Can Improve your Relationships with others
There are issues in even the strongest relationships. Are you communicating effectively? Do you handle constructive criticism poorly? (I used to).
Maybe you’re neglecting a relationship with someone who is important to you. Feeding our connections with other people is super important. You can use the journal as a reminder to reach out to old friends, have a good talk with a family member or plan ahead outings with people who are important to you.
You can even write about circumstances where an issue occurred in one of your relationships and find the best way to resolve it.
It’s a “Safe” Writing Place, for your eyes only
If you’re a writer who displays your writing publicly, having a journal can be a very freeing experience. The grammar Nazis can’t attack what they can’t see. Plus, it’s a place where you can be as brutally honest as you want to without the risk of hurt feelings.
Journaling can Enhance your Creativity
A journal is an awesome place to keep track of your ideas, especially if you’re a creative. Have a good idea? Write it down.
Use journal prompts that help spark your creativity. Write down those random thoughts that could benefit you or someone else. Let the creativity flow freely, again without the risk of others seeing it if you don’t want them to.
*And remember, doodling and drawing aren’t off limits. Use color. Go nuts. Flex those creative muscles on the page.
I used to have a phrase that I pulled out anytime someone commented on how disorganized I was. The horrid phrase: I strive in chaos. (Man, I was an asshole).
Truth is, I read a study in college stating that disorganized people are more intelligent & creative and I bought what they were selling – hard. I mean, I’m certainly not Littlefinger from GOT and chaos doesn’t really work for anyone. It’s a stressor!
When I dove head first into organization, everything seemed to just flow better throughout the day. A file cabinet was one of the best investments I’ve made.
Journal writing can help you be more organized because your thoughts will be more organized.
Speeds up Emotional Healing
Journaling is an excellent way to cope with difficult times. Writing out our true feelings will help you delve through those emotions.
Like having a therapy session, you can let loose of all those tangled emotions. This will help you heal emotionally much faster than just “dealing with it”, as people love to say.
Journaling is a Big Deal when it comes to Personal Growth
Through a journal you can track the progress of your goals, celebrate personal victories and acknowledge when you’re doing something wrong. As individuals, we never stop learning or growing. A journal can be an outlet to expand on that growth and learning.
Some Topics to Journal about that will aid in personal growth:
- Life Experiences
- New Things Learned
- Empowering Moments (Prompts: Write about your most empowering moment.)
- Personal Values (These can change over time. Write about it).
- Dream Journaling (Creativity exercise).
- Significant Memories
- Failures & Victories
Journal Writing is immensely beneficial.
There are tons of ways to use journal writing to make you happier overall. It’s a healthy practice. Get creative with the ways you use your journal! I’ll be adding a post on all the exercises you can do in your journal to improve various aspects of your life 🙂
Until then, here are some journal prompts to get you started:
In what ways do you use your journal? What do you think is the most beneficial way you use a journal? Let me know in the comments 🙂