I’m kind of scared to journal. What a strange statement from someone who has lectured around the world about courage! It ends up that many people don’t start journaling because they don’t think they can sustain it. No problem! Don’t plan to sustain it. Just get started and see if it’s worth sustaining (spoiler alert: it usually is!).
Here are some benefits of journaling:
- Journaling helps your mental health. Regular writing gives your emotions and stresses an effective outlet. It gives you room to consider different things or situations without judgment. Research shows that writing about traumatic or stressful events even for short periods of time can help people deal with the pain.
- Journaling keeps the creative juices flowing. You never know the ideas that spark inside your brain while you’re writing. Julia Cameron banks on journaling as a way to unleash your creativity by writing three pages everyday about anything that’s on your mind.
- Journaling helps you achieve your goals. A journal can double as a to-do list or as a dream book. Reviewing your goals regularly can actually help you achieve them faster. Reading, considering and rewriting your goals help them sink into your subconscious mind—which will help you achieve them!
- Journaling improves self-discipline. Setting aside time to write everyday—even for just a few minutes—is a form of discipline! The more you do it, the better you get at it. Forming a habit of journaling can lead to forming other positive habits.
- Journaling helps you keep learning. Research from the University of Victoria shares that writing has a positive correlation with intelligence. Since journaling helps you explore language and communication, your vocabulary and knowledge also levels up. Journaling exercises your thoughts and memories too.
And guess what? It doesn’t have to be hard! Harvard Business Review walks through easy ways to begin your journaling habit:
- Get a journal. Get a real notebook where you can write by hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to be paper, if you are going to get the benefits of slowing down and becoming more contemplative. Writing online will not give you the same benefits!
- Commit at least a few minutes in a quiet place. The goal is 15, but if that is too long, start with 3-5 minutes. Preferably make it about the same time every day. Most important is finding a time slot that works for you.
- Write about whatever is on your mind. Keep the words flowing! Write about anything—your thoughts, questions, or feelings! Don’t worry about using the right words, or the perfect grammar... just write.
- Keep it private unless you really want to share it. This is for you.
The HBR article linked above has a few more or tips on how to get started, such as questions you can ask yourself or topics you can explore.
Excited for you to get started,