There are many health benefits to keeping a journal. Beyond being able to keep track of your own daily activities and feelings by writing in a journal (not to mention, improve your writing skills), there are many mental and physical health benefits to keeping a journal, even for just a few minutes a day.
“When individuals write about emotional experiences, significant physical and mental health improvements follow,” claims Dr. James W. Pennebaker, author of Writing About Emotional Experiences As a Therapeutic Process. Writing in a journal allows people to share their feelings about daily life without the worry of judgment, restriction, or ridicule.
Even just writing in a journal 15 minutes a day, about anything that you are dealing with, has a great effect on our physical and mental well-being. Stress is reduced when bottled emotions get written down on paper, relieving physical stress and clearing the mind in dealing with difficult situations. Your immune system is boosted with the lack of stress, and you find yourself sleeping better, dealing with daily upsets better, and handling unexpected life occurrences (like divorce, job loss, etc) without totally losing your mind.
When you write in a journal, and keep one regularly, you become a sounding board for yourself, finding out what is causing you to stress and worry, and keeping a journal helps you put your crazy life into perspective. Keeping a journal allows you to understand your own emotions, and the source that is causing them, and allow you to deal with all your emotions without letting them get totally out of control.
Keeping a journal can help you be smarter, too. Dr. Kitty Klein, a psychologist out of North Carolina State University, according to penzu.com, has found that people who keep a daily journal have stronger memory and concentration skills as they are stressing less and getting their frustrations out on paper. People who keep a journal tend to have up to 11% better memory when getting their negative emotions out on paper, and a 4.5% memory increase when they are writing of something positive, and a 2.5% increase in cognitive memory by just writing in journals in general. This was a study performed on students of the college, and the results of the findings were reflected in the students’ grades.
Writing about something traumatic, such as a car accident or divorce, or death in the family, is a great way to overcome the event of your life that has caused you stress and help you cope with it better by keeping a daily journal. Dr. Pennebaker claims that keeping a journal allows you to find a job faster after losing one, and can help you romantically as well. In, once again, writing down your emotions, you are able to overcome job loss and a breakup more quickly and come to terms with how things are, and plan a motion to move forward in life. Who knew there was so much to keeping a journal?
personal use of a journal
penzu.com ( for both Dr. Klein’s study and Dr. Pennebaker quotations)