Years ago the ritual of journal writing or keeping a diary was common. Today few people recognize the power and profound benefits behind this practice. In the field of psychology, journal writing is considered to be one of the key ingredients to making true behavioral change. It is often said that, “If you can track it, you can change it.”
Psychologists often tell their patients to keep track of:
- Dreams if they are looking to gain greater personal clarity
- Everything you eat if you are trying to manage your weight or an eating disorder
- Mood swings if you are trying to control a mood disorder
- Sleep habits if you want to control your sleep patterns
- Whatever you feel grateful for if you want to experience more gratitude and happiness in your life
Keeping a journal requires only a notebook and a writing implement and you are ready to go. One of the most essential features of keeping a journal is to create consistency in your recordings. It does not have to be daily but frequency does help to establish your journal writing as a habit. Journal writing need not be time-consuming. Ten minutes a day for six weeks and you will notice the dramatic effects.
The Ten Benefits of Journal Writing
- Helps to clarify your goals and dreams
- Fosters awareness about your personal life and the world around you
- Allows you to think through your actions and minimize impulsiveness
- Clarifies the roles of the important players in your life
- Improves the ability to control strong emotions, as you have already expressed them on paper
- Allows you to understand more clearly developments in your relationships
- Develops your writing skills which facilitates other writing projects
- Keeps you company wherever you go
- Creates an opportunity to settle down
- Reduces stress, improves coping abilities and feelings of happiness
Any day is a perfect day to begin writing in your journal. It usually takes six weeks for a habit to form. After that you will probably find the ritual of journal writing quite compelling and gratifying.
What benefits do you derive from keeping a journal?