Journaling…ain’t nobody got time for that right? WRONG! See, that’s what I used to think—that I just didn’t have time to journal, but the truth of the matter is that you really do have time, you just have to make it. Journaling does wonders for the soul. It is a written record of your life. It is an heirloom. Have you ever seen Bridges of Madison County? Her children would have NEVER known about her life and her deepest desires and love without the legacy of her journals—her stories would have died with her.
I have multiple journals for multiple things, but that’s because I’m extremely Type A and I like all of my stuff to be organized into categories (you should see my planner, LOL). I have a journal for meditative experiences. I have a journal for daily gratitude and affirmations. My planner also acts as a journal of sorts, as it is keeping a record of my experiences. In a technology day and age, it’s easy to forget about ye old pen and paper, but the truth of the matter is, there are intellectual and physical benefits to physically writing your thoughts down.
First, journaling/writing has the ability to up the ante on your IQ. “A hot topic, but strong cases support the ability to change your IQ. A report by the University of Victoria noted that ‘Writing as part of language learning has a positive correlation with intelligence.’ Journaling is an exploration of language, you’ll have the natural urge to search for new words and increase your vocabulary. The report goes on to say, ‘One of the best single measures of overall intelligence as measured by intelligence tests is vocabulary.’”
Next, you are more apt to achieve goals by writing them down. “Journaling often includes your dreams and ambitions, yet the idea that scribbled words can help achieve goals is understandably fanciful. But consider building a house without a blueprint. That makes more sense. Writing goals signals to your brain ‘this is important.’ Your reticular activating system (RAS) then flags relevant opportunities and tools to achieve that goal. More detailed goals provide a psychological blueprint, and increases the likelihood of achieving them.”
Third, writing can help boost the brain’s memory, allowing for more easily recollected ideas and thoughts. “There’s a unique relationship between the hand and brain, sparked by the composition of thoughts and ideas. Words are representations of ideas; the formation of letters and causes the mind to compose or re-compose ideas while journaling. This strengthens previously covered information and forces you to engage in cognitive recall.”
Fourth, writing ultimately improves your verbal communication skills. “’Writing has critical connections to speaking’ according to a Stanfordreport. Journaling is a form of written communication, albeit to oneself. Nonetheless, the subvocalization of tracing your written thoughts naturally translates in actual vocalization.”
Finally, the last but not least benefit that I will write about today is the healing benefits, which is why I personally partake in journaling my experiences. I do not want to be body by chains to my traumas. I want to release them, and whether it be actually releasing them or symbolically releasing them, writing acts as a coping and healing mechanism for me. “’Expressive writing is a route to healing — emotionally, physically, and psychologically.’ Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal has seen improved immune function in participants of writing exercises. Stress often comes from emotional blockages, and overthinking hypotheticals. He explains, ‘When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.’ And in doing so, you free yourself from mentally being tangled in traumas.
If you have never journaled before in your past, I encourage you to give it a go. At the very least, it could offer insight into your life both for you and for the people you eventually leave behind when we pass on through to the otherside. You may receive a benefit from journaling that you never knew was possible. In everything in life, go into it with an open mind. “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung
Love and light to you, always.