Did you ever keep a diary as a child? If so, you can probably recall how freeing it was to share your thoughts about your day, write about your dream jobs and make lists of things you loved.

Turns out, journalling is therapeutic. It’s also a mindful activity you can fit into a busy schedule.

Some people use journals for gratitude, while others use them for goal-setting or to vent. I’ve used journaling for all three of these purposes, and each time, I’ve ended up with more peace of mind and more clarity about myself, other people and situations.

It’s the free-flowing nature of journaling that’s so beneficial, because it’s a private activity during which you don’t have to censor yourself or worry about being judged. I think that in those honest, private moments with your journal, you can dive deep and get a lot of insight into yourself and your life.

There are many more benefits that come with the practice of journaling, and I’ll explain what I’ve found to be five of the most important ones below.

 Attaining clarity 

A little while ago, I was feeling unsure about a decision I had to make. There really was no wrong or right answer, and everyone I asked said they didn’t know what they would do, either.

My sister suggested journaling, and I decided to give that a try. Through journaling, I realized how I truly felt about the decision, and which side I was leaning towards. I already knew the answer; I just hadn’t given myself the necessary space and time to think about it.

It can be hard for us to put thoughts and feelings into concrete, spoken words when we’re feeling conflicted, but sometimes, writing them down can help us clarify them.

Finding solutions to problems

journalWriting provides us with the best of both worlds: logic and creativity. Activities like brainstorming, clustering, mind-mapping and list-making are some of the most useful tools when it comes to thinking up ideas and solutions.

I’m a fan of the pros and cons list, because this gets me to weigh both sides of an issue equally instead of letting myself focus on only the pros. Journaling also provides you with quiet space to think, in which you’re not inundated by outside thoughts and opinions.

Gaining self-insight

There’s nothing like jotting down your goals, dreams and memories to pinpoint what it is that makes you happy and fulfilled.

Since using The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration, I’ve gained more insight into what I want, what makes me happy and what I treasure. Furthermore, you’re more likely to achieve your goals and dreams if you write them down on a consistent basis. When I flipped back to my list of goals, I was surprised to find that I’d achieved quite a few of them!

Experiencing reflective time

frog with reflectionJournaling gives you that much-needed reflective time that many of us desire. I found journaling invaluable when I travelled, because it served as a reminder of all the key points and experiences of the trip.

Writing about special events and milestones in a journal creates a great keepsake and reminds you that life is beautiful. Similarly, writing about what you’re grateful for encourages gratitude and happiness.

Venting emotions  

Finally, journaling is an effective outlet for our emotions. A journal is a personal space to vent and express anger, confusion, sadness and more.

Working through these intense emotions can be difficult, but letting them out in a healthy, productive and non-confrontational way will give you a sense of release and calmness. And in some ways, I think it’ll even offer you some objectivity and detachment from these emotions, making you realize that you have more power over them than you previously thought.

Some journaling ideas

Everyone has their own individual schedule and way of writing. If you like more structured journals or ones that require less time commitment, a few good ones to try are:

If you prefer more of a free-flowing style but need inspiration, there are many journal writing prompts on Pinterest, and many professional development personalities will offer free PDF versions of their journal prompts.

Some people journal first thing in the morning as part of a morning routine, while others journal right before bed. Whichever time you choose, though, I hope that you find journaling to be a therapeutic, insightful and clarifying experience!

«RELATED READ» FOR MY EYES ONLY: The challenges of writing meaningfully in a diary or journal»

Angela Ward is a communications professional and writer with an interest in personal development, mindful living and environmental protection. You can find her on Twitter.

image 1 Pixabay 2 Pixabay