Why You Should Start Keeping a Daily Journal

Many people have a daily calendar to keep track of their plans, appointments or to-do lists. But fewer of us keep a journal. That’s a shame. Writing a journal not only allows you to look back on a record of your old thoughts, but it also helps you process emotions, get out stress and work through problems. Many studies have shown that keeping a journal improves mental and physical health.

While you most likely think that this period isn’t one you’ll want to revisit, now is the best time to start writing a diary — if only to get it out of your system. Keeping a journal has been shown to lower anxiety’s physical symptoms and improve people’s stress management. If you have been having problems getting through the day, writing out your worries and experiences might be a free form of therapy. That can also help you sleep if you have been feeling restless at night. In addition to the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, people who kept journals during a study got fewer colds.

It also helps you learn. When you write things down, you may see a pattern evolve. Has talking to someone specific been very stressful? Has an activity repeatedly worn you down? Can you avoid those actions in the future? Journaling helps you make new plans as you learn from your own behavior from taking a step back.

As well as helping you let go of things by writing something down and then moving on from it, you can also do the exact opposite on purpose. If you write a list every day of the good things you have and why they are great, you can boost your wellbeing. Instead of focusing exclusively on the rough parts, write about what’s going well. What are your blessings and hopes? What makes you happy? What are your goals, and how will you reach them? You can reread them when things get rough and remind yourself of what you have to be pleased about!

If everything is overwhelming and you don’t want to add another thing to your day, don’t worry, do a bullet point journal. It doesn’t have to be thoughts or a story of your day. It could be about the highlights of your day, your goals or your to-do list. Just writing a few things out can make you feel more organized and clearer.

Finally, while you think that this might be a time you never want to remember, you might find in a few years you can’t remember something that happened and want to. We’re going through history. You might want a record of what happened and how you felt. When things come at you as fast as they have this year, it’s hard to take it all in. Remember the Australian wildfires in January? It seems like a decade ago. Writing these things down now means that you have it if you do want a reminder later. And, if you don’t, you had a tool to manage stress while it occurs.  

Banner image: Jess Bailey via Unsplash

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