The Power of Journaling

Journaling is a practice that has become increasingly popular as awareness of its benefits grows. Simply put, it is writing down thoughts and feelings regularly, usually daily, to help the writer to understand and process emotions. It is often likened to a more modern version of keeping a diary and is something that everyone can easily do, reaping the positive mental health benefits that come from reflecting on the day.

What are the benefits of journaling?

It may come as a surprise that there are quite so many benefits to journaling but the power of writing down thoughts and feelings to clear the mind should not be underestimated.

  • Helps to practice gratitude

Taking time to appreciate the successes of the day and celebrate these positives can increase life satisfaction and allow people to focus on what they have, opposed to what they lack. In turn, this helps to appreciate the good and alleviate negative thoughts.

  • Time to focus on the self

Dedicating just five minutes a day to sitting down somewhere comfortable and quiet to journal is a great way for people to take time for themselves. It’s also an opportunity to step away from screens and technology and really disconnect from work and the world around to focus on self-awareness and reflection.

  • Improves mental health and wellbeing

Journaling has the potential to significantly improve mental health and allows people to manage their symptoms effectively. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by helping people to manage their feelings and improve memory, aid stress relief, increase optimism and improve general mood.

  • Assists with problem-solving

Writing can help to address problems and overcome them by breaking them down and making them seem more manageable. This enables people to think more clearly and tackle issues without feeling overwhelmed.

  • Benefits creativity and writing skills

Finally, journaling is also a practice that prompts and enhances creativity and allows for development of writing skills, both of which can aid performance at work. People in busy roles often have a million things going through their minds, but journaling can help consolidate these thoughts, set goals and foster clear thinking.

Tips for effective journaling

In order to get the most out of journaling, it’s important to write somewhere relaxing to optimise focus. For it to be most effective, people should get into the habit of writing every day or as regularly as possible. Always keeping the journal to hand means that it’s possible to write down thoughts throughout the day. Some people may choose to have a digital journal, for example, on their phone, which means it is always with them if they want to note something down.

The Centre for Journal Therapy offers the following tips for journaling:

  • W – What do you want to write about? What’s going on? How do you feel? What are you thinking about?
  • R – Review or reflect on it.
  • I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing. Follow the pen or keyboard. If you get stuck or run out of juice, close your eyes and re-centre yourself. Re-read what you’ve already written and continue writing.
  • T – Time yourself. Write for 5-15 minutes. Write the start time and the projected end time at the top of the page or set a timer on your phone.
  • E – Exit start by re-reading what you’ve written and reflecting on it in a sentence or two at a time. Note any action steps to take.

There are many benefits of journaling and the list goes on. WRKIT’s POWR platform has a reflect feature that provides prompt questions to get people started on the road to reflection and get in tune with thoughts and feelings to improve wellbeing.