Writing is good for your health. People use many forms of writing to heal their minds and hearts. Writing poetry and keeping a journal are a couple of the best ways to use writing to better your life.

It’s basically free therapy!

What Is a Journal?

First of all, a diary is different than a journal. While you can sometimes find these words used interchangeably, they are completely different things.

In a diary, you usually write about your experiences. In a journal, you get deeper.

Journals are a place where you will record how you feel, reflect on the day and things that you experienced, and keep track of thoughts. It’s a place you’ll record your wishes, your dreams, your nightmares, and your deepest secrets, and fears.

Benefits of Journaling

Journals are great for your mental health. In fact, if you’re in therapy, your therapist may have suggested you keep a journal. Even if they haven’t, it’s a good idea to start one.

Journaling can help you with anxiety issues; it can help you reduce stress, it can even help you fight depression.

Here are a few ways in which journaling will benefit your health:

1. Allows You to Express Your Feelings

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand your feelings when you keep them locked up inside. You may not feel like you can share all of your feelings with another person. Journaling allows you to write down your feelings and emotions.

Once they’re in your journal, you can analyze them and try to figure out what is causing these thoughts or the emotions you’re struggling with. By getting them on paper, you get them out of your head, so they can stop haunting you.

2. Gain a Better Understanding of Yourself

As you write you’ll start to get to know yourself better. You may realize you’re a more positive person than you thought, or that you already have the tools you need to be happier.

As you write about yourself and the people in your life, you’ll also get to know your friends and family better. You’ll find out who is connected to certain emotions, and some may be connected to bad emotions.

3. Increase Problem Solving Skills

Journaling allows you to work on some creative problem-solving. As you learn how to deal with your emotions and you learn more about yourself, you’ll better be able to analyze your life and make the changes that need to be made. It’s also a great way to understand others better, as you learn that all people see and experience things differently.

4. Helps You Relax

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, writing your feelings down can help you relax.

Journaling is also a great way to fight insomnia. Write down the things that keep you awake at night. You can look at them again in the morning and figure out how to fix things after a good night’s sleep.

How to Get Started Journaling

If you’re ready to start journaling, you need a pen and some paper. A simple notepad will work great. Set aside some time each day to write. Just write about your day, your feelings, what you’ve been through, and what’s on your mind.

You may find that having some specific questions to answer or some writing prompts to inspire you will push you to write more or make it easier to come up with some topics.

Here are some prompts that might help:

  • How are you feeling today? Describe any emotions you’ve felt today, whether they were provoked by a certain event or not.
  • Write about your passions. Are you pursuing these passions? How is it going? If you’re not, why not?
  • How Do you feel about your career? How do you feel about your relationships, romantic or otherwise? Are you worried about how people feel about you? Why do their feelings mean so much to you?
  • Don’t just write about bad things. Take some time to list things you’re grateful for each day, no matter how small. What made you smile today?
  • If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, write about it. What caused these feelings? How are these emotions affecting you?
  • Write down your dreams. Write about the dreams you have when you’re sleeping or the daydreams you experience when you wish you were someone else, worked somewhere else, or lived somewhere else.

Each of these things is important in helping you learn about yourself. Each of these things will help you learn more about yourself and the world around you.

Now Start Writing

The key to getting the benefits of the journaling experience is to make sure you’re writing in your journal as often as possible.

Keep your journal near you no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Or have a few notebooks you use for journaling spread around the locations you spend the most time in – i.e. your nightstand, your car, your work desk, etc.

Happy journaling!