In this post, we will explore the benefits of writing a journal.
Coming up in this post:
Benefits of writing a journal:
- Boosts creativity and allows you to keep a record of your ideas
- Organising thoughts, clarity and congruence
- Self- Reflection
- Increases gratitude and life satisfaction
- Recording dreams
- Allows you to create goals and track your progress
- Relieve Stress and improves mental health
- Enhances psychological and physical health
- Help people living with Dementia
- Create/ record life story
- Allows the writer in you to surface
- The Reliving app
There are many reasons why you may decide to write in a daily diary. It could be for keeping a daily record of your life story, as a way to set and track your goals, or to self- reflect and have a private place to record your thoughts and feelings.
Using one or a more of these journaling techniques brings fantastic benefits to the-self. Let’s explore these benefits in more detail:
Writing a daily journal is your personal space to record your inner thoughts and feelings. Once you have a consistent routine of writing in place, you’ll find that you find it easier to express your feelings and access new ideas to talk about.
Through a daily habit of writing with introspection, subconsciously you will begin to look out for ideas throughout the day. Before you realise it you’ll be accessing your creative side naturally. Adding new ideas, thoughts and actions to your daily recordings.
This is especially true for digital journals.
Having your journal on a smartphone app means you can jot down your ideas on the go, wherever you are.
Having a place to revisit and reflect on your ideas is important as it could foster new ideas, remind you of past ideas and even form links and conclusions between ideas.
Writingcooperative.com suggests to increase ideas you should think about the following 3 questions every time you journal:
- “What’s on my mind?”
- “What skills am I developing?”
- “What would I like to learn?”
Writing about your thoughts and feelings enables you to process your emotions. When writing honestly, you’ll be able to find the answer to why something made you feel a certain way.
Daily writing over a long period of time will allow you to see patterns or irregularities in your life that can contribute to making you feel a certain way.
You’ll be able to reflect on your life and see clearly what changes you need to make for self-improvement, that otherwise, you may have never recognised.
Journaling allows you to slow down the fast-pace of daily life and take a moment to be mindful of how you are in the moment. Being mindful and present is a great tool to prevent anxiety and stress about the future.
Being able to stop and analyse your day will enable you to make the right changes for your life.
Ask yourself at the end of each day.
- What am I grateful for?
- What 3 things did I do today that made me feel good?
- What could I have done differently today?
Being able to self-reflect and answer these daily questions will allow you to make better decisions in the future, have more gratitude and be on the right path to who you want to be.
People are always searching for more. We live in a society today that is constantly throwing ads in our faces and telling us we need this, we need that. Even with social media, a digital profile is measured largely by what someone owns or is experiencing. This leads to unintentional comparison to our own life and experiences.
Writing daily to be thankful and reflecting on positive things throughout your day is a great way to have satisfaction and appreciation. It’s a great stepping stone to analyse what you’d like to keep in your life and change what you’re unhappy with.
Dream recording is a surprising part of journaling that allows you to tap into your subconscious mind. Your dreams can reveal stresses or worries of your subconscious that you may not be aware of.
Recording dreams has a whole list of benefits to the self
- Reduces stress
- Increases creativity
- Sparks ideas
- Solve problems
- Learn from mistakes
- Process emotions
When we dream we create scenarios in our brains that allow us to process and handle scenarios that we may face in real life. Our ancestors would have dreamed of physical survival, like how to escape a bear for instance. But as our physical needs are taken care of in our modern lives, we tend to dream of how we would survive our social scenarios. Sometimes we dream of unrealistic circumstances, and sometimes some circumstances that are so normal we question if it really happened in our sleepy just-woke minds.
Recording our dreams allows us to see patterns over time. We may not make sense of one dream on its own, but reflecting on a collection of dreams may make sense or reveal something that you didn’t see clearly at the time.
Without a way to track your progress you can kiss goodbye to most goals you make for yourself. How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution to find you’ve forgotten about it by the end of January?
This is usually because you’ve lost the motivation to keep up with your goals. You need to make a daily habit and review of your goals to achieve them.
Journaling is a great way to keep on top of your goal progress. Ask yourself every day how you contributed to your goal. Or be honest in your journaling, if today you did nothing, put a plan in place for the next day to make sure you are working on your goals.
Goals work best when you have daily mini-tasks in place, check out our post on goal setting here to find out how you can work towards your goals successfully.
Writing our thoughts and feelings down can help us clear our minds and deal with the problems we face. This, in turn, helps us relieve stress and improve on the state of our mental health.
There are many ways to relieve stress through different types of journaling.
- Gratitude journaling: Reflecting on the things in your life that make you happy on a daily basis can build long-term resilience which in turn reduces stress. You also have a nice record of the things that you are grateful for that will be nice to read back on. – Especially useful for when you may feel down in the future and need reminding of the things that make you appreciate in life.
- Emotional Release: Writing about how certain events throughout your day made you feel is a great way of relieving stress. Writing about your emotions forces you to think deeply and honestly about them, enabling you to process how and why it made you feel a certain way.
- Goal Tracking: Tracking your tasks and goals for each day is a good way to feel organised and not forget what you need to do. Writing down these actions keep your mind from clutter and help you prioritise what’s important to you, therefore reducing stress.
- Writing about past traumatic experiences: Studies have found that writing about past events that have been unpleasant or traumatic to you is a great therapy for overcoming your fears and anxieties. Recording your thoughts and feelings about your life has tremendous advantages to yourself. It will help you process internal struggles and confusion and help you deal with future scenarios.
Diary writing is a form of self-expression, revealing to us our innermost complex thoughts and feelings. Writing about these can help us deal with our inner conflictions which give us understanding.
Through expressive writing, studies have proven that people can overcome traumatic events that result in improvements in both physical and psychological health.
This is only achieved through writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events. The studies compared whose who wrote about traumatic experiences to participants that wrote about neutral events only, and the results on the cognitive functioning, psychological and physical health were dramatically improved for the expressive writing group.
You can find the study here.
A study by Pennebaker found that writing about who you are and what you want to achieve increases your psychological well-being. Thus improving personal happiness and life satisfaction. Pennebaker also noticed that people who wrote about their ideal future visited healthcare professionals less often. This would suggest an improvement in physical or mental health.
There are many ways for journaling to help people living with dementia and their caregivers. Let’s look at how.
Memory Aid and memory training:
Keeping a journal is a great way for people living with dementia to begin memory training. It is often assumed that Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative condition. But there is evidence to suggest that cognitive rehabilitation can be introduced into daily behavioural habits to improve one’s memory. This technique is called Spaced Retrieval Training (SR).
SR training can be achieved through writing in a daily diary, through recalling pieces of information over successively longer intervals and associating that information with action.
Keeping a journal:
However, it is important to note that writing daily in a journal sharing thoughts and feelings has its drawbacks if the person is aware of their diminishing skills. They can become frustrated and even not sure of what to write. But with daily diary writing alongside using interviews, photo and audio diaries, journaling can be used as a way to improve the mental state and memory of the person living with dementia.
A great way to encourage journal writing for someone living with dementia is, to begin with writing a few sentences and including photos to accompany the writing. Collecting tokens and mementoes of things they’ve done can help people be reminded and be something to show and tell others about. This is a great way to practice memory aiding. It can be good to say what they did and how it made them feel.
Daily Care Planning:
Using a daily diary is a great way for caregivers to record important dates and appointments to be shared among other carers. Having a place with plans for the day is even helpful for the person with dementia to see and know what to expect that day, next day and even that week.
Daily Care Planning is also using for establishing a planned day. Routine is useful for a person living with Alzheimer’s, it means that you spend less time figuring out what to do, and focusing on activities that provide meaning and enjoyment.
The benefits of daily care planning allow caregivers to track patterns, check their basic needs are taken care of, ensuring daily stimulation and pleasure, informs other carers, involves the person in their daily care plan to feel independent, a place for the person to write their daily thoughts and feelings.
Joy and Stress Journal:
Caregivers are recommended to keep two journals, a joy- journal and a stress- journal.
Caring for a loved one with dementia comes with highs and lows. It can be especially beneficial for caregivers to have a place they can express their frustrations in a safe and private place.
Equally, caregivers need to have a place they can record joyful moments with their loved one to look back on and remind themselves when in times of stress.
One of the most common reasons people choose to write a daily diary is to have an account of their life story.
Recording your daily events about what happened and when is a great way to fact-check back over the past, remembering events and how you felt about them.
Imagine you could read over your grandparent’s lives, what they went through and how they felt about it. This kind of in-depth insight can make a huge impact on how you remember your loved ones and even how they may influence you in your life.
We can remember past events very differently to how they were in reality. We can often look back on events with rose-tinted glasses. Being able to read back over your life can remind you of how things truly were and give you a new perspective on how you’ve changed as a person.
To find out more on how to record and write your life story check out our blog post here.
Journal writing is a great way to improve your writing skills. Practising writing everyday enables you to develop strong writing skills and you’ll discover your own writing voice.
Without any fears of your writing being read or exposed publically, you can write without care which frees you to explore different writing styles and find your own that suits you.
The reliving app specialises in daily diary and journal entry. Making it easy to access and record your daily events, thoughts, memories and emotions.
The Reliving app is designed with the user in mind. All of the features designed in the app allow you to explore many different ways of daily diary writing. Whether that’s uploading pictures, videos and recordings to writing your deepest thoughts and feelings in a secure and private space. Let’s take a look at what you can access through the app:
Daily diary with unlimited space to write. The app allows creativity and organisation with flexibility on fonts including headings, bold, italic, underline, quotes, bullet points, paragraph placement, and much more.
You can upload daily pictures, videos or recordings to accompany and build the picture of your day. These media uploads attach to the specific day you’re writing about.
The app has a selection of emotions that you can select each day to accurately and easily describe your feelings that day. This is an especially important feature for people tracking their mental health and using their dairy entries as a way to improve their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The app also shows a monthly calendar, so you can easily see up and coming events and plan ahead for them. All of your monthly goals, events and activities are easily recording in one easy-to-view place.
With the emotion recording and weather capturing features you may be able to see patterns emerging. How interesting would it be to discover that your mood correlates directly with the weather? Finding out this information can be vital to your mental health, and allow you to put procedures in place to help you through the day if you know it’s likely to be a bad one.
You’ll be able to record your bucket list of things you want to achieve in life.
You’ll be able to set daily, weekly and monthly tasks to achieve your larger life goals.
You will be able to set daily reminders to achieve tasks. Whether that is setting a time each night to write in your diary, or for small ad hoc reminders throughout the day. Some could be inspirational quotes which motivate you and brighten your spirits.
There is so much more to the Reliving app, including a personal biography recorder, and family, which allows you to create a media-based family tree and life stories. For more information on what you can get from the Reliving app, contact us here.