Written by Sophie Gray
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
4 Surprising Benefits Of Journaling That Impact Your Life
Published Sep 10th, 2019 & updated on May 19th, 2021
When I first started journaling, I felt like I had no choice. My mind felt like an incredibly unsafe place. I had experienced a life-shattering panic attack that left me afraid of my own thoughts. My life as I knew it was falling apart. I was constantly monitoring my thoughts to ensure I wasn’t going to spiral into another panic attack. I didn’t even think about the benefits of journaling when I first started out my practice.
It was exhausting.
I needed to do something about the obsessive thoughts floating around in my mind. I knew I had a lot of work to do and heard that journaling was a helpful tool.
Then I quickly learned how helpful it was. While it helped me get a handle on the thoughts running through my mind, it helped in ways I never could have imagined.
Here are the surprising things I turn to my journal for:
1. Making Decisions
When I was going through the wedding planning process, a lot of decisions had to be made. It was overwhelming. Throughout the process, I regularly turned to my journal. Writing out all of the decisions greatly helped me organize everything. It allowed me to see the bigger picture.
When making decisions that involve more than yourself, a lot of opinions get thrown around. It can become difficult to understand how you truly feel about the matter. By taking a step back and journaling through the decisions that need to be made, you’re able to understand the different points of views involved – while connecting to how you truly feel. It’s a powerful way to use your own awareness to guide you through the decision making process.
When using your journal to help you make decisions, explore writing out all of the different options then call in your highest/executive/wiser/older self to guide the way.
2. Working Through Arguments
Arguments happen, all of the time. While I’m not one to hold onto specific disagreements, there was on that happened throughout my wedding planning process that I’ll never forget. Both sides were emotionally charged. I ended the call and was overwhelmed with emotions. Immediately, I allowed myself to express my emotions. I screamed into a pillow, shook my fists in the air and let it all out.
Then, I turned to my journal.
Since a lot bought up by the argument, I had a lot to process. I allowed myself to journal freely about what the disagreement shook up. Then, I turned my awareness to the person I had the fight with. I journaled from their perspective.
What is this bringing up for them? Why are they so triggered about this? What does this mean to them?
In arguments, we often get caught up about how we feel about the situation. We forgot the other person is bringing their own baggage to the conversation. By turning to your journal, you allow yourself to step outside of the experience and add a dose of reflection to the experience.
Journaling about an argument allows you to calm down, and understand the situation from a new light. I was then able to move forward with the individual from a reflective and more understanding space.
It was powerful.
When turning to your journal to work through an argument, ensure you allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. Then, write out the experience from the person (or people) you had an argument with. Invite their awareness in and watch your response to the disagreement transform.
3. Clarity Around Creative Pursuits
After having a felt sense of how powerful journaling was, I started to create DiveThru – ya know, this blog and app! During the creative process, my journal was my best buddy. I have dozens (if not hundreds) of pages where I’m exploring what DiveThru would become. There’s even a page with different names and logos drawn all over it.
My journal played a massive role in creating the very blog you’re reading this article on. I have also turned to my journal when mapping out other creative ideas in the past.
I find that writing through creative ideas can help you organize your thoughts. It also provides a birds-eye view that helps you see the larger picture of whatever you’re working on.
When using journaling to help you get clarity around your creative pursuits, allow yourself to journal freely. Imagine journaling from your highest/executive/wiser/older self. Allow creativity to flow through you!
4. Gratitude On Gratitude
Gratitude and journaling go hand on hand. You can find a dozen of gratitude journals on the market – and there’s a reason. Utilizing your journal to focus on the things you’re grateful for can be incredibly transformational.
My favourite way to use my journal to focus on gratitude is by recapping my day from a grateful lens. Each night I write out the ways love showed up for me throughout my day. By taking the time to journaling in depth about your day in this way, it allows you to sit within gratitude.
As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of journaling. It’s a practice I do each and every day, and even created this whole DiveThru thing because of the way it’s revolutionized my life. Whatever you’re wanting to work on, whether it be calming your thoughts, making decisions, working through an argument, clarity around a creative project, or experiencing a felt sense of gratitude, journaling is a diverse tool that can serve you.
Ready to start your journaling practice? Download the DiveThru app (for free) here!