Dear Diary: 3 Healthy Reasons to Keep a Journal

Whether or not you’re willing to admit it, there was probably a period in your life when you wrote out your feelings for the day in a little notebook. Initially, keeping a journal might seem like a routine you can easily brush off. After all, it’s just writing your thoughts on lined pages, right? It’s just you telling a lifeless notebook about a friend’s recent dilemma or crush sightings at school, accompanied with doodled hearts, right? Maybe not.

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Image by Anna Salvatore via Flickr

Because there might just be more to journaling than you might originally have thought. Taking out the pen and paper doesn’t only help you sort out your emotions, it also provides vital benefits to your health. Here are just a few of them:

1. Keeping a journal reduces stress.

When life gives us lemons, we women like to talk about it with our friends. Talking about stressful challenges helps us keep things in perspective. Journaling is another way to vent out our baskets of feels for the day. In her article “Reduce by Journaling,” Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH, says keeping a diary enables writers to share emotions on stressors they’re not willing to share with others.

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Image by Danielle via Flickr

Because journaling alleviates stress, this boosts physical health. Researchers at the Advances of Psychiatric Treatment discovered long-term health benefits regular diary writers receive, and these include:

  • Improved lung and liver functions
  • Improved immune system functions
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Fewer stress-related visits

2. It helps you get a good night’s sleep.

Some of us rarely experience a good night’s sleep. All the thinking combined with the tossing and turning makes it impossible to close our eyes. When you’re about to go to bed, take a few minutes to scribble down your thoughts. List down what worries you every day. Journaling before you go to sleep clears your head of everything that bothers you. This helps you fall asleep faster and also provides a quieter sleep during the night.

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Image by her noise via Flickr

 

3. It helps keep depression at bay.

Keeping all your thoughts and emotions to yourself is stressful emotionally, physically, and mentally, which can be a recipe for trouble, especially in those susceptible to depression and other illnesses. For those who feel emotionally trapped, keeping a journal is one way out. Writing down thoughts allows the writer to gain inner insights and thoughts. Journaling is an effective coping mechanism for depression—it’s cheaper and it allows you to see life from your black and white perspective.

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Image by Denis Kuschter via Flickr

So if you’ve had a rough day, try picking up a pen and writing down your thoughts on paper. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough don’t just keep going—they also keep writing.

Happy journaling!

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