The benefits of maintaining a diary are not just centred around recording memories for future you to look back on - they extend to practical, personal and even health benefits.
Keeping a diary isn’t just for angsty teens either - some of our most intrepid Explorers, innovative Scientists and talented Artists have penned their thoughts and feelings in a diary, and where would we be without the antics recorded in Bridget Jones's diary?!
Keeping a record of your life has fantastic mental health benefits, and can really help you to de-stress, re-focus and make personal improvements. Everyone can benefit from journaling, so here are our 5 reasons why you should keep a diary too:
When you’ve got a lot on your plate, life can feel pretty overwhelming. With so much going on, you can sometimes feel yourself distracted from what’s important and before you know it, you’re drowning in tasks and responsibilities.
However, when we write things down we are able to see more clearly and re-organise ourselves because it’s not all jumbled up in our brains! So, using a diary to create lists of things to do or to describe how we are feeling about certain situations can bring clarity.
You’ll find that during the process of offloading to your diary, your emotions and feelings come to the surface, allowing you to let go of negative energy and helping you to refocus. It’s a bit like being your own therapist, only a lot cheaper!
2. Ideas, goals and projects
Writing down your goals, dreams and ambitions makes them real. It gives you the start of a plan, so you will be more likely to achieve them! And when we write, we relax, which means you become more creative too, so you will probably have your best ideas when writing them in your journal.
Best of all, because your diary is for you and nobody else, it means you can be totally free to write down your ideas and goals with only yourself holding you accountable for achieving them.
Keeping a diary also helps you improve your time management skills and avoid procrastination, so those goals and projects will remain your primary focus until they're done.
You can also split your goals up into less-intimidating, smaller tasks. So instead of ‘re-decorate the whole house’, maybe concentrate on smaller tasks within that goal such as collecting swatches and browsing home improvement websites for ideas, and make them weekly tasks in your diary.
3.Catalogue your memories
Isn’t it wonderful when someone digs out the old photo albums? There is always a funny story to share about the picture, or sometimes, simply just seeing a face from the past who is no longer with us is comforting too.
Just like those old photos, keeping a written record of your life, whether it's daily, weekly, or the odd entry here and there can be incredibly pleasing to look back over in years to come. It helps us to reconnect with happy memories and make sense of difficult times. Some people make those nostalgic trips special by illustrating their journal with tickets, napkins and photos associated with their writings, which is a great idea to make entries come to life.
Our memories can make us laugh and cry, but they belong to us and make us who we are, so recording them in a diary is ideal for reflection and relaxation whilst we marvel at how far we’ve come over the years.
4.Mental health and wellbeing
If you only need one good reason why you should keep a diary, it should be this; when you write about something positive, your brain re-lives it. So, if you document all of your good times - your achievements, good news and goal smashing, you are giving your brain a double dopamine hit! This gives you a confidence boost and in turn allows you to continue smashing those goals.
Writing in any capacity is a mindfulness activity, which is highly beneficial for good mental health. Mindfulness is when you focus completely on one single thing, allowing you to let go of intrusive negative thoughts and feelings whilst you concentrate. When you write in a diary, you’ll be concentrating only on your writing, so other worries are set aside, and you can relax.
If you suffer with your mental health, keeping a journal of how you are feeling can help you to heal from trauma, as well as relieving stress and removing emotional blockages. Unravelling everything with your own written words promotes healing through self-expression, releasing you from traumatic experiences and allowing you to control negative feelings.
We all want to be a bit better, so it’s good to know that journal keeping can help.
Writing regularly will naturally improve your writing and communication skills, as well as your decision-making capabilities. Through offloading onto your journal, you create a clearer mind that allows for you to deal with those decisions more readily.
When we write, we are exploring language and therefore naturally look for new or different words as part of our writing. So you can actually stretch your vocabulary as you write your diary entries, even increasing your IQ!
Emotional intelligence can be improved too - when you write in a diary, you are processing emotions and increasing your self-awareness. This translates into empathy, meaning you will better understand how other people are feeling so you can offer your support.
You will develop a better sense of self through diary writing, which will help you to make positive life choices as you’ll understand more about what motivates you. It will also help you to set and keep boundaries, prioritise what is important to you and reduce stress.
There is no right or wrong way to keep a diary - you can produce a digital one or handwritten on in a notebook, but what is important is that it’s all about you! It’s incredibly healthy to write down how we are feeling, especially if we find it difficult to talk to others about it.
The benefits in this blog speak for themselves, from improving your IQ to setting achievable goals, so to finish, here’s 3 tips on successful entry writing:
1. Find a quiet, personal space to write - your diary entry deserves all your attention in a place where you’re unlikely to be interrupted.
2. Ditch the tech! Turn off your phone whilst you write - our smartphones are very good at distracting us from the job in hand.
3. Who doesn't love new stationery?! - Browse The Works for affordable diaries and treat yourself to something new to encourage regular diary entries.
Good luck with your diary writing for 2022!