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The health benefits of journaling

Last Modified: 2/08/2021

journaling

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), journaling can improve memory, boost creativity, become a therapeutic outlet and lend a healing hand to your overall health and well-being. To find out more, let’s take a closer look at what journaling is and all the health benefits it has to offer.

A closer look

Journaling is the act of informal writing as a regular practice. It looks different for everyone and can take many forms and serve a variety of purposes. Journaling can be very effective in aiding you in reaching a wide range of goals, both mental and physical. You can utilize it for clearing your head and making important connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Along with these, let’s explore a few other benefits journaling can bring to your life, including:

  • Mental health: If you or a loved one suffer bouts with stress, depression, anxiety, fear or loneliness, keeping a journal could help by expressing and acknowledging those feelings. Writing things down can help you manage and understand your emotions while reducing your stress, boosting your mood and improving your overall mental health and well-being.
  • Improve immune function: Writing in a journal not only benefits your mental health but has been known to support your immune system as well, decreasing the likelihood of sickness and helping to ward off illness.
  • Evoke mindfulness: Journaling also helps call your meandering mind to attention. Writing your thoughts down can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, clarify thoughts and feelings, help highlight and solve problems, recognize successes and manage any information overload you may be experiencing.
  • Better sleep: Studies have shown that many people who have trouble sleeping tend to focus on their worries while lying in bed, making many feel excited when they should be winding down for the day. Journaling can help get those thoughts down on paper instead of running around in your head, helping you get a restful night’s sleep.
Final thoughts

Fortunately, it doesn't take a huge commitment or equipment to reap the benefits of journaling. However, if you’re unsure of where to start, simply grab a pen, some paper and begin. Try making a list of things you are grateful for or jotting down the things that make you feel overwhelmed. No matter what you choose to write about, be sure to start small, then gradually work your way up to writing for 15-20 minutes a day. The possibilities are endless.

 

Helpful resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health

American Psychological Association

The Heart Foundation

Cambridge University Press

Healthgrades

USA Today

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