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  • Writer's pictureHelen Colebrook

Why Keep a Journal?



I often get asked how I manage to stay so consistent with my journaling habit and for me, I have received so many benefits from keeping a journal, that I would now really struggle not to make time for jotting down a few thoughts every day. There have been lots of studies into the benefits of journaling and I will share some of these in my blog post, but I will mainly be sharing my own personal experiences of how journaling has impacted on my life.


Journal Page

Reducing our Stress Levels


There is lots of evidence that getting our thoughts out onto paper can significantly reduce our stress levels. A study from just last year (Sohal, Singh, Dhillon & Gill, 2022) shows that keeping a journal can even help reduce the amount of sick days that people take off work.


I have certainly found that when I am tied up in knots about something, or judging myself harshly, that taking some time to properly reflect in my journal is a great way of gaining a more balanced view on things. I might start off by having a rant and getting all my unfiltered thoughts out, but by the end of the page, I usually feel in a much more balanced frame of mind, often with a new perspective.


Journal Page

Setting Powerful Intentions


Journals can be really helpful when you want to make some changes in your life and actually stick to them. Whenever I have some things I want to change or develop, I start off by writing about the "why" behind what I want to achieve, before I get into the planning stages. I find this a really useful part of the process as it helps to cement the reasons and motivation in my brain. Also, if a few months down the line, I find that I'm letting this change slip backwards, I go back to my intention setting pages and remind myself of why I started the journey.


Journal Page

It Helps Improve Your Memory


A study by The Journal of Experimental Physchology has shown that expressive writing can increase the capacity of your working memory and reduce intrustive thoughts. I also find that our brains are often unfortunately wired to focus on the negative and can easily distort our views on the world. Every evening, I try to spend at least a few minutes jotting down some key things that happened during the day, along with an entry in my gratitude journal. When I read back through my journal entries, sometimes only a week later, I am amazed at how much has already slipped my mind, especially some of those happy little moments.


Journal Pages

Learning Important Lessons


Do you ever find that you keep repeating the same poor choices? Taking some time to reflect in your journal and really getting to the bottom of your decision making can definitely help with this. I use my journals to think about the areas where I am holding myself back and then write down some better decisions that I can start making. When I'm then faced with the same situation again, it makes it so much easier to make a better choice.


Journal Pages

Improved Self-Confidence


One of the major benefits that I have personally experienced from keeping a journal, is that it has helped my self-confidence to grow. It's really easy to judge ourselves harshly and think about the things that we didn't get right, but this goes back to our brains just loving to focus in on the negative. When I feel like that now, I take the time to read back through some of my journal entries from the past few years. I am then reminded of the challenges I have overcome, difficult situations that I was able to navigate and lots of my achievements along the way. Over time, I also feel this has helped my brain to keep more of a positive focus too.


Journal Pages

Problem Solving & Innovation


As an added bonus, if you choose to bring some creativity into your journal pages, it has been shown that creative play can help to open your mind and boost your problem solving skills. Creativity could be as simple as adding some stickers and washi tape or sticking down some pretty papers, though of course, you can get as creative as you like.


I really hope this blog post has inspired you to either start, or continue with your journaling practice this year. It has brought so many benefits to my life and I would love you to experience that too. It only needs to take you a few minutes a day, but can make such a big difference to your life.


If you are looking for more journal inspiration, then I would love to welcome you to my journaling club. In the meantime, please do take good care of yourself, Helen x

1,590 views9 comments

9 Comments


Guest
Jan 09, 2023

I have only been journalling for about a year, and I agree that everything you have said about the benefits is oh so true! I feel really off kilter when I don't journal for a couple of days, and I also love the opportunity to get messy artwise whenever I can. My journals are definitely not neat and clean like yours - paint and ink smudges and splatters are everywhere but I love it because that it is just totally me, with no pretence of otherwise.

I also find I sleep much better once I have brain dumped into my journal instead of carrying those thoughts to bed with me.

Thanks for all your inspiration!


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Helen Colebrook
Helen Colebrook
Jan 09, 2023
Replying to

I'm so pleased to hear that you are enjoying journaling too, along with receiving the many benefits. I sleep much better too when I don't have those thoughts running around in my head. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.

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Guest
Jan 06, 2023

I have been doing this for 25 years

and it has helped me through some

very hard times and I really enjoy

looking for cute pictures or stickers

to brighten up my pages…I have your books Helen and love seeing your pages and always getting new idea!

if only I could master your writing I have the Tombo but just cant get the result but I have accepted that!

Acceptance is my word for 2023❣️❣️


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Helen Colebrook
Helen Colebrook
Jan 07, 2023
Replying to

I'm so pleased to hear that you have found journaling so helpful and have kept it up for such a long time, that's wonderful. Acceptance is a great word, wishing you a really lovely 2023 xx

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burtonskg
Jan 06, 2023

Great post, and all so true. The creative part (for me) is like playtime and as adults often stop doing fun things. Journaling is definitely a great way to forget about whatever thing is stressing you out.

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burtonskg
Jan 06, 2023
Replying to

It is!

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Julia Skinner
Julia Skinner
Jan 06, 2023

Thank you for articulating journaling so well Helen. I think it can be misunderstood at times & not given the recognition of how powerful it can be.

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Helen Colebrook
Helen Colebrook
Jan 06, 2023
Replying to

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, thank you. I agree completely, it's such a wonderful tool that each of us can use.

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