How Writing Is Good For The Mind

by Eddy Hope

There are many benefits of journaling or writing by hand and in this article, we look at a number of reasons why you should in fact write more.

I’ve been writing or journaling now, as a conscious effort to organise my thoughts and ‘projects’ since 2014. It has become one of my most valuable outlets for creativity and provides calmness and order to what would be a hectic mess in my head.

Many people I’ve spoken to say they used to journal as a child or young teen but eventually stopped. Why I’m not entirely sure. But it’s a damn shame that more people don’t do it. Maybe to some, it feels like a chore or perhaps people feel like they don’t need to journal once we 'get older'. Maybe it’s an element of stubbornness, we feel we don’t need to journal because we’re older and are old enough to handle our thoughts and emotions without needing to write them down. Maybe that's it... fear. Fear that you might discover something you'd rather not. Honestly, I don’t know, maybe someone can shed some light here?

Different kinds of journaling.

There are, of course, different kinds of journaling such as:

Fitness journals – write down your goals, training plan and dietary requirements so you can track your progress, calories or weight.

Work Journals – for managing large projects and tasks, meeting notes and other reference materials.

Travel journals – From sketching beautiful scenery to writing your itinerary, the ability to revisit the memories you made travelling can be humbling and insightful.

Personal journals – this is probably the most common use for a journal. Let’s look at some of the benefits to personal journaling…

Journals can give clarity, help solve problems and improve overall focus.

This is probably for me the biggest benefit I get from journaling. It was something I desperately needed, a clear head. Far too long were thoughts, ideas, feelings and problems bouncing around my head giving me many a sleepless night.

What I am able to do now whenever any of the above pops into my head I get it straight back out by writing it down. This allows me to look at the issue with more focus and can expand on it if necessary. I go by a little motto if you will… get it down, get it done.

It’s like a massage for the brain, it allows to air your grievances, clear your mind and see the bigger picture.

Identify and track your goals

This is a great one and something I only started doing about a year and a half ago. It has been quite helpful and acts as a good motivation to kick your ass and gives you targets to work towards.

Your goal might be to lose weight, build a business, climb a mountain or journal once a day for 30 days. By writing them down you become accountable and you can then outline plans or steps in order for you to reach and smash your goals.

Journaling improves personal insight.

This is something I didn’t really notice until you start to look back through old journals. I remembered how scared I felt the day my daughter was born but how I was overwhelmed with love for this little thing that continued to leak on me.

That’s just one of a million examples. Writing down your fears or worries, thoughts, ideas gives a unique opportunity to look back and see how a certain experience helped you to grow as a person. Plus these will all be great keepsakes for your kids to give them an insight into who you were and what you have been through. Both good and bad. Journals are to be treasured.

3 tips to get started…

Keep it simple. No pressure, just go out and buy a journal. Look for a design that piques your interest. It can be as expensive or as cheap as you like. Just go buy something to write on and something to write with.

Choose your own frequency. Decide how often you want to write. It might be once a day or once a week. Don’t add any extra pressure to your writing experience, choose a schedule that works for you.

Don’t be afraid to mess it up. This is so important. Many people can get intimidated by a lovely fresh glistening new notebook that they will put off writing in it for fear of messing it up. Forget it! Get stuck in. The notebook wants to be written in, it can prove to be a great reflection of how you were feeling at the time. If you are in a rush and make mistakes, it doesn’t matter, cross them out and move on. I would suggest don’t worry about making it look fancy at first, just concentrate on starting it. Write down the day and date and just start writing.

My feelings on journaling…

Getting everything down on paper gives you a birds-eye view of the chaotic mix of ideas and tasks which were fighting for your attention, providing you with an opportunity to give order and kick its stressful ass.

By looking at the mess in your brain on paper from the calmness of a blank slate gives one much pleasure and a feeling of control and order.

Now over to you. Do you journal? If you do, how and when do you do it? What inspired you to get started? Send us a message on social media and if you're unsure of what tools are best to get started we are MORE THAN HAPPY to talk stationery :-)