1. ‘Find’ Yourself: Discover who you really are by recording your feelings, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, hopes, fears, experiences, etc. Writing in-depth about and to yourself helps clarify who you are, what you believe, and what you want to do with your life.
2. Become Organized: When you know yourself clearly by writing honestly and in detail, your mind becomes focused. You feel more at peace with yourself. And, journal writing can organize your daily life, too, by recording things that you need or want to do. You know where you’re going. Journal writing helps you stop, think, and plan carefully.
3. Solve Problems: Getting all of your thoughts on paper can make you think in new ways by tapping into your subconscious and getting all of your ideas on paper. This allows you to see a problem in a new light and find solutions for it.
4. Become Creative: Jot down inspiring thoughts or ideas and collect them. Certain writing techniques can help you tap into your subconscious and inspire poems, short stories, drawings, music, or whatever you like to do to express yourself. The act of writing allows you to think and concentrate more so that your mind works at a deeper, more intuitive level. Plus, the journal itself can become an expression of your artistic abilities. You can fill your journal with artwork, collages, stickers, momentos, magazine and newspaper clippings, and more, making it as much a part of you as the thoughts recorded in it.
5. Find Sanctuary: Writing to yourself in your journal is a great way to escape from chaotic feelings or events; or just to escape from the mundanity of everyday life and delve into your more exciting inner life. Separating yourself from the outside world gives you a stronger sense of your own identity as an individual human being. Taking time for yourself also generates a great sense of peace and well-being, boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
6. Emotional Therapy: Your journal can act as your own best friend or a proverbial ‘shoulder to cry on’. It is always there to listen and never criticizes or talks back. By unburdening yourself of difficult thoughts or feelings, you lower stress. Problems don’t seem so bad when they become mere words on a page.
7. Enjoy Life: Life doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. By recording things that make you happy, listing your favorite things about being alive, celebrating the good things in your life, you become a happier person; more appreciative and grateful for what you do have, rather than depressed for what you don’t. Writing your perceptions of life as you’re living it gives you a better sense of the world around you and your place in it. Even the most mundane things can become profound and meaningful if you take the time to use all of your senses and record what you experience in your journal. Writing about the little things in life makes you feel that you are living life to the fullest and that you are coming to know everything life has to offer. Each of us has our own unique sense of perception and set of experiences, so use your journal to celebrate your uniqueness. Your journal saves your experiences so you’ll always remember them.
8. Timeline: As you keep a journal over months and years, it becomes a record of your accomplishments, travels, personal growth; a time capsule capturing who you were at certain moments in the past. Recording the who, what, when, where, why, and how, of past events helps you to remember details you probably would have forgotten had you not written them down. Having a record of what you did with your life gives you a feeling of accomplishment; that your life was not wasted.
9. Communicate Better: Without even realizing it, writing in your journal regularly will improve your writing and communication skills. You become better and better at expressing yourself on paper, which is the key to quality writing. Writing in a journal is much like talking to a close friend or telling a story. And having your thoughts organized on paper allows you to communicate those thoughts in a clearer way, whether speaking or writing.
10. Personal/Family History: Keeping a journal during the course of your entire life creates a valuable record of who you were, what you did, what you thought, what you liked and disliked, your superstitions and quirks, etc. — it’s a record of your identity. Leaving your journal with friends or descendants after you’re gone helps them remember you (and probably know you even better than before) from reading your journals. Imagine if your great-great-grandparents had left behind their journals (instead of, in most cases, a few worn photographs, their names, dates of birth and death, and a few half-forgotten stories your grandma told you about them). You would know so much more about what kind of people they were, even though you would never meet them. You would know of their struggles and triumphs, their opinions and beliefs. You would know what life was like during their time. You would know about other relatives or friends who shared time with them. You would know how they raised your great-grandparent and passed on family traditions. A journal is a link to the past. Someday the present we are living in now will become the distant past, too. Writing a journal is also a link to the future.