Why Journaling is One of the Most Powerful Ways to Transform Your Life 13

There is no question about it — journaling changes your life for the better.

If you already journal, regularly or irregularly, you know this. You’ve experienced it. You’ll be able to affirm many of the points I make here and perhaps find some additional reasons to continue writing.

If you’re one of those people who think you “should” journal, but don’t, then read on to discover many of the ways journaling can be used to grow and improve your life. I hope to motivate you to give it a try — or begin again in a new way.

How does journaling transform your life?

  • First, your journal gives you a private, nonjudgmental space in which to process your thoughts and emotions. Your journal is like a good friend that you can tell anything to — and I mean anything — without being worried about how that friend will think of you. You can tell that friend all your concerns, worries, happy moments, silly thoughts, and fears, and that friend will be a perfect listener. She will never interrupt or one-up you with her own experiences. She simply listens.
  • Related to the first point, your journal is a place to let out your inner counselor. One of the ways I use my journal is to give myself advice. It’s an amazing way to tap into your own inner wisdom. I have found that the advice I give myself is insightful and powerful — and works.
  • Journaling increases self-awareness. As you write about your days, your reactions, and your responses to your reactions, you become more aware of cycles and emotional/psychological issues. That awareness leads you to dig deeper and to ask questions about why you act the way you do and how you can make positive changes. In addition, when you experience intense emotions, writing about your emotions will help you understand what triggered them and explore positive ways to express your feelings.
  • Journaling guides you to be more present. This one goes hand in hand with being more self-aware. You become more mindful and present because journaling causes you to slow down, to be more aware of the moment in which you are writing. This sense of presence can extend beyond your journal-writing sessions into your daily life.
  • Journaling pushes you to actively inspect your life. Because you’re writing about the events in your life, it’s natural to become more introspective in general.
  • Journaling is the best way to proactively examine your life. The idea is to reveal areas or aspects of your life that you have hidden from yourself. To do this, you must ask probing questions and be willing to be honest. You are writing only for yourself, so you can allow yourself to be honest without fear.

[bctt tweet=”Ask probing questions and be willing to be honest with yourself.” username=”writingthrulife”]

  • Overall, journaling strengthens your sense of self. The more you examine yourself, the more you know who you are.
  • It keeps your priorities up front and center. Writing about your life, your goals and desires and fears, helps you sort out the important from the inconsequential to remind you about what’s most important.
  • Writing about your feelings and thoughts can actually improve your interactions and relationships with other people. Think about it: if you work through those negative feelings and anger in your journal, you’re less likely to take them out on those around you; and if you write about what challenges you in a relationship, you are more likely to come up with solutions to relationship problems.
  • Journaling helps you reach your goals (eat better, sleep more, read more, etc.). Just the simple act of writing down your goals can improve your chances of actually achieving those goals. And when you use your journal as a place to record, refer to, and write about the progress you are making, journaling becomes a powerful tool.
  • Journaling improves your memory. Studies have shown that writing helps to “cement” ideas and events into memory. When you write in your journal you are retrieving past memories and creating stories about your life. You also record daily events, thoughts, and feelings. As a result, your memories of those events will be sharper in the future.
  • Journaling helps you become a better writer — even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer. That’s right, even if it’s not a goal of yours to be a writer, regular journaling will help you to sharpen your writing in all its forms, including business correspondence and emails.
  • Journaling is a way to record your life history. Even if all you do is write about the events in your life and include some cultural context, such as movies, political, and world events, you are writing history.
  • Journaling heals the past. When you write about the past, you invariably make more sense of it. Writing helps you cope with and heal wounds from past trauma.

In summary, journaling regularly can help you develop a more mature level of self-knowledge, be more productive, create the life you want, and have healthier and happier relationships,

If all that sounds like a reach, I challenge you to journal regularly for a year. That doesn’t mean you have to write every single day. Even the most committed journal writers skips days now and again. Writing regularly means making a practice of writing about what is happening in your life, along with examining your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

After you have journaled for a year, take stock of your life. I can guarantee that you will reap many, if not all, of the benefits I’ve listed here.

Your Turn:

If you have always wanted to journal but haven’t managed to make a regular practice of it, leave a comment about which of the above benefits might motivate you to start journaling.

And If you’re a regular journal writer, please share some of the ways journaling has transformed your life.


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13 thoughts on “Why Journaling is One of the Most Powerful Ways to Transform Your Life

  • Sara Etgen-Baker

    Unfortunately, I don’t journal as regularly as I should–that’s a choice. I do, however, recognize and have experienced some of the positives of writing a journal. Writing in my journal empowers me at a deeply personal level and that empowerment seeps into my day-to-day life. Journaling is, as you said, a non-judgmental means in which to become more authentic and more whole. Good stuff!

  • Marjorie Kildare

    Your article covers all the reasons I journal. In fact, journaling since August 1988 saved my life many times over. And when I recently read your 2010 article about returning to a journal dated the previous year to the date we’re at now, I did just that. I reread October 2016, 2015 and 2014, and plan to read further back. This should be quite easy since I keep my journals chronological and dated on the front and inside covers.

    And though I often reread previous journals, this was a perfect exercise, for me. Reading as you suggested not only proves how journaling not only acknowledges and confirms what I need, want, and desire, but often proved prophetic.

    Thanks Amber Lea, for all your great work, your meaningful suggestions and your offerings me! Marjorie

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Thank you, Marjorie for sharing your experience. I actually put on my calendar on the 1st day of each month a reminder to read that month’s entries from the previous year. It never fails to surprise me how far I’ve journeyed!

      • Marjorie Kildare

        Glory be, Amber Lea…another great suggestion! Tonight, I shall sit to write your reminder on each of the last two months of 2017 and on my new 2018-2019 calendar. Such a significant exercise for All Hallow’s, The Day of the Dead and for my Celtic New Year. Thanks!

  • Ann Clyde

    I will be 58 in two days, and of those years, I have journaled/kept diaries for over 50 of them…I know from the deepest recesses of my soul that I would not be the woman I am had I not journaled..I am continually in awe of the power of putting pen to paper…it informs my life and helps me to come home to myself..it is my lifeline..

  • Shammy Peterson

    I found it nice when you said that journaling allows you to record your life history. As you said, it also helps you to cope with and heal wounds from past trauma. These are probably the reasons why there are people who love to keep a daily journal. As for me, it has been a joy to read the writings of others. I could imagine purchasing a journal subscription can allow me to know more about others and explore DIY options.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Shammy. Journals are generally private, and I’ve never heard of a journal subscription where you can read someone else’s journal. And if there is such a thing, I might wonder if, knowing that it’s being written for the public, it’s an honest journal.