To Journal or Not to Journal

I have a love/hate relationship with journaling. I have been keeping journals since 1988, and I buy new ones every year, sometimes more than one. But when I look back at my journals, I always feel sad to see all the blank pages where I stopped writing mid-year. To fix this, I have changed my routine and now keep ten journals. One is for everything I’m currently studying, but I’m not sure if it’s journaling or just note-taking. At least I know which journal to look in when I need to remember an inspired idea.

 Experts say that journaling is good therapy, but I’m not so sure. I’m not a big fan of writing because my handwriting is not great, and printing takes too long. I could use an electronic journal, but I love the creative pleasure of opening up a pretty journal. I spend a lot of time deciding what color pen I want to use, and whether it should be a gel pen, felt tip, or plain bic. It’s silly to have such conflict over a task that only takes ten minutes.

 My current coach is asking us to journal every day, but I’ve tried several methods, such as Wild Mind Writing and the three-pages-a-day from The Artist’s Way, and none of them work for me. So, what is the science behind journaling?

The Science Behind Journaling

According to a study from India, writing activates more brain regions than typing. When writing, you have to think about what you are writing, and you will remember the events of your day better if you write them down. Writing in your journal also helps clear your brain to gain more clarity. It’s like making a list to clear your thoughts. Rather than having a cycle of thoughts running around in your head, you can write them in your journal, analyze them, and free your brain to focus on your dreams.

 Speaking of dreams, journals are also a great place to let your creative ideas flow without judgment. You can free-flow with your pen to tap into your inner wisdom, solve problems, and create solutions. Or, you could keep a dream journal of all those crazy dreams you have at night. I would need another journal for that.

Although I argue with myself about writing in my journal every day, I’m always glad I did when it’s time for introspection and celebrating my accomplishments. Someday, my children will find my journals in the attic, and who knows, the information contained within might be book-worthy, or they will get a terrific laugh!