Five benefits of keeping a diary

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. pencil markings endure longer than memory.”

Jack London

What happens to the human consciousness when it “downloads” its worries, fears and excitements on paper? Keeping a diary when we feel anxious, gloomy or happy can have a huge impact on our mental health.

When we write, we discover what our emotions “tell” us about our experiences, the sensations of our body, and our needs. The diary is a tool that allows us to express and discover ourselves in an authentic way.

Keeping a diary is a form of therapy that can be done individually, but also in a group and has many benefits.

Benefits of therapeutic diary keeping

  1. Reduces stress – Bringing internal worries out – on a piece of paper, does not allow them to remain hidden, in the shadow, unconscious, and begin to fester, subsequently leading to a negative impact on our lives.
  2. Regulates emotions – according to some studies, expressive writing reduces the activity of the amygdala, the part of our brain that is responsible for recording information from the environment, and the intensity of the response, as well as emotions. By expressing emotions such as anger, sadness and fear, one can calm down and control the outburst of more serious emotions.
  3. Improves working memory – memories of various, traumatic and disturbing events can be fragmented or blocked in our memory and subsequently affect decision-making. By connecting certain experiences and memories into a complete narrative, we gain a more holistic understanding of the experience and form an adequate representation of it – without fragmenting and blocking individual memories, which will hinder us in the future.
  4. General well-being – building a habit of keeping a diary leads to overall physical, emotional and mental well-being. When we are aware of our events, experiences, and emotions, we put less energy into suppressing them or struggling with what we don’t understand and worry about. As a result, we become more balanced and can use this energy to allow our body to heal, to play sports, or just to enjoy life.
  5. Achieving Goals – A study by the University of California, Dominican Republic, shows that 42% of those who write about their goals actually manage to achieve them more easily.

By using the diary for therapeutic purposes, we consciously explore our inner world by writing about what we may avoid thinking about, dreaming about or experiencing, and it allows us to take control of our emotions and inner experiences. When we write honestly and expressively about the things that happen to us and we go through, we rediscover ourselves. This in itself gives us strength and confidence: we realize that we are the conscious creators of our own lives.

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