Personal Development

Dear Diary: 5 Reasons You Should Keep a Journal

It seems that everyone is stressed about something, but keeping a journal is a great way to track your thoughts and release your frustration in a healthy way.

I’ve been keeping a diary or journal for about five years now as I started my first official one going into my freshman year of high school. My first diary was an Easter present from my grandpa that I had no intention of using, but one day I picked it up and started writing about my day or the current guy I was crushing on.

Diaries and journals have long been considered something only teenage girls own to pour out feelings about their crushes or record secrets, but those days are gone.

By keeping a journal through high school and now college, I’ve learned that it has plenty of benefits. If you don’t keep a journal, here are five reasons you should run to the store and grab one right now.

1. It reduces stress.

woman writing a diary

Keeping a journal has helped me deal with the great amount of stress that comes with balancing school, work and social time. There are days when I don’t feel like talking to my friends or family, but writing about life’s little hiccups helps me to work out whatever problem I’m facing.

When you put the pen to the paper and just let the words flow, it can help you think out a problem and lead you to a decision. We don’t take every little problem we face to friends or family, so it’s nice to have a safe space to write about the things that frustrate us without judgment.

A journal doesn’t have to be about what you do during the day; it’s a place for you to write about worries, hopes and whatever else you consider important. I write poetry, quotes, memories and song titles in mine along with a lot of other things.

2. It helps you to remember things.

Close up lifestyle soft image of pretty young woman sitting on her cozy bed and making notes to her diary

As I’ve already said, a journal doesn’t have to be restricted to what happened during your day. You can carry a small notebook with you to jot down your grocery lists, someone’s phone number, important appointments or whatever else it might come in handy for.

With smart phones, you can keep your notes neatly tucked away on an application but your phone can also crash, causing you to lose whatever you were keeping on it.

If I think of a line for a poem that I want to go back to later I jot it down then work from there. Sometimes I just write down good memories too, even if it’s something as simple as getting an A on an exam.

3. It motivates you.

Young girl writing in her journal while sitting at a large window

I’ve made it a habit to write down my favorite quotes in my journal—that way they’re all in the same place. Some are about love, some are about loss and some don’t fit into any particular category but it’s nice to re-read them every once in a while.

I like to go back and flip through past entries; I like to mark them with a date to see what I was going through or what I was writing about a few weeks or months ago.

It’s really interesting to read through older entries to see how my life has changed or how I’ve changed as a person. I have days where I don’t feel like I’ve made any progress in my life but keeping a journal has allowed me to see all of the things I’ve accomplished and recognize that I’m constantly moving forward.

When you’re in a slump, refreshing your memory and reacquainting yourself with the moments you’ve recorded can be a great way to cheer up.

4. It flexes your creative side.

Woman with pretty socks sitting in bed and writing in note book

As a writer, my journal is multipurpose. I use it to write down good memories, jot down ideas and I even doodle a little bit. Journals are popular for writing, but art journals are becoming increasingly popular.

An art journal is a place for artists to draw, paint and create art in any way they choose. Musicians even keep journals to compose songs in or write down ideas for lyrics.

You don’t have to be a creative person to keep a journal by any means. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you should still keep a diary or journal; they’re a healthy way of expressing yourself in whatever way you want to use it.

5. It helps you to work on your handwriting.

Young woman writes to diary on a white table

For quite a while now, our bosses and professors have encouraged and required us to use laptops for most of our work if not all of it. Sure, I like typing because I can type a lot faster than I can write, but I still have a great appreciation for handwriting.

Anyone can type something on a computer and choose a generic font, but our handwriting styles are all different and unique.

One thing I hate is that after I learned cursive in third grade I never used it much, so now here I am in my 20s and my signature looks awful. Even though I don’t keep my diary in cursive, the point is that practice really does make perfect in this case. I’ve started to try to do some entries in cursive as a start to improve it.

Do you keep a journal? What do you like to write about most? Let me know in the comments below!

About the author

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Colleen Wuertz

I am a 21 year old English student and radio intern who spends most of my time writing stories and conquering the world one concert at a time. My personal motto, "Do whatever makes you happy and don't apologize for it".

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