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Why journaling is good for you?

journaling Mar 15, 2023

Whether you are proficient at journaling or, like me, have a haphazard approach there are some potent benefits to the practice. If you have never taken it up, that’s totes ok too! It’s never too late to start.

Journaling is the practice of taking pen to paper (or via a journaling app or other platform) and expressing your thoughts. It can be a powerful tool for improving mental health, anxiety, stress, worry or overwhelm, particularly when gratitude is integrated.

The act of giving thanks to others or ourselves, giving thanks to the Earth, Mother Nature, the Divine or your chosen God, all work to enlighten the mind and cause heightened state of happiness. It can also have a healing effect on our mental and physical states. (Russell & Fosha, 2008). 

Here are some ways that journaling can help:

Reducing stress and anxiety: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you release the stress and anxiety that you're carrying. It can also help you identify the sources of your stress and anxiety so that you can address them more effectively.

Improving mood: Journaling can help improve your mood by providing a space for you to reflect on positive experiences and accomplishments. Focusing on the positive can help you feel more optimistic and hopeful about the future.

Enhancing self-awareness: Journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. This increased self-awareness can help you better understand yourself and make positive changes in your life.

Resolving conflicts: Writing about conflicts or challenging situations can help you gain perspective and find new solutions. It can also help you work through difficult emotions and come to a place of acceptance or forgiveness.

Boosting creativity: Journaling can be a way to express your creativity and explore new ideas. It can also be a way to document your life experiences and memories.

The act of giving gratitude (or even receiving it!) causes our brain to releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters that are responsible for our emotions. They are the best kind of natural drug as they make us feel ‘good’. These hormones immediately enhance our mood, making us feel happy.

In one randomized trial 230 participants in three groups were tasked with either psychology sessions, psychology and expressive writing or gratitude journaling. Interesting after 12 weeks the group who practiced writing about what they are grateful demonstrated higher levels of wellness, happier states and improved mental health. The group who attend psychology sessions and writing about their feelings, some of which included stressful or triggering experiences, presented with lower states of mental health. (Wong, Owen, Gabana, Brown, McInnis, Toth & Gilman, 2018).

To get started with journaling, find a quiet place where you can write without interruption. Set aside a specific time each day to journal, even if it's just for a few minutes. To embrace a gratitude journal start by writing three things you have been grateful for that day. To extend further in your journaling write whatever comes to mind, without worrying about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. To prompt your writing, you could try expressing your thoughts and feelings, your goals and aspirations, or your daily experiences. 

Remember that journaling is a personal practice, so feel free to experiment with different formats and approaches until you find what works best for you.

My Potent Journaling Prompts free download is a great resource that is available here. It has pages of journaling ideas that can inspire reflection on areas of your life including:

  • Motivation and Action Taking
  • Emotion and Self Reflection
  • Gratitude and Happiness
  • Relationships

It also explains all the various methods there are for your journal practice.


Purcell, Maud. "The health benefits of journaling." Psych Central (2006).

Lai, Siew Tim. (2017). 'The Three Good Things' – The effects of gratitude practice on wellbeing: A randomised controlled trial. Health Psychology Update. 26. 10.

Carroll, Ryder. The bullet journal method: Track the past, order the present, design the future. Penguin, 2018

Joel Wong, Jesse Owen, Nicole T. Gabana, Joshua W. Brown, Sydney McInnis, Paul Toth & Lynn Gilman(2018)Does gratitude writing improve the mental health of psychotherapy clients? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial, Psychotherapy Research, 28:2, 192-202, DOI: 10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332