Journaling Every Day: 5 Life-Changing Benefits



Do you write in a journal every day? If so, you may already understand the benefits of doing so. If not, you’ll soon discover how putting pen to paper every day can benefit your mental and physical health, and even change your life. Journaling is one of the best ways to get your thoughts and ideas out of your head and onto paper. It’s a fantastic way to connect with yourself, reflect on your feelings, and discover new insights about life. Let’s look at some reasons journaling is a healthy practice.

Writing in a Journal Relieves Stress

Who doesn’t encounter stress in daily life? Too often, people deal with stress without directly confronting it and sorting through the feelings that go along with it. When you write about what’s bothering you in a journal and the challenges you’re facing, it releases some of those pent-up emotions that can cause anxiety and sleep problems. It’s also easier to keep things in perspective when you see it on paper rather than crammed into the dark recesses of your mind where those thoughts and emotions never see the light of day.

Is there science behind this idea? One study found writing about a past failure reduced the cortisol (a stress hormone) response when subjects encountered a new stressor. Other research shows journal writing and expressive writing reduces the cortisol and stress response to memories associated with past trauma.

Journaling helps us process thoughts and feelings in a productive way, so we’re less likely to hold onto toxic emotions such as anger or resentment toward others because we release them on paper and work through them rather than storing them up inside.

Increased Productivity

By writing in a journal, you release thoughts and emotions that might otherwise clog up your mind when you’re trying to work or accomplish things during the day. How many times have you found your mind drifting to something that worries or bothers you when you should be working? Get it all out in the open by writing it down in your journal and watch your productivity rise. For boosting productivity, journaling in the morning works best, so you’re ready to tackle the day with a clean slate.

Plus, journaling makes you more aware of productivity patterns, how you’re spending your time. For example, if you journal about how you spend time each day,  you may discover you’re spending too much time on social media or watching TV, which means you could save time by cutting down on these activities and focusing on more important tasks instead.

Boosts Creativity

How many ideas do you come up with during the day that you forget? More than you think! Don’t let those ideas disappear. Jot them down in your journal, so they’re safe and you can explore them further when you have the time.

If you keep those creative sparks crammed in your brain, they’ll crowd out fresh creative ideas. Use a journal as a brain dump for ideas that pop into your head. Write them down, even the ones that seem silly. You don’t need to censure what you put in your journal. It’s for your eyes only.

Better Sleep

Have you ever struggled to fall asleep because your mind was racing at 200 miles per hour with thoughts you couldn’t tame? Writing in a journal at bedtime gives you a chance to dump those thoughts on paper, so you don’t have to play them over in your mind after the lights go out.

A study of college studies who worried at bedtime found writing in a journal improved sleep quality, total sleep time, and reduced stress. Take that journal to bed with you and get your thoughts down on paper. Then, rest easy!


Journaling helps you see the bigger picture and appreciate life’s little moments and all you have to be grateful for. By taking the time to reflect on experiences, you become more mindful and aware of your blessings — whether it’s having enough food to eat tonight or having access to clean water. And when you’re more grateful, you feel happier and more fulfilled.

Find Solutions to Problems

Once you start writing your thoughts down about issues, you’ll have an easier time coming up with solutions to problems. When you get problems out of your mind and on to paper, you see them in a clearer light. It’s harder to be objective when thoughts are confined to your brain.

The Bottom Line

You can write whatever you wish in your journal – thoughts, plans, hopes, worries, or dreams. Don’t limit yourself by tightly structuring your writing. Make your journal a safe spot where anything goes. Write freely and don’t sensor your writing, as doing so can block thoughts and emotions. Although you can get apps for journaling, a simple notebook and pen will work just as well. Putting pen to paper creates a deeper connection and it’s easier to remember what you write by hand as opposed what you type into an app.

Keeping a journal is like exercise or meditation: if you do it regularly, it can improve your mental health. You’ll get the most benefits if you’re consistent with your writing. Find the time that works best for you. You may discover that writing as soon as you wake up helps organize your thoughts and gets you ready for the upcoming day. Other people like to journal before bedtime to empty their mind before sleep. Whatever works for you is fine; the key is to do it consistently.


  • Behav. Neurosci., 23 March 2018 | doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00045.
  • “Journaling Before Bed Can Help You Sleep – Healthgrades.” 16 Dec. 2020, www.healthgrades.com/right-care/sleep-disorders/journaling-before-bed-can-help-ward-off-sleeplessness.
  • “The Connection Between Writing and Sleep | Psychology Today.” 12 Jan. 2018, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-waves/201801/the-connection-between-writing-and-sleep.
  • Scullin MK, Krueger ML, Ballard HK, Pruett N, Bliwise DL. The effects of bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomnographic study comparing to-do lists and completed activity lists. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2018 Jan;147(1):139-146. doi: 10.1037/xge0000374. Epub 2017 Oct 23. PMID: 29058942; PMCID: PMC5758411.”15 Benefits of Journaling and Tips for Getting Started.” 22 Feb. 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-journaling.
  • “83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress.” 09 May. 2022, https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/.
  • Short Summary: your daily thoughts, feelings, actions, and experiences that can change your life for the better. Here are 5 reasons why.

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