Sometimes, you just have to get it all out on paper—whatever ‘it’ may be. As it turns out, writing every day can help you lead a more altruistic life. One study even found that journaling for 15–20 minutes every day could lead to increased health benefits, like lower blood pressure.
Before you totally ‘write off’ the idea, consider the benefits that come along with journaling a little every day. Check out these five ways that getting your thoughts down on paper (or on your laptop) can help cultivate a more philanthropic focus.
1. Stress Relief
You may not realize that you have a lot to say weighing on your chest. So do tell, what’s been on your mind lately? No need to tell us; instead you should write it down as a way to relieve stress and anxiety.
You don’t always need a writing prompt to do good for your mental health. Simply sit down and put the pen to paper, writing down whatever comes to mind. This may feel awkward at first, but the more you write the easier it will become. There’s something about getting your thoughts all down on paper that allows stress to disappear. Some journalers even go to the extreme of crumpling the thoughts and throwing them away. There are no right or wrong answers in journaling—all you need to do is write!
Contrary to popular belief, creativity isn’t necessarily something you’re born with. In reality, practice truly does make perfect. Studies have found that you can increase your creativity through repetition. When feeling stuck, try searching online for writing prompts or pushing yourself to think of a new scenario each time you write. Consider different word choices instead of the first one that comes to mind. The more you practice, the more creativity will flow throughout other parts of your life.
3. Goal Setting
The first step to achieve a goal is to visualize it and keep it top of mind. Think about what you’d like to accomplish. Write down your goal, and then document your progress each and every day. One example could be that you want to do something kind every day, no matter how big or small. Hold yourself accountable by writing down that act of kindness each day. Maybe it’s as simple as calling a friend on the phone or paying for somebody else’s coffee. If you put it to paper each day, you can look back on how far you’ve come.
Small acts of self discipline add up to huge feats. At first, taking time to journal each day may seem like a daunting task. However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Soon you’ll find that the self discipline you learn could carry over to other areas of your life. By breaking down a large task into smaller tasks of self-discipline, you’ll find that other tasks and goals become more manageable. If you could be disciplined enough to journal for a few minutes every day, think of the other possibilities in your life if you put your mind to it.
5. IQ Boost
That’s right—it’s not just studying that can make you smarter. Practicing your writing skills will have you flexing your brain, which leads to a strengthened IQ. Journaling means you’ll use different parts of your brain on a more regular basis. History shows us that some bright minds were journalers, such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and more!
Now it’s time to get out that pen and paper. If you’re more the computer keyboard type, do a quick Google search for free journaling apps—there are plenty of good ones out there. Once you get into writing, the health and wellness benefits will soon trickle into other aspects of your life. As time goes by, you may even realize how much you rely on your daily journaling sessions.