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By Doreene Clement

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The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Keeping a journal has many advantages and benefits. Whether you write a few lines or pages, through journaling, you can record and track a lot of information that can be easily retained for future reference. You can actually see what you were thinking because your thoughts and experiences are in a journal. When you commit to writing them down, you've put your thoughts and experiences into a solid form. Below are some examples of the benefits of keeping a journal.

Reduces stress - Journaling has a proven benefit of reducing stress. Once you've journaled, you don't carry as much of what you've written about within you. It's on the paper or in the computer. By journaling, you give yourself a powerful form of self-expression, and through that expression you can gain clarity, release and relief.

Setting goals and resolutions - You can actually see and better understand what you want, what is important to you and how you feel through journaling. Then you can create goals and resolutions to support what you're thinking and writing about.

Organizes - Journaling your goals and what you want to accomplish for the day, the month, the year or a lifetime is an excellent tool to help you get those things done. You can create a personal checklist of "things to do."

Helps focus - Writing in a journal creates more personal awareness and, therefore, more focus on the issues that are important to you.

The routine and habit of journaling means making time for you - When you set aside time for yourself, you can feel the benefit and gain from doing something specifically for yourself. It can show up in other areas of your life, as you carry that time you've spent on yourself within you and everywhere you go.

Start your journal on any day of the year - Journaling is something you can start today, stop tomorrow and pick up again next year. You can start and stop as you want. You can skip a day. It's your journal.

Journal entries record the day, tracking your life - When keeping a journal, you record your experiences, dreams, ideas, desires, thoughts and more, for reflecting on now and in the future. You're telling your story to yourself.

Can better understand and accept yourself and others - Whether you re-read your journal or not, you can gain benefits from writing down your story and your thoughts. You're writing about how you see and experience life.

You can compare and explore the times of your life - Awareness of the past can teach and support your future.

Creates a good personal reminder - As you journal the times of your life, if you're still writing about the same things over and over, it can help support your idea of what is working in your life and what is not. You're creating a record, and with that record in hand, it's easier to see patterns, changes and shifts. You can always ask yourself, "What do I want to carry with me?"

Provides personal growth and freedom - Journaling can be a wonderful tool to help better understand yourself and the world that surrounds you.

Becomes a treasured keepsake, a written scrapbook - A journal is a catalog of your memories. Over time, your memories become an irreplaceable treasure that can be looked at years from now—by you, or if you wish, by others.

Records and tracks business, personal or financial information - There are many ways to benefit from journaling, because there are many ways to keep a journal. A business journal can track appointments, meetings, finances, or log data. A personal journal can be about dreams, family, health, diets, hobbies, travel, or any other topic you want to record and track.

Journals are great gifts for friends, family or to give yourself - You can give the benefits of journaling to a friend or to yourself. With the benefits of journaling in mind, and the insights and power it can give to someone else or to YOU, consider journaling. If you never journaled, consider starting. If you have journaled but have quit, consider starting a journal again.

Remember—write it down, get it out. There is power in the expression of writing.

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Doreene Clement is the creator of The 5 Year Journal. Journal the next 5 years in minutes a day. Subscribe to her column, About Journaling, at


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Last Updated 11/23/2004