Science Explains How Keeping a Journal Makes can make you Mentally Stronger

September 29, 2016 1 Comment


Keeping a journal may be too boring, or too much work for many people. Trust me, I've battled this myself!  But there are a lot of mental benefits in recording your daily life and activities.  Keeping a journal helps you process events.  Allows a safe place to vent out, express and at the same time sharpen your mind through the daily practice of memory recall.  Lastly, it may even help drive creativity, as you are constantly exercising your brain.

The Science

Researchers from the Advances in Psychiatric Treatment found that writing three to five times for 15 minutes a session was enough to help the participants deal with emotional and even traumatic events. However, it's also more about how you write about those feelings.

In another study, researchers told participants to write about one of three things.


  • Group A focused on how they felt about a stressful situation.
  • Group B wrote about the thoughts and feelings they had when dealing with stress.
  • Group C was told to write factually, without emotion, about events in the media.


The participants who wrote about their thoughts and feelings on an event were less likely to focus on the trauma or anxiety.  This is because they were able to process the entire event which allowed the brain to see the positive benefits.

The other group who wrote only about their emotions actually suffered more. This group was focusing more on the negative feelings associated with the event.  By writing these emotions down, it becomes more engrained in the participant's minds.  

Worst case scenario, it's still better to write those negative thoughts out than to keep all those feelings bundled inside, according to these researchers.   Writing about negative thoughts prevent you from avoiding them, which is linked to helping you be able to cope with stress more effectively.

 A researcher from North Carolina State University, Kitty Klein says that “If you’re suffering from a traumatic or stressful event, your ability to pay attention and focus on life’s stressors isn’t what it should be.” 

Don't avoid the issue with trauma as it can really build up!

Journal writing helps identify these issues and which enables you to focus on the problem and figure out a solution in your mind. It's never good to bottle anything inside.  If writing can't help, you need to find a way to release.

How It Helps

Your brain is like a muscle.  The more you train it and exercise it, the sharper you will become.  You don't have to be going through stressful times to pick up regular journal writing.  Having aa notebook around to jot down notes here and there can still be very useful.  Aside from processing emotions and thoughts, recording accomplishments, mistakes, or even just the little things that happen day to day can be a great exercise for the brain.  What is really cool is that you can look back in 10 years and see how you evolved as a person. 


Jotting down words into your notebook journal are private ways you can deal with your daily stress or whatever issues you may have.  When you keep a journal, you’re able to approach and release the anxiety you have. A journal provides a safe and secure environment for you to express yourself, your feelings and thoughts.

It can be a very valuable tool to alleviate any pressure built up that you normally couldn't release or share with others. 

Don't know where to start?

The most important thing about keeping a journal is that it needs to be about you! 

Find whichever method suits you best.  Most importantly is to build the habit of writing until it's become an ease for you. The traditional pen and paper method is a fast way to get started. 

There are several notebooks on the market to choose from.  A popular choice is Moleskine notebooks, the colorful Piccadilly notebooks, Leuchtturm1917 for the more serious.  And of course, MIKOL offers it's own marble notebook journal version if you want something classy.

If you're used to using a computer, word document is always an easy go-to tool.  Or there are plenty of journaling apps to choose from in the app store. Here you can combine your thoughts with photos, videos, and links. You can also use a simple word processor and keep everything stored in the cloud.

Another fun option is to try blogging. Or blogging sites such as Reddit if you are looking for outside feedback. The internet is a great platform to do so.

There are no rules when it comes to keeping a journal. Just have fun! But remember to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself if privacy is a concern.

You don't need to be a terrific writer.  This is YOUR journal and it is a judgment free zone. Instead, keep your writing time all about you and you’ll quickly see the results.

Remember, it usually takes 21 days consistently to build a new habit.  Give it a little time to soak in.

And try to enjoy!

1 Response


September 14, 2022

I love writing, and this article was helpful, but I also copy a lot especially from the Bible, I copied the whole Bible in two years, by printing each that beneficial to my brain if I copy things..

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