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Journal your way to happiness

The perks of keeping a journal, and some tips on how to get started.

As a kid, you were probably familiar with the concept of keeping a diary. For many it was a safe, private outlet for reaching clarity by writing down whatever they were feeling and experiencing at the time. All without fear of judgment or repercussions.

While some discarded the practice in adulthood, others stayed the course. The only difference was semantics, as the daily pursuit of clarity became known as “journaling.”

From historical figures like Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Marie Curie to modern successes like Winfrey, Buffett and Lady Gaga, there are countless examples of the perks created by recording thoughts, feelings or anything else going on upstairs. Here are just a few benefits, followed by tips for getting started.

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Perks

Hamster wheel paused

When a lot is racking your brain, its hard to process any of it. Writing it down helps silence the noise, allowing you to de-stress, gain perspective, uncover opportunities and increase self-awareness.

Self-care deepened

As a means of coping, journaling can also bring emotional and physical healing from life’s various struggles, such as failed relationships, grief, loss and mental health challenges.

Goals tracked & achieved

What better way to monitor your intentions and hold yourself accountable than journaling? Not only will goals remain top of mind, but youll also get a picture of progress from reviewing prior entries and a boost of confidence when you achieve what you aspired to.

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Tips

Prompt yourself

Dont know where to begin? Try developing a list of go-to questions. What would I say to my younger self? What do I fear? What am I grateful for? Having a bank of prompts can take you in eye-opening directions.

Sloppy is beautiful

Journaling should be more stream-of-thought than manicured grammar. Forget editing, err to your hearts desire and enjoy the process. Some days youll be Hemingway and others Bozo the Clown, which is perfect.

Break the mold

Writing on paper can be most impactful, but should that be the rule? If youre visual, expressing yourself by sketching in an art journal could be rewarding. Or making quick digital notes when youre strapped for time. If you journal consistently, the benefits will come.

Sources: createwritenow.com; healthy.kaiserpermanente.org; simplyfiercely.com; tinybuddha.com; urmc.rochester.edu; vanillapapers.net

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