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Learn How Journaling Can Improve Your Mental Health and Wellness

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August 16, 2019

Take a moment to think back to your formative years. Chances are you had a journal or a diary that was filled to the brim with your memories both sweet and sour. When you’re young, you often feel more inclined to record your thoughts to preserve your memories so your future self can have a good cry or laugh — maybe even both. You probably never stopped to think just how therapeutic the art of journaling truly was for you.

What are the benefits of journaling?

The benefits of journaling are just the same today as they were when you were young. Taking just a few minutes out of the day to record some of your thoughts and memories can help increase your overall mental health and wellness. Journaling has grown in popularity over the last couple of years — thanks to the rise of bullet journals and digital options that help move the pen from paper to screen. And yet, some of us are still skeptical of what journaling can truly do for us.

Here are six benefits journaling can have on your life, mental health, and wellness:

1. Reduces stress both mentally and physically

Battling stress in its many forms can be damaging to your physical, mental and emotional health. That’s why developing positive habits is crucial to minimizing stress and its triggers. Journaling is a beautiful way to manage stress, and you only have to commit as little as 20 minutes a day in order to see improvement. Some of those improvements include lowering your blood pressure and improving liver functionality. Journaling your finances with Wellspent only takes 2-3 minutes a day; making it incredibly easy to incorporate in your everyday routine or meditation process.

2. Improves your memory over time  

If you're looking to keep your memory sharp, then journaling is the activity for you. Jotting down the things you experience on a day-to-day basis can help boost your memory and comprehension. It’s been reported that routine journaling increases working memory capacity, which may include improved cognitive processing. Writing out your feelings can help you organize and structure negative memories, resulting in a brighter outlook on yourself, others, and the world.

3. Increases your physical health

You may find it hard to believe, but writing in a journal could increase your physical health as well. Incorporating some form of journaling in your daily practice can strengthen your immunity and decrease your risk of illness. Like any routine you create, your body (and mind) will be thankful for the process you have introduced, which could help improve your overall physical well-being, too.

4. Boosts your mood and connection with others

The more you journal, the more expressive you will likely become to yourself and the people around you. The great thing is you don’t have to write in a diary format strictly. The psychologists who discovered the “Bridget Jones effect” suggest that writing poetry or even penning lyrics to a song as a way of expressing negative emotions can have a deep emotional impact on your well-being. They’ve also found that writing about your feelings can help the brain overcome emotional upsets and leave you feeling happier, longer.

5. Settle into a mindful practice

If you’re someone who has struggled with traditional forms of meditation in the past, then writing might be your way inside the practice. The art of journaling is a form of meditation. It’s essential to set aside time in your busy schedule to sit quietly and focus on a task. Doing so will help you express yourself in ways you may not be able to otherwise. When you incorporate your preferred form of expressive writing into a committed routine, you are then creating a mindful practice you can count on. Test the waters with various types of writing and find the format that suits you best. Once you've nailed that down, you can find some time in your busy schedule that feels easy to commit to and begin to follow through daily. It takes practice and patience to see results. Make sure you’re realistic with your efforts and never force something that doesn’t feel right to you.

6. Learn to make better spending decisions

Journaling is meant to inspire while providing an outlet for our emotions. At Wellspent, we believe that helping people learn to make good choices with their money and build positive money habits is an important life skill. The best way to learn how to spend better is to reflect on your purchases and use expressive writing (like journaling) to explore your feelings further. Money is emotional. Wellspent helps you navigate your spending and feelings all in one space. So you can track your progress and apply learnings to your future spending.  
How can I start journaling?

We encourage the practice of journaling your finances to help you better understand your feelings and behaviours. That’s why we encourage everyone to take the time to reflect on their purchases with Wellspent. When it comes to managing your money, there is simply no denying that there are a lot of emotions that come along with it. This could be attributed to the memories attached to the people, places, and things you spend money on, the amount you’re spending on a regular basis, or simply the emotional ups and downs that come with the territory.

Get started journaling today, download the Wellspent app.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change.  No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.