I’m not a neuroscientist (and I don’t play one on TV) but I can tell you that writing in your journal, by hand, has tremendous mental benefits. It is an age old ritual we can’t seem to let go of, paper journals are still as popular as ever. And thank goodness!
Keyboards, tablets, and phones are incredible tools. I’m on them pretty much all day long. They are convenient, almost always with me, have countless uses, and are essential for me in order to run my business from anywhere.
There is still a longing, a craving to sit down in a comfy chair, with a cup of tea at the ready along with a favorite pen, and a notebook filled with smooth writing paper.
There are huge benefits in taking the time to write out your thoughts and ideas by hand.
Here are just a few:
1) It Slows You Down:
We don’t write nearly as fast as we type and that is not a bad thing. Slowing down to write out a memory, a feeling or experience helps us look at what happened more closely. It’s an opportunity to reflect on an event and carefully document it.
When we take the time to reflect and write out on what happened it becomes easier to remember the small but important details.
2) Creative Connections:
I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.
~ Flannery O’Conner
As you write you are fully engaged in the process. Your pen moves across the paper as your brain sends signals to your hand telling it what to write.
With your brain and senses engaged you start to identify themes, solutions and creative connections that you have not seen before. Amazing “aha” moments can happen as you write in your journal.
3) Increased Memory & Awareness:
Confession, if I don’t take notes during a church service or write out a prayer in the morning, I will most likely fall asleep. It’s the physical act of writing that helps me stay engaged and aware in the moment. It also helps me remember important points.
Journaling works the same way. Lara Casey has a new journal in her shop called, “Write the Word”. Each day has a passage of scripture to write out and reflect on. When you write out a verse you understand it differently then when you hear or read it. You will engage with it in a deeper way. You will remember it longer.
My challenge for you to day is to sit down and write in your journal. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, long or even readable. Just write. Get it out of your head. Write, even if it is only for 5 minutes.
For further reading you might find these articles interesting:
- Why Writing By Hand Could Make You Smarter
- Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages
- Why It’s Worth Making Time For This Lengthy Morning Ritual
- Why you need to be the Storycatcher of your life
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.