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Journaling to Improve Health

Do you have a goal to start journaling in 2024?

A common answer I hear when asking what people do for self-care is journaling. As we’re approaching the new year, you may have a goal to make journaling part of your daily routine in 2024.

You may have a preconceived idea of journaling that makes it seem silly or childish. Trust me, I get it. Thoughts of your childhood diary come rushing in with sticker filled pages and goofy thoughts about love and friendship. Or maybe you have tried journaling in your adult life and have struggled to stay committed to making it a part of your life.

Well, regardless of the ideas you may have about journaling, it has many mental and physical health benefits. A journal can be much more than a place to record your memories.

There are many reasons to start journaling. It’s a great way to look at your day-to-day life and reflect on where you have been and the thoughts and feelings that have carried you through. By doing this, you can learn to better understand yourself by prioritizing problems, fears, and concerns you are experiencing.

There are many benefits to journaling. It’s not just about expressing your thoughts through writing- you can make lists, organize plans, create reminders, and fill out a planner. Science has shown that journaling brings about only positive benefits. It improves mental and physical health, memory, relationships, and productivity.

You don’t have to be a great writer or have any creativity to keep a journal. You’re likely the only person that is going to read what you write.

Here are a few reasons why journaling is a great habit to form in 2024.

  • Journaling is an act of self-care. Ruminating on painful events repeatedly in your mind can be damaging to your mental health. By writing down the events, you allow yourself to recognize patterns in your behavior and identify what triggers your worry. You can gain clarity and control over your emotions by practicing journaling.
  • Journaling improves mental and physical health. Studies have shown that expressive writing such as journaling for only 15-20 minutes a day three to five times over a four-month-period, is enough to lower blood pressure and improve liver function. Journaling about your feelings is directly linked to a decrease in mental distress.
  • Journaling keeps memory sharp. When you write things down by hand, your brain can better process and commit to the memory. Journaling requires you to focus on a particular feeling or thought more than you would if you let it pass by day to day. Writing about the thoughts creates a more positive or productive memory of the experience rather than ruminating on only the negative details.
  • Journaling boosts mood. By putting your thoughts on paper, you can externalize your stress and put the feelings aside once they are written down rather than letting them become an obsession. A journal is a safe space to unload your thoughts and feelings, improving mental health and promoting stress relief.

As you can see, journaling has many mental and physical health benefits. As you begin journaling, it may feel uncomfortable at first. With regular practice it will become easier to let your thoughts flow freely. Growing more confident in recording your thoughts and experiences will allow you to see that what you think and feel is not who you are but rather what you are experiencing. You do not need to spend a great deal of time journaling to experience the positive and lasting effects.

Sidney Howard, Outreach Coordinator


Sidney Howard is an Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Midland University, where she was an Event Coordinator for four years. Sidney has previous experience in behavioral health, working with youth and adults in direct care settings. Sidney is passionate about raising awareness around mental health and providing support and resources. She joined the foundation in January of 2023 and currently focuses on outreach through presentations, events, and relations.