Here’s a quick fact: humans never stop learning. Even when you’re long done with formal schooling, there are massive amounts of information that comes your way from pretty much every direction—the news, social media, our emails, and even your friends. With so many things running through your head like everything is on fire, it can be really difficult to focus. Your brain is practically crying for an outlet to unload everything—there’s only so much you can remember!
This is why writing things down regularly—or journaling—can be extremely beneficial to you and your health. Not only will you give your brain a break from trying to contain and process everything you’ve encountered, but you’ll get to permanently record it in your favorite notebook! It’ll also give you something fun to read a few years down the road.
Here are three reasons journaling helps improve your productivity:
It Helps You Learn More
That’s right—journaling actually makes you smarter!
Think about students who write down summaries of their teacher’s lectures versus students who write down everything verbatim. The former are more likely to grasp the lesson since they framed it in their own understanding. Meanwhile, the latter students have to further process what they wrote since they focused on the mere act of recording the lecture rather than trying to comprehend it.
Writing down what you learn or can’t stop thinking about forces you to engage with it on paper rather than in the abstract spaces of your mind. It flexes your brain’s cognitive abilities and the way you receive, process, and retain information—which could definitely help your focus. You’ll be able to concretize what exactly you find so interesting about it, and you’ll end up learning even more on the topic!
It Helps You Process Your Experiences
The act of journaling actually improves your mental and physical health because it helps you process and cope with stressful events. Let’s face it—we’re all guilty of pushing emotional issues to the backburner for the sake of focusing on other things, but these inevitably blew up in our faces. The act of writing this down, though, helps you understand your reactions to such events and learn more about yourself.
Our mental health also impacts our physical health. You may not realize it, but anxiety can physically impact the body in many ways, like giving you a stomach ache or an increased heart rate. When you write down experiences that have been causing you anxiety, it helps you figure out what exactly is bothering you so much, which gives you the tools you need to address it. There have even been studies that observed the effects of journaling on groups of people. Participants reported an improvement in symptoms, like headaches, stress, and a reduction in anxiety!
You can even use a goal-setting journal or a relationship journal to help you process the milestones you want to achieve and your relationship with others. Having a designated receptacle for these thoughts will help you be more organized about pursuing them. This will also create space in your brain to focus on your day!
It Keeps You Focused
You probably have much more on your mind than you realize over the course of the day, and morning pages help you unload all that information onto paper. You’ll be able to start your day with a blank slate, which will definitely help you focus on your work. You’ve managed to wrangle the stray thoughts, after all!
Don’t worry about getting it “right”—there’s no wrong way to do it. Morning pages are supposed to be imperfect, messy, and for your eyes only—so don’t be afraid of sounding unimpressive.
Journaling is a place for you to be unapologetically you; a space where you can freely express yourself and engage with the ideas that have been crowding your head for days. Writing things down will not only improve your concentration at work, but it will also help you understand yourself better. The best part? All it takes is just a pen and some nice paper!
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