5 Benefits of Keeping a Journal

    When I was in junior high, I had a super cool diary called a “password journal.” You pushed a button, said the password and the case unlocked to reveal a small spiral notebook. I thought it was the best thing ever.

    Then my little sister hacked it. She read all my entries about boy crushes and teenage angst—and I was mortified. I buried the journal in the woods (no joke!) and didn’t keep a diary again until college. Talk about scarred for life!

    There is a difference between a diary and a journal. A diary is an account of daily events, a personal look at daily life. But a journal goes deeper. In a journal you can record thoughts, prayers, worries and the daily circumstances that make up your existence. Some people have different journals for different things. The benefits of keeping a journal are many, but here are five to get you started (especially if you don’t have little sisters around to read it!).


    1. Journaling helps you focus. Journaling—whether daily, weekly or monthly—helps you transfer the wandering thoughts in your brain to a piece of paper. In doing so, you process these thoughts more completely. If you’re struggling to handle your busy schedule, feel like you’re always forgetting something or overwhelmed by everything swirling in your mind, write it out! Putting it on paper gives a visual thought process from which you can make a plan. Writing out your ideas and concerns helps you focus on what really matters.
    2. Journaling relieves stress. When we feel unfocused, our stress level spikes. It’s that sense that life is spinning out of control and we don’t know what to prioritize first. A great way to fix this is—once again—journaling! Rather than internalize all those feelings and to-dos, write them out where you can tangibly deal with them. If you’re worried about a big decision, write it out as a prayer. Remember: There is no wrong way to journal. You get to make it individual to your personality and situation!
    3. Journaling alleviates anger. If you’re at all like me, stress makes you prone to anger. We become more irritated when we are under duress. Rather than lash out at the first person who looks at you cross-eyed, write out your feelings in a private place. Tell the Lord what’s going on in your heart (He already knows!). This is especially important in relationships. You might really want to give a certain friend or family member a piece of your mind, but before you do, simply write out what you’d like to say to them on paper. Then reread it a few hours (or days) later. Do you still feel the same way? Do you need to journal a prayer repenting of your attitude? Do you need to rip out those pages and throw them away? Use your journal to deal with your emotions in a healthy manner.
    4. Journaling is not one-size-fits-all. As previously stated, journaling won’t look the same for everyone. A great example of this is bullet journaling, a minimalistic approach to planning and tracking your days. If you look up bullet journaling on Instagram, you’ll see thousands of different layouts and ideas, each one individual to the author’s taste. You get to make journaling work for you!
    5. Journaling helps you draw near to God. Finally, journaling is a great way to draw near to God—particularly if you struggle to pray. If you have a hard time focusing when you pray, try writing out your prayers. Bring a journal with you wherever you go and write out your prayers before class, at lunch or even in your car. I find that writing out prayers keeps me focused and more intentional about what I say. Though I often get distracted when I’m praying “in my head,” writing the words on paper keeps me engaged in conversation with the Lord, and it may help you as well.

    Do you love journaling? Share your favorite journaling ideas and tips in the comments below or in our Facebook group!

    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer
    Phylicia Masonheimer is an author and speaker teaching women how to discern what is true, discuss the deep stuff, and accomplish God's will for their specific lives. She holds a B.S. in Religion from Liberty University, where she met her husband, Josh, and now lives in northern Michigan with her two daughters, Adeline and Geneva.


    1. I’ve been journaling for years now, and I have definitely noticed all of these benefits in my life. It is super hard for me to keep up with doing it on a daily, or even semi-regular, basis, but I’m getting more in the hang of it nowadays. I love going back and reading my old journals, looking at how my handwriting is changed and seeing the kind of things I worried about back when I was 14. Filling a journal is legitimately one of the most satisfying things I’ve done, to be honest. It really does make me feel so accomplished. I also use my journal to keep track of my memory verses and my daily devostions. I’m currently in the process of memorizing the Psalms (yes, the whole book, and yes, its going to take a long time), so everyday I write out the chapter I’m currently working on. Then I write out the daily verse for my morning devotion, my response to it, and my prayer to the Lord to help me implement what I’ve learned. Then I get into the nromal journaling part about my feelings, how my day was, etc. I’ve noticed that I feel much happier and more relaxed on the days that I journal. I’ve also noticed that it keeps me more focused specifically on God, as well as focused in general.
      All that to say, I would definitely recommend keeping a journal to anyone and everyone. Its a wonderful habit to make, and I would encourage you to try.

    2. My grandmother gave me my first journal in 2007. I was terrible at keeping a journal regularly (something I regret), but have gotten better. All of these things are accurate! I am one of those people who has multiple journals for different things. It’s so cool/embarrassing to look back at the old journals. Cool to see and remember and embarrassing because your handwriting is terrible and you cannot spell 🙂

      I encourage everyone to keep a journal! I barely wrote when I started out, but you can and do develop the habit! Don’t give up!

    3. My first journal was from my life group leader in my 8th grade yr. Personality I think I’m horrible at it!if you read it you’d be sooo confused! Sometimes I’ll be thinking something and Mia writing half of it down cause I thought I already had. M
      For a time I put my entries in a prayer form.
      Another time I did pin point highlights of the day.
      Other times I just spilled out my heart about almost everything untill I got writters cramp.
      None of it is neat ,but it’s cool to see difference.
      I say write good and bad things cause I used to write allot of negative things and so I started to learn to write HAPPY things so I can see every aspect of my life.

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