Chances are good you’ve heard rumors that journaling is good for your mental health. Turns out, it’s absolutely true! In fact, there are a lot of benefits to journaling—for kids, teens, and adults. Find out why you should encourage your students to journal on a regular basis (and consider starting a journal for yourself too!).
1. Journaling strengthens handwriting and typing skills
Sometimes, it’s not so much about what they’re writing, but that they’re taking the time write at all. At its most basic level, journaling is a writing activity. Whether kids write in notebooks or type in a digital journal, they’ll improve those important fine motor skills.
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2. It develops written communication skills
Dialogue journals can be a really clever way for students to communicate with their teachers or parents. Each takes turns writing an entry, asking questions or continuing a discussion. It’s a low-stakes way to have important conversations.
3. Journals provide a place to collect information
In addition to personal journals, students can create journals for different school subjects. They’re more than just a place to take notes during class. These journals also provide space for questions as they study, research they do, charts and diagrams, and other ways for students to process relevant information.
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4. Writing in journals sharpens memory
When students use journals to jot notes for future reference, or spend time writing about their experiences, they’re improving both their short-term and long-term memory. The more details they add, the more benefit they’ll see.
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5. Journals can keep kids organized
For many, organization is one of the primary benefits of journaling. Kids can make schedules, plan for projects, note any deadlines or important dates, and more. Bullet journaling is especially popular for those who need more organization in their lives.
6. Journal writing encourages creativity
Journaling can be about more than just writing. Encourage students to add color, sketches, decorations, stickers, and even clippings to their pages. In addition to making the experience more fun, it allows students to see their journals as something truly personal.
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7. Journaling reduces stress
Study after study has shown that writing down your thoughts can offer instant stress relief. In fact, it’s one of the most recommended activities for dealing with stress, at any age.
8. It can even improve immune function
Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of journaling is the fact that scientists now believe it can help keep you physically healthy! Reducing stress keeps your body in top-notch shape, enabling it to better fight off all those nasty cold and flu germs that infest every school come winter.
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9. Journaling helps deal with negative thoughts and worries
It’s no secret that kids these days seem to have more worries than ever before. As schools embrace mindfulness and encourage students and teachers to prioritize their mental health, journaling can provide a concrete way to support those efforts.
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10. It clarifies thinking
When kids write their thoughts down and then review them, it can help them think more clearly about difficult subjects. This allows them to make better choices and feel confident in their decisions.
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11. Journaling regulates emotion
As students use journal writing to clarify their thoughts, they can also identify and understand emotions. They can separate fear from anger, or determine what’s really causing their general anxiety about life. A mood tracker can help with emotional regulation, revealing patterns they might not otherwise recognize.
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12. Writing in a journal can boost your mood
Perhaps it is not surprising that after kids write about their worries, stresses, and emotions, they tend to feel better! Journaling allows them to leave some of that behind on the page, understanding they can return to it later if they need to.
13. Journaling helps kids prioritize
Kids, especially teens, tend to have a lot going on in their lives at once. By high school, they’re expected to manage many of those items more or less on their own. They need to learn how to prioritize tasks and manage their time well. A journal can help them determine which items need higher priority and make smart plans for their time.
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14. It builds self-confidence
Countering negative self-talk is hard for many people who find it easier to believe bad things about themselves. Reflecting on their positive attributes in a journal can help kids overcome those negative thoughts. Then they can spend time writing down positive self-talk instead.
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15. Journals are a way to set and achieve goals
Habit trackers are common in bullet journals, but anyone can use them. The concept is simple: Set a goal and measurement intervals, then simply check off the box each time you complete it. This holds students accountable and gives them a way to review their progress over time.
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16. Journaling supports critical thinking
Journals are a place to analyze and evaluate information, writing down your own questions as you work to form an opinion. Kids can use journals to prepare for school projects, or simply to give more thought to topics that interest or concern them.
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17. Journaling sparks inspiration
Encourage students to review their journals from time to time. They might find new ideas for creative projects, goals they’ve forgotten about, or reasons to feel proud about the progress they’ve made!
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18. Journals give kids an outlet
At their very root, journals are intensely personal. Teachers should avoid insisting on reading every page, as this can negate many of the top benefits of journaling. Let students use them as a personal outlet, a place to say whatever they like. From time to time, teachers might ask students to share a page or two, but don’t be afraid to simply set aside time in your schedule for kids to journal however it feels right to them.
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