Joy is a funny thing–it’s not something that you can really find directly. It can even seem like the more we want it, the less of it we find. This is because joy is a result, not an end goal. Really, it’s about doing things that result in joy. For me, this means adding healthy habits to my life, like journal writing.

 Journaling brings me back to myself. It helps me to face my mistakes compassionately and appreciate my successes. It reminds me of who I am and who I want to be. It makes me a better version of myself, which makes for a happier me.

 In this article, I will talk about why keeping a daily journal can help you to have better relationships, less stress and anxiety, and more ability to set and achieve goals. If you want more guidance on how to journal, you can check out our free introduction to journaling course.

Journal Writing for Relationships

 Relationships are one of the best parts of life. However, when they aren’t going well, they can make everything else in life seem darker. When this is the case, journaling can help. Journal writing has been found to be related to self-awareness, likely because it helps you to see your thoughts and feelings down on paper. This gives you insight into what you’re doing to contribute to relationship problems. This gives you the information you need to effectively find solutions.

 Research has found that another benefit of journaling is increased awareness of others. This is also important for healthy relationships. It’s common to over-focus either on yourself or the other person, but the real goal is to gain a complete and objective understanding of the situation. Otherwise, you can fall into the pattern of always taking the blame or always assigning all of the blame, when in reality, the truth usually lies somewhere in between. Knowing the truth is imperative to effective problem-solving.

 Keeping a daily journal allows for greater awareness of yourself and others, so it helps you to see how you each contribute to the problem, and how external factors do as well. This gives you all of the information you need to find solutions to relationship problems, and as a result, feel more joy in your relationships. To learn more, check out our healthy relationships course.

Benefits of Journaling: Stress & Anxiety

Anxiety is an ever-present part of life. But luckily there are proven ways to effectively manage it. Still, just because we know how to manage anxiety doesn’t mean we regularly utilize anxiety-management practices. Life, laziness, and human nature too often get in the way. That’s where journal writing can help.

Journaling is simple, easy, and non-intimidating. Unlike other things, it can even feel like a form of self-love. It is a gift that you can give to yourself. Additionally, it can help to add journal writing to your daily routine. This can make it something that you just automatically do. This way you can stay on top of stress and anxiety even when you may be less motivated to do what you know you should.

 Research reflects this, showing that some of the benefits of keeping a daily journal include reduced mental distress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety, as well as better well-being. I can personally attest to this. Although I’m not perfect at journaling every day, the days that I do always leave me feeling much more calm, peaceful, and rejuvenated. To learn more, check out our course on managing anxiety.

Daily Journal: Goals

 Keeping a daily journal is a great way to help you set and achieve goals. Research suggests that journal writing increases self-efficacy, which has been found to positively influence personal goal-setting. One way that I’ve been able to take advantage of these benefits of journaling is through what I call “meetings with myself.”

 I start by writing what I appreciate about myself that day–maybe I am proud of myself for achieving a previous goal, being a good friend, taking time to be mindful, etc. I find that this is a great concrete way for me to be self-compassionate. If I don’t make time to be intentional about this, my mind tends to automatically focus on what I did wrong that day, completely ignoring what I did right.

 Second, I write out a way I will take care of myself the next day. I try to plan activities that I know will build my health, rather than serve as a distraction from my anxiety. For instance, rather than planning to watch Netflix and eat ice cream, I’ll plan to do yoga first thing in the morning. This helps me to intentionally set aside time for what will truly refill me.

 Third, I cover logistics. I make a list of things I know I will need to do the next day. This ensures that I take care of what needs to get done. Maybe I have a deadline approaching, or maybe I just need to do laundry. This helps me to avoid falling behind on what needs to get done, which saves me a lot of stress and anxiety in the long run.

 Fourth, I set goals focused on what I want to improve. Maybe I noticed that I didn’t meet the goals from the day before, and commit to doing better the next day. Or maybe I take this time to make new goals. This gives me a chance to be proactive about my personal improvement, rather than ruminating about my mistakes and being overwhelmed into inaction.

 This is just one example of how to journal to reach your goals. To learn more ideas, check out our course on how to set goals.

Joy Journal: Conclusion

 Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine by journal writing, and particularly in a joy journal, is a sure way to feel more joy in your life. Whether you want to have improved relationships, less stress and anxiety, or more ability to set and achieve your goals, journaling can help. If you want more information, check out our journaling course.