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  • Writer's pictureDr. Val Margarit ❤️

How the Science of Journaling Can Transform Your Life



"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. - Anaïs Nin

Yesterday, as part of my Fearless and Fabulous Confidence Online Course for Women, a student submitted a question during our AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. She asked for my thoughts on journaling and whether a physical or digital journal is better. Inspired by her curiosity and driven by my unwavering belief in the transformative power of journaling, I set out to write this blog.


If you're ready to transform your life let’s explore the art and science of journaling, and uncover its secrets to unlocking your true potential.


First, as an educator, mindset coach, and bestselling author with over two decades of experience, I know firsthand the profound impact that journaling can have on personal growth and development. For more than ten years, I have incorporated journaling into my own life, using it as a tool for reflection, intention-setting, and self-discovery. I've also seen incredible results when I introduce journaling to my students and coaching clients. Their comments and feedback are not just affirmations of the power of journaling; they are testimonials to its life-changing potential.


The Science Behind Journaling


Incorporating journaling into your daily routine can be a transformative practice with lasting benefits. 


Here are 10 journaling benefits supported by science you'll enjoy immediately:


  1. Emotional Regulation: Journaling engages the prefrontal cortex and limbic system, facilitating emotional processing and regulation. By expressing thoughts and feelings on paper, you can gain insight into your emotions and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

  2. Self-Reflection and Growth: Journaling provides a space for self-reflection, allowing you to explore your thoughts, emotions, and experiences with honesty and compassion.

  3. Memory Enhancement: The act of writing about experiences helps encode memories more effectively, leading to improved memory recall. This process strengthens neural pathways associated with memory storage and retrieval.

  4. Mindfulness and Presence: Writing in a journal encourages mindfulness and presence, helping you cultivate awareness of the present moment and deepen your connection to yourself and the world around you.

  5. Personal Empowerment: By taking control of your narrative and actively shaping your story through journaling, you can cultivate a sense of agency and empowerment in your life.

  6. Getting to Know Yourself: Journaling activates a part of your brain that's all about thinking about yourself and your memories. This helps you understand yourself better and see how you've grown over time.

  7. Solving Problems and Thinking Clearly: Writing helps you think things through and solve problems. Plus, it encourages you to look at things from different angles, which makes you a better problem solver.

  8. Remembering What Matters: By writing things down, you're making sure your brain remembers them. This makes it easier for you to recall those memories later on.

  9. Relaxing Your Mind/Body/Heart: Pouring your worries onto paper can calm your mind, reducing stress by quieting down the parts of your brain that get all worked up. Plus, it triggers your body's relaxation response, helping you feel more at ease.

  10. Improved Communication Skills: Regular writing practice enhances communication skills by honing the ability to articulate thoughts and feelings effectively.


My Personal Journaling Routine


Using the science and the benefits of journaling, I have designed a daily routine that serves as a foundation of my mental well-being and personal growth:


Morning Routine: Setting Intentions - designing the day I want 


  • I express gratitude and ground myself in appreciation and abundance. As I wake up I have a smile on my face, and say out loud - today is going to be a great day because I'll design it, I am in control on my choices/decisions and how I feel about them.

  • I set intentions for the day, clarifying what I hope to achieve and how I want to show up in the world. MIT - most important things - I decide what they are and focus on it.

  • I visualize success and embody the qualities I aspire to cultivate - discipline, resilience, leadership, role modeling.


Evening Routine: Reflection and Gratitude - reflect on the day I had so tomorrow I’ll make it better

  • I reflect on moments of joy and excitement from the day, savoring the simple pleasures that brought a smile to my face.

  • I appreciate the gift of life itself, acknowledging the beauty and wonder that surrounds me.

  • I recall the highlights of the day and cherish memories and experiences that enriched my soul and made me happy.

  • I acknowledge challenges and struggles, recognizing their impact on my well-being and growth.

  • Celebrate my lessons learned from the day's experiences, fostering growth and resilience.

  • What I learned and what drained me today and why? I change what didn't work I must first recognize it, become aware and then design a better day and do more of what I enjoy.


Tips for Making Journaling a Habit


Now that you know how journaling works its magic, here are some simple tips to help you get started today:


  1. Make Time for It: Set aside a few minutes each day to jot down your thoughts. Consistency is key! Even a minute is enough to begin. Decide in your calendar that every morning for five minutes you'll design your day/attitude.

  2. Write Freely: Don't hold back; just let your thoughts flow onto the page without judgment or pick a question if you need directions.

  3. Try Different Styles: Experiment with different ways of journaling until you find what feels right for you. Physical journaling has added benefits and that's what I recommend.

  4. Look Back: Take a peek at your past entries every now and then. It's a great way to see how far you've come and spot any patterns in your thinking. 

  5. Celebrate every day the new you, your hard work, resilience and determination. As long as you are a bit better than yeasterday then you're doing great.


Journaling Prompts to Design Your Own Routine


Morning Intention Journaling - it's about designing your day/life:

  1. How do I want to feel today?

  2. What are three goals I want to accomplish today?

  3. What am I grateful for in my life right now?

  4. What affirmations or mantras will support me today?

  5. How can I prioritize self-care and well-being today?

  6. What attitude/mindset I need today?


Evening Reflection Journaling - it's about how you lived your day, was it memorable or forgettable?

  1. What went well today, and why?

  2. What challenges did I encounter today, and what did I learn from them?

  3. How did I grow or change today?

  4. What moments brought me joy or satisfaction today?

  5. What can I do differently tomorrow to improve or build upon today's experiences?

  6. What did I dread today/what drained me?

  7. What excited me today/made me come alive and full of energy?


Just pick one or two prompts for the morning and one or two for the evening. If you can only do it once, it’s more beneficial to do it in the morning, first thing. If daily journaling feels overwhelming, start with once a week and then gradually increase to twice a week until you establish a routine.


Most important tip - Consistency is Key: Whether you choose to journal in the morning, evening, or throughout the day, consistency is key. Make journaling a daily habit by setting aside dedicated time each day to write. Over time, you'll reap the benefits of regular journaling, such as increased self-awareness, stress relief, happiness, and personal growth. 


In a nutshell, journaling isn't just about writing; it's about tapping into the power of your brain to boost your mood and well-being.  It doesn't take much time to benefit from its transformative effects. Whether you're seeking clarity, growth, or simply a moment of reflection, journaling offers a pathway to a more mindful and intentional life.


CTA: Ready to become the designer of your own life?


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Set goals, take action, and watch yourself learn, grow, adjust, adapt, and become the best.


Best Wishes,


Val




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