5 Benefits of Journaling for Students and How to Get Started

5 min to read
Student writing in a Journal

If there were a twenty-minute activity that could decrease stress, improve health and memory, strengthen writing and problem-solving skills, and motivate you to reach your goals, would you do it? Would it help to know it’s also free and you don’t even have to leave the house?

If you haven’t guessed yet, we’re talking about keeping a journal. 

Why is Journaling Good?

There are many good reasons to start a journaling routine, and many positive outcomes that can arise as a result. In general, journaling can help improve mental health, ease anxiety and worry, and give the writer a feeling of clarity. 

What is the Purpose of Journaling?

For some, the purpose of journaling can be as simple as trying to better understand their own thoughts and feelings. 

Getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper can provide a new way to improve mental health. Have you ever felt better just talking about a problem with your friends or parents? Well, consider your journal as a friend who is always there, ready to listen.

Does Journaling Help with School?

Establishing a regular journaling practice or routine can also help students significantly. In addition to the mental health benefits, journaling can help students improve writing skills, build goal setting and achievement skillsets, and inspire creativity – all of which can help with improved academic performance 

Journaling can also provide a sense of relief, perspective, and control for day-to-day stress management, which can be great for students.

Five Benefits of Journaling

There are many benefits of journaling for students. Here are just a few of the benefits students can expect over time:

1. Stronger, more confident writing

It probably seems pretty obvious that writing more will make you a better writer, but journaling offers some distinct advantages over other types of writing. Because you make the rules, your writing can flow more freely—building “muscle memory” that then makes all writing easier by practicing the skills that help you better express your thoughts. Because you pick the topics, you can write passionately about the things that interest you—helping you to develop your own distinct writing voice. And because you’re free to experiment with different types of journals, forms, and prompts, you can learn to appreciate writing as a creative process—experiencing it as a joyful practice rather than academic drudgery.

2. Improved memory and problem-solving skills

When you describe an event or an idea in your journal, you reinforce the memory of that event or idea. Just the physical act of writing about it, especially by pen rather than keyboard, creates connections in your brain that consolidate and organize your memories. As you write about issues that bother you, you learn to step back from a problem and see connections that may escape you during your first rush of emotion.

3. Increased self-awareness

Keep a journal for a few days and you may get a better perspective on this week’s events but keep a journal for a few months and you’ll get a better perspective on who you are. Over time, you can observe patterns in your own thinking and behaviors; changes in your relationships with family and friends; and where interests, strengths, or even anxieties originate and grow.

4. Increased motivation

Journaling allows you to create and maintain a dialogue with yourself about your goals—what they are, how you’ll reach them, and your progress and challenges along the way. Articulating and tracking your goals in writing makes them real, increasing your motivation and personal accountability.

5. Decreased stress, improved health

In several studies, researchers have found that writing about how we think and feel about stressful or even traumatic events can improve our psychological well-being, immune function, and overall health. Writing and thinking about a problem through a journal can give the distance and perspective you need to take control of the situation. That, in turn, reduces the physiological effects of stress that negatively affect your overall health and your immune system.

Different Types of Journaling for Students

Contrary to what you may think, a journal does not have to be a record of the minute details of your daily life. Instead, it’s a private space for exploring what you think and feel about the people, events, or issues that are important to you.

 Your journal can take the form of a:

  • Motivational journal that sets your day in a positive direction by reflecting on inspirational quotes.
  • Gratitude journal that lifts your spirits by focusing on the things you are grateful for.
  • Writer’s journal that prompts you to reflect on famous quotations, social issues, or literary themes.
  • Thematic or subject journal that invites you to record your thoughts and progress on specific problems or interest areas.
  • Success journal that documents today’s triumphs to help cheer you on through tomorrow’s slumps.
  • Free-form journal that allows you to write about anything and everything, providing insights into how your thoughts and emotions unfold over time.
  • Book or movie journal where you reflect on or review recent books that you’ve read or movies that you have watched. 

10 Journaling Prompts for Students

Encourage your students to get started with their personal journaling practice today with these fun prompts! 

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What are some victories from today?
  • What was one of my favorite days? Why?
  • What was my favorite trip that I ever went on?
  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • What are some accomplishments that I am proud of?
  • What do I like to do? 
  • What makes me happy?
  • What do I hope to accomplish in the future?
  • What are my dreams for the future?

As you can see, there are many reasons why journaling is important, as well as many positive effects that it can have on students. Encourage your student to start journaling and make it a part of a regular routine—and watch the positive outcomes unfold! 

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