Keeping a journal may sound like a “girly” endeavor, but I have found to be extremely beneficial to me, my psychology, and my creative process. So I would recommend a journal to anyone, for the following reasons:
1. Keep track of your dreams. Many people keep dream journals, or at the very least have a dream so intense that they wake up and write it down on whatever’s available. Or immediately tell their significant other. I find that having a journal where you can write down your dreams is helpful in examining your own interior life. Some people aren’t good at verbalizing their anxieties, but they might be able to figure out what is upsetting them through dreams. I have done this. I have also used dreams as the basis for stories.
2. Self-affirm. Another really great reason to keep a journal is to write down some positive thoughts and attitudes. It has helped with my depressive tendencies immensely to write down a list of things that I like about myself, or that I’m looking forward to, or reasons that I’m lucky. It may seem silly, but it’s really not. There are countless studies, and a bunch of interesting TEDtalks, that discuss the benefits of positive thinking. In my personal opinion, if you take the time to write down what makes you happy or what is going good, then you make that good thought more permanent.
3. Remember inspirations. Another reason to have a journal is that it’s great for artists and creative people. Or people who want to remember the names of recommendations as well. With a journal you can record anything that has inspired you. Any ideas you may have had. Anything you want to remember that makes you feel happy and excited to be alive.
4. Productivity. Having a to-do list, as I have written about a few times, having a journal in which I can keep a to-do list has done wonders for me and my productivity. But even if you’re not a to-do list person, carrying a journal with you can be a sure fire way to remember those obligations that come at you throughout your day. When you’re at work and you remember “I have to pay my insurance!” you have a place to write it down. You can even flip through it on days where you feel productive and you want to see if there’s something you should be doing.
5. Remember the details. If you don’t use a journal for any of those things, there is always the option of using a journal like a diary where you keep the details of your day. I have kept a journal for years, and as a writer it is endlessly useful, but it is also great for me as a person. I love looking over journals from a few years ago and remembering who I was and where I was. It’s a lovely way to preserve the past. And maybe help future biographers if you become a famous writer.