One of the most important things I do is writing regular notes about major projects, my practice, my personal life, and more.
Journaling – and I write mine longhand and using a manual typewriter – is something I’ve been doing since childhood. And it’s not the act of going back through them that I find important; it’s the taking the time to make notes about thoughts, musings, reactions, and more. Putting pen to paper.
Not surprisingly, we often recommend to our clients they write down their thoughts. Their ideas. Their dreams and goals. And their notes during executive coaching sessions!
If you’re not keeping a regular journal at all, we’d like to summarize three of the benefits mentioned in a blog post about journaling we found helpful.
- Reduces Stress
A little bit of stress in your life is normal and healthy; but too much stress can be damaging to your overall health. Journaling can serve as a great stress management tool and allow you to manage your emotions in a healthier way.
It was found in a study (check it out here) that journaling even a little can even be linked to lowering your blood pressure!
- Improves Immune Function
Journaling and expressive writing can actually strengthen your immune system and lower your chances of getting an illness. It was shown in studies that those who chose to journal would have “- improved immune system functioning (it strengthens immune cells!) as well as lessened symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.”
And studies even showed how journaling can help the wounded heal faster.
- Keeps Memory Sharp
Expressive writing causes your brain to work out, and that works out in your favor! People report better memory and comprehension in addition to expanded “working memory” capacity. That in turn can lead to improved cognitive processing.
The top leaders we know all write notes about things like:
- What made for a successful day or not (I have consistently found my most productive days were ones where I focused the most);
- “After action” reports after a project, task, or important meeting;
- Feelings and other reactions while journaling about the events of the day (thanks to my colleague Dr. Richard Brisebois for sharing that method);
- Reactions to others at a meeting;
- Thoughts about a project that was a great success, or a big failure
We hope you’ll consider the benefits of journaling as you reflect on the points above. If you are using a journal now, keep it going! If not, consider starting one right after you read this. And you can journal about what you hope to keep in your journal!
Q: How are you using a journal now as part of your leadership role?