As humans, we go through a range of feelings and emotions every single day.

There are peaks and troughs to how we feel and we learn as we grow up that nothing is ever straightforward. Good days come with the bad, so learning how to develop a neutrality towards life is a solid way to adapt to both. When the bad comes along, you know it is a passing moment in time that you have techniques to deal with. When the great days arrive, you learn to savour and enjoy them, as they are also as fleeting. The ups and downs of individual days come and go, but where your median mood is in life can be the most important.

Journaling your emotions can help you track this. Don’t just work on impulse and say you feel “great” or “terrible”. Keep track day by day on how things are going and then notice the trend curve throughout. By rounding the hard edges of a high day, and softening the deep spike of a bad day, you’ll find your consistent feeling. One of the benefits of journaling is that it’s your truthful window into it.

So if you’re considering journaling as a way to improve your mood or tracking your emotions, here are 7 benefits of journaling that will get you started.

 

Journaling helps you unload and express your emotions in a safe place

A man sat on the grass journaling.
Credit: Wenceslas Lejeune, Unsplash.

We could all be better in learning to express our emotions.

Our parents grew up in the “stiff upper lip” generation, and that was the advice we were given growing up. Toughen up, man up, all that type of stuff. But as our understanding of emotions and mental health has grown, it’s been shown that suppressing such feelings or pretending they don’t exist isn’t the way to go, and can be dangerous later in life.

Some may not be comfortable in opening up to a person, so if that’s you, journaling is a perfect way to unload how you’re feeling, in a private and safe environment. It’s one of the major benefits of journaling that should not be overlooked.

 

Journaling gives you a verifiable log, not just a ‘feeling’ on how you’re doing’

A laptop with journaling on a desk.
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Keeping a mood journal removes the guesswork from your emotions.

Writing your results down is an unarguable, dated solid form of information. If this was done in a professional job, you would say that you have the correct info to make an informed decision. So this should be the same for your approach to your emotions.

Understanding where you’re at emotionally is the first step in moving forwards.

 

Journaling helps you be present

A woman writing in a journal overlooking the ocean.
Credit: Daniel Christie, Unsplash.

Whether you spend ten minutes writing it, or an hour, journaling forces you to be present.

You engage your mind and soul, look back on the day, and revisit thoughts and emotions. Like a gym engages your physical muscles, being present engages your mental and spiritual ones, and each rep of writing in a mood journal strengthens these muscles.

This small exercise is great for your mental and spiritual health in the long run.

 

It allows you to understand your emotions and the reasoning behind them

A woman at a theme park.
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Noting your emotions is the first step, understanding them and the triggers that cause them are the next.

By jotting these in your mood journal, you can see and remember the emotion in front of you, which allows you to then delve deeper into it. What caused me to feel this way, what set me off?

Understanding the triggers of these emotions can be pivotal in how you make a change in the future and is one of the major benefits of journaling.

 

Journaling allows you to notice trends in your emotions

A person sat on a bench writing in a journal.
Credit: Brent Gorwin, Unsplash.

After keeping a mood journal for a while, your results will start to correlate and reveal interesting trends to you.

You may find a consistent emotion that you wish to address, or the fact the time you always feel terrible in the few days after a heavy night out.

Whatever it may be, listen to what the results are showing you, as it’s a glimpse into who you truly are.

 

It helps inform your goals and how to take action

A goals journal on a table.
Credit: Alexa Williams, Unsplash.

If there are areas in which you would like to make changes, it’s time to set goals to do so.

Using the previous “night out” example, you may be feeling low and not yourself for a few days after each night. If this is twice a week, then it’s no wonder you’re always feeling down, with the nights out then being associated with the only time you feel good. You have to be brutally honest with yourself and ask what means more to you, your wellbeing or a night out?

If you begin by cutting it down to one night out, and then set a time limit on when you want to be home by, you can then analyse your results again and see where to refine moving forwards.

 

Journaling promotes good habits of self-care

A journal and mug on a sofa.
Credit: Carolyn V, Unsplash.

We are not taught anywhere near enough of the benefits of journaling and in particular, self-care.

We learn it through the rough tumble of everyday life, but most of the time by accident, or at a point when we’re not feeling great. You try to build other good habits, such as being positive, eating healthy or working out. So why aren’t you putting the same focus on your mind as well?

 

 

A mood journal is a fantastic habit of self-care for your mind, and building this now will help strengthen your habit muscle as you head through life.

Whether you decide on pen and paper, laptop, or voice recordings, the benefits of journaling are clear. Keeping a mood journal allows you to learn from the past, whilst being present, which allows you to prepare for the future.

It’s a tool that may seem so very simple, but if you engage with it over some time, you may find it’s the most revealing 15 minutes you could invest each day.

 

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