Writing it down is more than an exercise for the present.

When I turn to my own journals for the wisdom I need, I learn countless lessons from looking back on my own questions, then revisiting and refining the answers. Those two decades worth of notebooks hold medicinal wisdom that reveals and heals negative assumptions, unearths forgotten resources, and provides essential reminders from within my own experience.

You uncover habitual emotions, thought tendencies and chosen habits with journaling. You refine your own voice and vision, recognize what makes your heart happy, and learn to invite the circumstances, insights and energetic connections that will help you to be of service to yourself and the world around you.

Even research suggests that journaling is good for your mind, body and spirit. A new study from Michigan State University says that writing down your worries helps rewire your brain and increase efficiency. “Worrying takes up cognitive resources … findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient.”

Slowing down long enough to make a habit of soulfully attending to life’s details might seem hard to do in our busy lives, but journaling is a compelling way to come home to ourselves in the deepest way possible. Journaling can be one of the simplest daily practices that help remind us why we’re here—a spacious reflection that allows us to soften, open and arrive at the very depths of our spiritual understanding, depths that can’t be reached from behind the walls we build.

Here are five reasons why you might want to consider journaling: 

  1. Each time you pick up your journal, you’re providing yourself with a safe space to connect to your own wise advice.
  2. Writing with your hand means you’re spending a few minutes away from your technology—great for your mood and your overall well-being.
  3. Noting your reflections on paper allows you to choose what thoughts you’ll pursue and those you’ll release.
  4. Journaling helps us relate to the present.
  5. Journaling is the ultimate way to practice YOU.

Adapted from “Practice You: A Journal” by Elena Brower. Copyright © 2017 by Elena Brower. Published by Sounds True.

Photo credit: Fernando Milani

Art by Elena Brower