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Ask HN: Has Journaling Improved Your Life?
31 points by Indomit 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments
I know there are quite a few people here, who journal frequently, and I was curious about how it has improved your life.

What has journaling done for you, that couldn't be done with honest, and regular self-reflection?

I think it's a good way to serialize the self-reflection. I do a lot of self-reflection and most of it isn't really healthy - more of just a circling anxiety over various feelings. Having to write it out means I actually have to think about it and put everything somewhere in a context, which really helps. Writing is different than thinking, just like how sometimes speaking is different than thinking, and you say things you would never have come up with just in your own head.

> Having to write it out means I actually have to think about it and put everything somewhere in a context

This is an important point.

I noticed that people have a serious lack of awareness in how significantly their thoughts/actions "drift", with respect to how they relate to a plan/belief/idea. In the short term, its indistinguishable from being intentional. In the long term, you're wondering how you ended up so far from what you had originally planned or believed (and that's if you even have the awareness to notice the change).

This seems to primarily occur with those "mirco" thoughts and patterns; interestingly enough, these are the ones which are most susceptible to being influenced by our emotional state.

Helps to purge the nonsense from the mind (which can often derail you later on, if suppressed). I journal in the mornings at 6am. I find that it'll take me a few pages to get past the noise and nonsense and then at that point, sometimes the truth will reveal itself. I also enjoy the clarity of mind that I can achieve at that time in the morning.

An outlet for the unfiltered stream of consciousness is important. You just write whatever comes up. No-one else is to read it. That's equally important.

As a result, I'm happier and more creative. But if you want to start, I wouldn't advise focussing on the benefits too much. In all likelihood, you'll start because you need to, or because the time is right. Hope that helps!

Journaling helped me realize things about myself that I wouldn’t have noticed without it ( that I was in love with the last girl I dated was one.) I’ve been told that just talking about your life is why therapy can be so effective and I feel like journaling is the same.

This summer I’ve been kind of depressed being unemployed and haven’t done it but it probably would have helped.

Not really.

I try to journal every day and have been since around 2014. The main "benefit" is the ability to look at a random date (say, Jan 19th 2015) and know what I was up to that day/period.

I started journaling hoping it would help clarify my thoughts/reveal something dormant in my mind. It did neither.

One odd quirk: If I'm really deep in a depressive hole, I can identify that by writing a journal entry. If I start freewriting and the content is getting progressively worse (usually devolving into sentence after sentence telling myself to grow up and kill myself), I can sometimes "trick" my brain into realizing I'm in a depressive hole and the world isn't actually an awful place.

It's hard to explain, but the ability to "see" my brain thinking in a downward loop sometimes helps to trigger my rational brain.

On the flip side, in some rare instances if I journal while depressed, it dramatically increases my misery. Instead of just thinking I'm hopeless, it can work as a mental reinforcement that everything I'm writing is true. Journling while depressed is like playing Russian roulette.

Overall, I don't find journaling that beneficial.

Nothing. I've tried on and off since I was a child. Turns out I'm doing it wrong or something. All I got was day to day trivia, verbose cruft and nostalgia bait.

IMHO, journaling is just a means for honest, regular self-reflection. Some people like talking to themselves, some people like writing their thoughts down. Do whatever calms you, I personally like to write things down as it helps me organize my thoughts much better. By that I don't mean I journal everyday, but instead try to put my thoughts on paper whenever I have a difficult decision to make.

It definitely helps to calm down yourself. I do not do regularly but in my low periods, I write journal and put down my thoughts.

There is medical evidence that it helps in depression. It might not elevate your mood the same time but you can see the pattern and how stupid your thoughts are some time.

I've been blogging publicly and privately for 10 years and I think it has helped me immensely to get a more complete view of what drives me and how I make decisions. I think it has helped me become the person I want to be and the writing has helped me through some tough periods.

It helps me understand what i’m thinking. It’s very easy to lie to yourself, but journaling lets you get all of it out. It improved my life exponentially.

Journaling has dramatically improved my crash recovery.


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