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The Benefits of Writing

Posted: 12 Dec 2016 02:05 AM PST

Here's an interesting post on the benefits of journaling. The part I want to highlight is as follows:

One effective way researchers have found to reinforce learning is through reflective writing. It turns out that regular journaling can be used to train our attention and strengthen neural pathways. As neurologist and teacher Judy Willis explains:

The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus…boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.

Reflective writing has also been shown to improve decision making and critical thinking in a number of medical professions, including physical therapy and nursing. For practitioners, journals proved to be invaluable tools for examining past experiences, evaluating their own actions, and drawing insights for encountering future challenges.

I have a few thoughts on this:

  • I have certainly found that writing helps me crystalize my thinking. Much of the personal value of this blog to me has been gained by writing posts. It's helped me decide what I REALLY believe, learn more about available alternatives, and, ultimately, take action. It's probably been worth an extra half million dollars to my net worth.
  • Journaling is recommended in The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), a book I LOVE, likely for the reasons noted above.
  • The more you write, the better writer you become. And being great at writing has several advantages. For instance, it's a skill that employers will pay you more for. Or you could use it to develop a nice side income (as a freelance writer). Or maybe you even write a book!
  • Writing is hard. I had to include this to be honest. Writing is not easy, especially if you want to do it well. The nice thing about writing in a journal is that it makes writing a lot easier. You don't need to worry about spelling, grammar, or trying to make the writing sound pretty or even make sense. You just write for yourself!

So, those are my thoughts. What's your take on journaling?


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