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Writing has become such a common preoccupation of people around the world in the last couple of decades that if you can’t see one blogging away on their personal website, you’re likely to see them updating a status message on Facebook. While the fact that everyone is writing more is a great thing, there’s not enough meaningful writing being done.

Even though blogs are a wonderful outlet for one’s speech and expression, what’s missing now is more speech and expression inwards. That is, writing a journal. Maintaining a journal every day and filling in entries regularly can help you turn your life around. Don’t believe it? Here are several ways in which writing a journal can help you make a difference in your life.

1. It brings your mind to the present.

The act of sitting down to write, to pay attention to the thoughts that come to you, and to pen them all down patiently is, put simply, an act of bringing your mind to the present. It’s also an exercise that helps you be more mindful of the present moment and of all the things that are going on in your life.

2. It brings out your creativity.

From the time that Julia Cameron introduced the idea of the morning pages in her book, The Artist’s Way, every artist has associated the idea of freewriting with unlocking creativity. Journaling just allows for the expression of thoughts and ideas that you didn’t even know you had.

3. It’s your buddy in your pursuit of goals.

You have certain things in your life that you want to achieve. There are other things that you hope you’d achieve. And then there are dreams that don’t seem achievable but you dream anyway. The simple act of writing these things down in a journal makes sure you never forget the things that matter to you.

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4. It builds empathy and self-awareness.

When you write a journal every day, you dig deep inside you and connect with yourself on a deeply emotional level. You begin to see where you’re coming from and start to become more aware of yourself. In other words, you begin to know yourself. This step leads to an expression of empathy towards others as well.

5. It challenges you to be disciplined.

Many have started a journal after recognizing the importance of one, but failed to continue the habit for any length of time. This is because keeping a journal demands tremendous amounts of discipline of you. Writing a journal every day, whether you like it or not, builds your discipline, which quickly spills over into other areas of your life.

6. It improves your ability to communicate.

You may wonder how writing a journal regularly can help you improve your verbal ability, as these two are distinct forms of communication. The truth is, when you’re writing something, you’re more often than not, subvocalizing whatever you’re thinking and writing on paper. If you’re mindful of it and are committed to improving your communication skills, writing a journal helps you do that with ease over a period of time.