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Journaling is one of the most practical, accessible ways to improve your overall well-being. It’s one of the first things I recommend to my clients, and it’s helped me in my own personal life time and time again. But many people remain skeptical — after all, how can simply writing down what you already know make that big a difference?

Well, in three very important ways, actually.

1) Journaling improves your health. Journaling helps you get random thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Research has shown time and time again that the physical act of writing, that head to hand connection, not only helps strengthen your memory, it significantly lowers anxiety — can and even boost your immune system.

2) Journaling organizes your thinking. If you have a problem to solve or a dilemma, writing it out helps you to get your thoughts in order — if they’re stuck ruminating in your head, they can seem much more daunting than they actually are. Getting the problem out on paper helps you to see if for what it really is — it get’s the monster out of the shadows, so to speak.

3) Journaling keeps a record. Writing down the things that are good and bad in your life (but especially the good) helps your future self to see the progress you’ve made, how far you’ve come and the obstacles you’ve faced!  Record these things so you can see what has happened, what you’ve accomplished, and the things you’re still working on. Looking back on those things can be so encouraging. Even better, take those things to a friend or therapist to talk through.

Journaling is a powerful tool for your personal growth, and in that way can benefit your relationship in wonderful ways. It’s a tool for self-care, and it’s a way to see where you were last year — how have you and your partner grown? What can you handle now that stressed you out before? What lovely romantic thing did your partner do last Valentine’s Day? Without a journal, it can be pretty tough to remember.