The RecordKeeper   -   more than a journal

The Science behind it


Hmmmm, what does that mean?  What does "it" mean?  And how is this "scientific?"

Psychologically:  Varied studies have shown (see footnotes below) the healing power of journaling and unexpected benefits.  Read on:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.                                                                                     
  • Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic to you — important information for your emotional well-being.                                                                                       
  • Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness, and other painful emotions help to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.                         
  • Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.                        
  • Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.



Writing to heal:

By helping people manage and learn from negative experiences, writing strengthens their immune systems as well as their minds.  By Bridget Murray - Monitor Staff June 2002, Vol. 33, No 6

Other readings:

Marlo, H. & amp; Wagner, M.K. (1999) Expression of negative and positive events through writing: Implications for psychotherapy and health.  Psychology and Health, 14(2) 193-215

Pennebaker, J.W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychology Science, 8(3) 162-166

Petrie, K.J., Booth, R.J., & Pennebaker, J.W. (1998).  The immunological effects of thought suppression.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(5) 1261-1272

Smyth, J., & Lepore, S.J. (2002).  The writing cure:  How expressive writing promotes health and emotional well-being.  Washington, D.C.:  American Psychological Association.




SCIENCE: (well is it?  You decide)  Just as in the image above.  We all assume that the rock is falling down but what if we reversed it?  Then the rock would be going UP, wouldn't it?  Science?  (Gravity)


1. Stretching Your IQ
A hot topic, but strong cases support the ability to change your IQ. A report by the University of Victoria noted that “Writing as part of language learning has a positive correlation with intelligence.”

Journaling is an exploration of language, you’ll have the natural urge to search for new words and increase your vocabulary. The report goes on to say, “One of the best single measures of overall intelligence as measured by intelligence tests is vocabulary.”

2. Evoking Mindfulness
It’s the buzz word for good reason. There’s a strong connection between happiness and mindfulness. Journaling brings you into that state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment.  It calls a wandering mind to attention, from passivity to actively engaging with your thoughts.

3. Achieving Goals
Journaling often includes your dreams and ambitions, yet the idea that scribbled words can help achieve goals is understandably fanciful. But consider building a house without a blueprint. That makes more sense.

Writing goals signals to your brain “this is important.” Your reticular activating system (RAS) then flags relevant opportunities and tools to achieve that goal. More detailed goals provide a psychological blueprint, and increases the likelihood of achieving them.

4. Emotional Intelligence 
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive and manage your emotions, and that of others. Journaling is an outlet for processing emotions and increases self-awareness. This internal familiarity becomes a bridge of empathy, you’ll better intuit and understand what others are experiencing.

Being able to get on the same page with someone is a mark of emotional intelligence, and allows for a much deeper connection.

5. Boosting Memory and Comprehension
There’s a unique relationship between the hand and brain, sparked by the composition of thoughts and ideas. Words are representations of ideas; the formation of letters and causes the mind to compose or re-compose ideas while journaling. This strengthens previously covered information and forces you to engage in
cognitive recall.

6. Strengthen Your Self-Discipline
Setting time aside to write, whether morning or evening, is an act of discipline. And discipline begets discipline. Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. And habits formed in one area of life have a tendency to spread; as keeping your office clean leads to keeping the bedroom tidy, your daily practice of writing will domino onto other healthy habits.

7. Improve Communication Skills
“Writing has critical connections to speaking” according to a Stanford report. Journaling is a form of written communication, albeit to oneself. Nonetheless, the subvocalization of tracing your written thoughts naturally translates in actual vocalization.

Of course, anyone journaling must have a deliberate aim to tidy up their writing in order to see benefits in their verbal communication. But making that decision during writing will benefit your speaking.

8. Healing
Expressive writing is a route to healing — emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Dr. James Pennebaker, author of  Writing to Heal has seen
improved immune function in participants of writing exercises. Stress often comes from emotional blockages, and overthinking hypotheticals. He explains, “When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable.” And in doing so, you free yourself from mentally being tangled in traumas.

Studies have also shown that the emotional release from journaling lowers anxiety, stress, and induces better sleep.

9. Spark Your Creativity
Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” has become the panacea for unlocking creativity amongst anyone and everyone. Our struggle isn’t whether we’re creative, it’s how to let it flow.

Her powerful tool is simply to write without thinking — “stream of consciousness” writing. Beyond overcoming writer’s block, stream of consciousness writing brings out thoughts and ideas you never knew you had in you, and loosens up your expressive muscles. She recommends three pages, done first thing in the morning. Including even one page as part of your journaling will get your creative juices flowing.

10. Self-Confidence
Journaling about a positive experience allows your brain to relive it. And reaffirms your abilities when the ugly head of self-doubt appears. The release of endorphins and dopamine will boost your self-esteem and mood. These reflections can become a catalog of personal achievements that you continue to go back to.

As you work to incorporate journaling into your life, remember the elephant is best eaten one bite at a time. Patience and consistency are crucial in forming new habits. Begin writing perhaps three days a week, first thing in the morning or before sleeping.

Thai writes from the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. Reflected in his work is the message that life is not about what you get, but who you become. Follow his work at The Utopian Life.

Of course, there are many studies done on writing (journaling) let alone documenting and record-keeping!