Artist Cindy Tadje holding some of her art

Writing in a Journal Contributes to a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle

As you may imagine, we’re quite passionate about journaling here at Rustico. Not only do we work daily to make the leather Rustico journals that we’re so proud of, but we also write in our own journals on a daily basis. It is our belief that writing in a journal provides a variety of health benefits.

Don’t believe us? Let’s see what the experts have to say…

a couple writing in a journal together Writing in a journal can have many health and life benefits such as overcoming depression and achieving goals.

According to a recent study by UCLA, people who wrote regularly in journals were found to better control their emotions, more easily overcome emotional upsets and feel happier in their daily lives.

“Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally,” UCLA associate professor of psychology and founder of social cognitive neuroscience said. “Whether it’s writing things down in a diary, writing bad poetry or making up song lyrics that should never be played on the radio, it (writing) seems to help people emotionally.”

The study invited volunteers to visit the UCLA campus lab for a brain scan before asking them to write in a journal for 20 minutes a day for various amounts of time. Those who stuck to the 20 minutes a day prescription showed more positive brain activity than those who didn’t when they returned for a second scan. Also, those who wrote regularly reported to be able to better control their emotions and feelings.

“This is ancient wisdom,” Dr. Lieberman said. “Putting our feelings into words helps us heal better. If a friend is sad and we can get them to talk about it, that probably will make them feel better.”

Like Dr. Lieberman and the physiologists at UCLA, many have tested and testified of the positive effects of journaling. This list includes successful podcaster and author Tim Ferris, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Natalie Goldberg, ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings, George Patton, Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, Pablo Picasso and a long list of satisfied Rustico customers who have all said they regularly journal.

friends hiking a trail  
Whenever we can, we try to get outside and experience life. These special moments we capture in our journals.

To get a few extra opinions, we were able to talk with a few of our friends, Judy Molnar and Keeley Jones, who are Rustico customers and avid journalists. They both were kind enough to share a few of their experiences with journaling.  

“I journal to connect my head and heart to the page,” said Judy. “The journal space is that place I go with pencil or pen to paper, something that the screen does not provide. For me the time to journal, whether writing short stories, reflecting on an event, composing poetry or playing around with song lyrics is what makes the journal is meaningful to what I like to do.”

a hand sewn leather journal

Photo by Keeley Jones

Judy, who works in marketing, enjoys attending Broadway shows and currently lives in Florida, said journaling has opened her up to a new sense of expression. She said she typically writes about events, experiences and moments that happen in her life. Also, she said she’s enjoyed writing with prompts from the Rustico Paradigm Journal.

Judy said she particularly remembers writing about the prompt, ’10 things I want to do before I die’ in her Paradigm Journal. She said her list inspired her into action with new goals, an entry into a race, a booked flight and an inspired personal quest.

Judy said journaling is personal, a space for you that you never have to share, edit or worry about someone critiquing you.

“Journaling is your time, not with a schedule, no deadlines, just a page waiting for your input,” said Judy.

Keeley, who lives in Montana and works as a freelance artist, said she typically journals about the people she meets and the places she visits.

A photo by Judy M.

“As an artist that focuses on drawing people, I spend a lot of time talking to strangers and getting to know them on a personal level,” said Keeley. “I write about the people I meet and the

impact they had on me. Journaling allows me to have a deeper connection with each person I draw, and I think ultimately it allows me to put more emotion into my drawings and really make them come to life, rather than my work just being a face on a piece of paper.”

Keeley said journaling has helped her to become more observant to the people around her and also that it’s helped her appreciate the small things in life.

“One of my favorite journal entries is about an elderly man I met at a coffee shop just outside Zion National Park. I wrote about how we sat and talked for hours, and even played guitar and sang together. I often go back and read that journal entry, and it puts me back in that coffee shop every time. Great memories,” said Keeley.

Keeley’s advice to anyone considering starting a journal would simply be to “do it!” She said to just write or draw whatever comes naturally. Also, Keeley said she owns four Rustico journals, which is pretty cool we have to say.

Still not convinced? Here’s one final study for you…

James Pennebaker, an American social psychologist, conducted a study where he and other psychologists invited adults to write for 15 minutes a day for six months. He asked half of the adults to write about daily activities and the other half to write about a traumatic experience that they have had in their lives. Although it didn’t happen right away, everyone in the study reported improvement, especially those who had experienced the traumatic experience.

“Although I have not talked with anyone about what I wrote, I was finally able to deal with it, work through the pain instead of trying to block it out. Now it doesn’t hurt to think about it,” one participant explained.

Since that groundbreaking study, Pennebaker and colleagues have replicated it many times. Although writing about trauma is uncomfortable in the short run, after approximately two weeks, the costs disappear and the lasting benefits emerge.

As we said at the beginning, we’re pretty passionate about journaling here at Rustico. It truly does benefit your health. 

We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with journaling. Please comment below with your thoughts!


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