As I get older, I am more frequently forgetting things. Usually, it is because I get distracted with something else and forget what I was originally intending to do. Most of the time what I forget is not important anyway. But a couple of times I forgot to write down a check or payment which almost got me into serious trouble.  Forgetting things is becoming increasingly frustrating with each passing day.

So what can I (or you) do to help improve memory or become more focused? The answer: Journaling. When you journal, you are committing your thoughts and experiences to written prose. This is, in essence, distilling the abstract into a coherent, solid form. By writing your thoughts down, you are increasing attention and focus, and thereby, improving memory.

Here are a few benefits from Doreen Clement’s, “The Benefits of Keeping a Journal”  (http://www.trans4mind.com/counterpoint/clement.shtml):

  • Organizes – Journaling your goals and what you want to accomplish for the day, the month, the year, or a lifetime, is an excellent tool to help you get those things done. You can create a personal checklist of “things to do.”
  • Helps focus – Writing in a journal creates more personal awareness, and therefore more focus on the issues that are important to you.
  • Reduces stress – Journaling has a proven benefit of reducing stress. Once you’ve journaled, you don’t carry as much of what you have written about within you. It is on the paper or in the computer. By journaling, you give yourself a powerful form of self-expression, and through that expression you can gain clarity, release, and relief.
  • Setting goals and resolutions – You can actually see and better understand what you want, what is important to you, and how you feel, through journaling. Then you can create goals and resolutions to support what you are thinking and writing about.
  • The routine and habit of journaling means making time for you – When you set aside time for yourself, you can feel the benefit and gain from doing something specifically for yourself. It can show up in other areas of your life as you carry that time you have spent on yourself within you, and everywhere you go.
  • Can better understand and accept yourself and others – Whether you re-read your journal or not, you can gain benefits from writing down your story, and your thoughts. You are writing about how you see and experience life.
  • Provides personal growth and freedom – Journaling can be a wonderful tool to help better understand yourself and the world that surrounds you.

“You don’t know what you know until you have written it down.” – Linda Joy Meyer

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One Response to “Reflective Journalism: Improving Your Memory”

  1. Chris says:

    Great topic Eric. I have rarely been good at this, but have recently tried my best to make journaling a discipline I stick to. At a minimum I have found that carrying a small booket with me to church, lifegroup, etc., serves as a constant reminder that I should be writing down what I hear or thoughts that come to mind. I’ve found too that with setting goals for myself and family, simply writing them down or keeping them in some type of electronic journal does wonders for helping me to stick to the goals and continue working hard to reach them.

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