The Benefits of Keeping a Handwritten Journal

Handwritten Journal with photos around the table

Today, many people are turning to digital means to keep track of their thoughts and memories. Technology has made it easier than ever to record your experiences, from phone notes to online journals. However, there is something special about a handwritten
journal that cannot be replicated by digital means. In this article, we will explore the benefits of keeping a handwritten journal and why it is worth considering in the digital age.

There is no denying the convenience of digital note-taking and journaling. With smartphones and laptops always at our fingertips, it is easy to quickly jot down a thought or idea without needing a pen and paper. However, there is something about writing by hand that can have a profound impact on our mental health and well-being. In fact, research has shown that keeping a handwritten journal can provide a range of benefits that cannot be achieved through digital means.

1. Increased mindfulness and self-awareness

When we write by hand, we must slow down and be more mindful of our thoughts and emotions. This allows us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our experiences. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, writing about emotional experiences in a journal can lead to improved mental and physical health. By keeping a handwritten journal, we can become more self-aware and in tune with our emotions, leading to better overall mental well-being.

2. Improved memory retention

Writing by hand has been shown to improve memory retention and recall. In a study by researchers at Princeton University, students who took notes by hand during lectures performed better on tests than those who used laptops. This is because writing by hand engages the brain like typing on a keyboard does not. When we write by hand, we are forced to think about what we are writing and process the information more profoundly, leading to better memory retention.

3. A creative outlet

Keeping a handwritten journal can be a great creative outlet. Unlike digital journaling, where formatting and editing can take away from the writing process, a handwritten journal allows for complete creative freedom. You can draw, doodle, and experiment with different writing styles and techniques, making your journal reflect your unique personality and creativity.

4. Stress relief

Writing by hand is a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety. The act of writing can be therapeutic, helping to clear your mind and process your thoughts and emotions. According to a study published in the Journal of Expressive Writing, individuals who wrote about their stressful experiences in a journal experienced a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety. By keeping a handwritten journal, you can provide a safe space to express your emotions and work through difficult experiences.

5. A keepsake for the future

Finally, keeping a handwritten journal is a great way to preserve memories for the future. Unlike digital records, which can be lost or deleted, a handwritten journal is a physical object that can be kept and cherished for years. It provides a tangible representation of your life experiences and personal growth that can be passed down to future generations as a keepsake.


While digital journaling may seem like the more convenient option, there is something special about keeping a handwritten journal. It allows us to be more mindful, creative, and self-aware while providing a therapeutic outlet for stress and anxiety. By taking the time to write by hand, we can reap the benefits of improved memory retention, increased creativity, and a tangible keepsake for the future. So next time you’re thinking about recording your thoughts and experiences, consider picking up a pen and paper and trying handwritten journaling. You might be surprised at the positive impact it can have on your mental well-being.


– Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338-346. doi: 10.1192/apt.11.5.338

– Cook, C. R., & Cook, E. C. (2018). Is it time to dust off your diary? The benefits of journaling on stress management. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 12(5), 374-377. doi: 10.1177/1559827617748510

– Gaggioli, A., Morganti, L., Bonfiglio, S., Scaratti, C., Cipresso, P., Serino, S., & Riva, G. (2014). Introducing asymmetrical self-recording for enhancing reflection in psychotherapy: A feasibility study on patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 7, 111-118. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S67418

– Kross, E., & Ayduk, O. (2017). Self-distancing: Theory, research, and current directions. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 55, 81-136. doi: 10.1016/bs.aesp.2016.08.003

– Pennebaker, J. W., & Seagal, J. D. (1999). Forming a story: The health benefits of narrative. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55(10), 1243-1254. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(199910)55:10<1243::AID-JCLP6>3.0.CO;2-N

– Spera, S. P., Buhrfeind, E. D., & Pennebaker, J. W. (1994). Expressive writing and coping with job loss. Academy of Management Journal, 37(3), 722-733. doi: 10.5465/256704

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