In case you weren’t already convinced to put pen to paper (or you’re having trouble making the habit stick) we’ve got some solid, science backed reasons why you should get writing.

A healthier heart

Research published by the American Psychological Association found that gratitude journaling had positive effects on the heart rate variability of patients suffering from heart failure. The study found that greater levels of gratitude were associated with a better mood, less fatigue and lower levels of inflammatory markers in patients. The study concluded that gratitude journaling supports good cardiac function and a healthier heart.

Feel in control and empowered

“Frequent journaling allows us to access, on a deeper level, how we think and feel about what is happening within us and in our lives. This enables us to feel more empowered in our lives as we have more clarity of thought and a greater understanding of ourselves,” explains WF resident kinesiologist, Yolande Herring. “We live predominately in a left-brain analytical world and journaling helps us access the right side of our brain which sees the bigger picture, is more intuitive and is more creative.”

Feel less pain

A brain imaging study conducted by psychologists at UCLA found that the act of putting our feelings into words could actually lessen feelings of pain, anger and sadness. The participants in the study were asked to label emotions in photographs and by explaining the emotion in words it was found that the part of the brain responsible for emotion became less active. The study indicated that simply putting our feelings into words can promote healing and lessen negative emotional responses.

It could even make us smarter…

A report by the University of Victoria looked at the effects of writing on student’s IQ levels. It was concluded that writing had a positive correlation with intelligence. Additionally, writing and journaling widens the vocabulary and acts as an exploration of language. The study found that vocabulary was linked closely to IQ.

And it has healing qualities

One 2005 study found that those who wrote about traumatic, stressful or emotional events were of better physical health and less likely to get sick than those who didn’t journal. Those who spent time writing expressively were ultimately less affected by trauma. While in the short-term, expressive writing temporarily increased feelings of emotion and distress, in the long-term the journaling resulted in greater well being. Some of the long-term effects reported by participants included fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, reduced blood pressure, improved lung function, improved mood and reduced depressive symptoms.