The Benefits of Journalling

In an age where many online blog platforms, such as Naver, Tistory, and iLounge have become the most popular and convenient method for people to share their thoughts, opinions and experiences; it might surprise some that more and more Koreans are queuing up outside bookshops and stationery stores to get their hands on a product that was once an essential item – a journal.

People have always used journals for many different things, whether it be a schedule book for work, a school dairy for homework and classes, or the more traditional ‘daily thoughts’ journal – with many possessing a different journal for each of those categories.

However, since hard-copy journals are hard to keep track of and easy to lose, digital versions have become the go-to for many people since it’s more convenient and you can have it on your phone; something that’s especially useful for those with busy work and personal schedules.

But despite all the plus factors of a digital journal, the many benefits that come with keeping a hard-copy journal have begun to win over the masses.

Whether it be a planner to keep track of your day-to-day activities, a notebook to jot down your schedules, or a traditional diary where you can express your feelings and thoughts – journals seem to be a rising trend for the modern youth and adults alike.

©Photo by Estée Janssens, 27.03.2019,

Consider this; A journal can have a thousand uses – from random collections of paper on which you’ve scribbled your inner-thoughts and reflections glued upon the inner-leaves, or a trove of post-it-notes upon which you’ve written the names of films you’ve recently enjoyed, or new songs you’ve discovered,  or the books you want to read, or even the new hobbies you’d like to try.

Some have found that having a physical book to write in has helped them to think clearly,  to plan their day more efficiently and to make it easier to focus on finding happiness in their life.

When smartphones and other electronic devices have so many diary and organisational apps, the question must be asked – why have so many Koreans and people from all over the world chosen to write in a hard-copy journal?

“나 생각이 많은데 정리가 안 돼서 저널해요, 그리고 글로쓰면 내 생각이 더 명확해져요 – I have a lot of thoughts that I can’t organise, and when I write in my journal, my thoughts become clearer.”
– Myung-Hui*

“Using the notes and calendar app on my phone is more convenient, but I find more joy in writing with a pen and paper. My journal is a little part of me that I carry wherever I go.”
– Estelle

Beyond the aforementioned, journalling is an investment in the self. It is a documented method that has been proven to better a person’s mental well-being through positive habitual reinforcement. The very act of committing thought to paper is itself cathartic. 



  • Soothes anxiety and increases feelings of calmness (source)
  • Promotes individuation (the maturing of the self/identity)
  • Enhances mental health (source)
  • Helps you to deal better with depression (source)
  • Reduces symptoms related to panic, PTSD, and addiction (source)
  • Increased self-awareness, self-understanding, and self-compassion
  • Improves your ability to communicate with others (source)
  • Increases happiness (source)
  • Promotes mental clarity and problem-solving skills
  • Helps you to deal with stress and intrusive thoughts more effectively (source)
  • Increases creativity
  • Improves your work efficiency (source)
  • Can help to improve your IQ (source)
  • Speeds up emotional recovery after romantic breakups (source)
  • Promotes emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual healing


©Photo by Bundo Kim, 05.03.2019,


It is both pragmatic and beneficial to decide beforehand what it is that you want from your investment. If you decide on using it as a form of catharsis, add structure to your method, work out how often you want to write, and make sure that you carry it wherever you go to facilitate the formation of the habit. 

©Photo by Mike Petrucci, 05.03.2019,

Once you’ve purchased your journal, you can explore different ways to express yourself – from creative writing and decorating, to drawing, or simply writing personal notes.

“I always look forward to sitting down and taking the time to write in my journal for the day, filling in all my activities and schedules makes me feel organised.

During the week I also find different ways to decorate the pages by drawing little illustrations, sticking in photos as well as things like movie tickets, cafe cards and stickers. This little ritual helps me unwind during the week.” – Sejin

©Photo by Thought Catalog, 05.03.2019,

Not only is writing in a journal a great way to express your creativity, but it can also be used to help your mental health by keeping track of all the events and experiences that made you happy during the day.

In a previous article, we wrote about Sohwakhaeng (소확행), a trend in recent years that has surfaced with Korean youths. Sohwakhaeg promotes the idea of a ‘small but certain happiness’ – these can be anything from simple activities, such as drinking a nice coffee in a café, going for a relaxing walk, or listening to your favourite music, to bigger ones like treating yourself to your favourite meal, buying something that you’ve had your eye on, or going on a small trip

“My journal is both a planner for my work and university courses as well as a sort of ‘Happiness Diary’, where I write down things that brought me little bits of joy during the day – such as movies, books, conversations with the people I met and, most of all, music.

Writing all the things that brought me small happiness has really helped me to appreciate my life and focus on bringing others happiness too.”  – Bi-Eun

If you’d like to be inspired to start journaling, check out these beautiful and creative journals by some very talented Inspire Me‘s:

©Journal by yemseul, 10.03.2019,


©Journal by sofvtley, 10.03.2019,

*Some names have been changed for autonomy purposes. 

Feature Image Source: ©Photo by Thought Catalog, 05.03.2019,
Study sources available at:

Claudia Deborah 이보라

Book-dealer by day, writer and illustrator by night—Instagram: @kikitsa.draws. Instant coffee and trot music get me through the day. My life is simple but I’m greatful for it. 나의 인생은 조금 심심하고 단순하지만, 이런 내 삶도 나에게 주어진 삶이 기 때문에 감사함을 느끼고 있습니다.



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