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The Science Behind Journaling: 3 Facts That Prove It Boosts Intelligence

Ok, so if I am going to be completely honest with you, there isn't any direct scientific evidence that journaling definitively increases intelligence. Someone definitely needs to do a study on it, I'm assuming there are more important matters...I guess. But while we wait for the study results, we can satisfy ourselves knowing that experience has proved that journaling can indeed positively impact cognitive function and intellectual development.

In this post, I will share 3 facts that prove journaling boosts intelligence. I hope that you feel super proud of yourself for keeping up your journaling practice and if you do not yet journal, I hope this post motivates you to start journaling today!


Enhanced Reflective Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills: Journaling encourages reflective thinking, where individuals critically analyze their thoughts, experiences, and challenges. When I am journaling in The Grace & Gratitude Journal, I sometimes come up with solutions to long-standing problems just by freely expressing myself in writing. I also feel like I am able to process my thoughts, all that I am worried about and grateful for, and figure out how I actually feel about them leading me to make better life decisions.

According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, reflective thinking enhances problem-solving skills and promotes deeper understanding of complex issues (Smallwood, Schooler, Turk, Cunningham, Burns, & Macrae, 2011). This process can lead to cognitive gains by fostering the ability to consider multiple perspectives and generate creative solutions.

I feel so much smarter when I am able to come up with effective solutions to my problems and successfully solve a dilemma using a different perspective. Journaling helps me accomplish this!


Improved Cognitive Processing and Memory: When I write about my experiences, my thoughts, and my emotions it helps me improve cognitive processing and memory retention. My short-term memory was damaged a few years ago when I endured long-standing emotional abuse. There are a number of threats to our ability to retain our memories and journaling can help counter-act the negative effects of these threats.

Research from the British Journal of Health Psychology suggests that expressive writing (similar to journaling) helps individuals organize thoughts and make sense of their experiences, thereby enhancing cognitive clarity and memory (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005). This improved cognitive function can indirectly support intellectual growth by facilitating better information retention and retrieval.

I have so many hobbies and a lot of them are educational. For example, I am currently learning Spanish and how to play the harmonica; it's so important that I am able to retain vocabulary or notes to music. Journaling helps me process what I am learning and retain it so I can keep building on what I know.


Development of Communication Skills and Language Proficiency: Reading and writing are long known aids to better articulation and vocabulary building. I get compliments all the time on how articulately I express myself and on how wide my vocabulary is. I have journaling to thank! Journaling requires individuals to articulate their thoughts clearly and concisely. Over time, consistent practice can lead to improvements in communication skills and language proficiency.

According to studies highlighted by the National Writing Project, regular writing exercises, such as journaling, strengthen vocabulary, grammar, and syntactical skills (Graham & Perin, 2007). Effective communication and language mastery are integral components of intellectual development and academic success.


While these points illustrate the cognitive benefits of journaling, it's important to note that intelligence is a multifaceted trait influenced by various factors beyond writing alone. If you ask me, reading, writing, and sipping tea all make you smarter! Now, where's the study on that! Nevertheless, incorporating journaling into a routine can contribute positively to cognitive processes and skills that are conducive to intellectual growth.

Why not try journaling in my very own journal? The Grace & Gratitude Journal was designed by yours truly to maximize the benefits of journaling but minimize the time it takes to do so. I write in The Grace & Gratitude Journal each morning as a quick practice towards intentional thankfulness.



  • Smallwood, J., Schooler, J. W., Turk, D. J., Cunningham, S. J., Burns, P., & Macrae, C. N. (2011). Self-reflection and the temporal focus of the wandering mind. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(2), 193–202. doi:10.1037/a0022928

  • Baikie, K. A., & Wilhelm, K. (2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10(Pt 1), 11–29. doi:10.1348/135910705X43804

  • Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). Writing next: Effective strategies to improve writing of adolescents in middle and high schools. National Writing Project.

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