ELi5: Why is writing down your thoughts so much more effective than just thinking them?


Is journaling actually worthwhile? How is it better than just being very mindful of your thoughts?

In: 8

It takes a longer time to commit thoughts to your long term memory based on just “thinking”. Other thoughts or new info might come into your short-term memory replacing the current thoughts. By writting down your thoughts the muscel memory of writting thoughts helps commit it to long-term memory since you are writting, thinking, and visually seeing your thoughts.

When you’re conscious of your thoughts, it activates one ‘part’ of your brain.

When you write them it activates another.

When you read them, still another.

Same for speaking them.

Same for singing them.

Because it forces you to put them in words. They may (maybe) feel like they’re in words in your mind, but they’re not. As long as it’s in your head it’s a mashup of patterns and mixed up with emotion and sensation. You think more in concepts than in words.

Writing them down forces you to put them in a form which can be understood by others, or by yourself later, which is sort of a proof of concept for the thought itself. Doing so also makes you work on the thought, meaning that writing it down is as much an act of creation as it is one of transcription.