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4 Ways Journaling Is an ADHD Natural Remedy

“The #1 productivity tool you aren’t using,” is what Forbes called the practice of journaling. 

Research from Harvard Business School says it can boost your performance and impact your career success. Sir Richard Branson calls it, “my secret life hack.” And I call it an ADHD natural remedy. Yep. Just…writing stuff down!

But before we get to how it can be an ADHD natural remedy, check out some of these eye-openers:

Research: How Journaling Supports Your Health

  • A study among breast cancer patients found journaling improved several health metrics, as well as stress levels and overall quality of life.
  • 25 years of research among prison inmates indicates that, “Writing about what distresses and dismays us decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves our sleep patterns,” according to author and writing facilitator Ann Reynolds.
  • It’s been shown to decrease the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis!
  • One study showed effectiveness in reducing severity of irritable bowel syndrome!

A key in much of this mind-blowing research is that the benefits accrued from writing just 20 minutes a day; in some cases, for just a few days.

But you can get huge benefits from just a few minutes of journaling each day (more on that in a moment). Journaling is NOT about keeping a detailed diary. As I define it, journaling is just a brief daily practice of recording by hand reflections on your experiences, thoughts, feelings and/or priorities.

[Note that I emphasize writing by hand, vs typing. Studies support this: A study at Princeton and UCLA found that students who take longhand notes rather than with a laptop, gain a better grasp of a subject. This is because of what’s called the “encoding hypothesis,” which says that the processing required of writing notes improves learning and retention — processing that doesn’t happen when typing.]

So there’s some science on why writing by hand is where it’s at. And here’s why journaling is where it’s at for ADHD adults and teens…

4 Ways Journaling Can Be a Natural ADHD Remedy

  1. Writing about stressful events helps us come to terms with them, and stop ruminating on them; reducing their impact on our physical health and mental stamina. (And we ADHers are champion ruminators, no?)
  2. Journaling clarifies our thoughts, feelings and priorities. By “getting them out”, we process and synthesize them much better. Who out there would like some clarified thought today? Anyone?
  3. Similarly, journaling helps us problem-solve, by pulling our thought process out of our short-term memory, where it’s difficult for us to organize and project sequential steps toward a solution — and putting them in an external workspace where we can more effectively sort, filter and analyze them.
  4. It boosts self-confidence. “When people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy, and they feel more confident that they can achieve things,” says Harvard Business School’s Francesca Gino.

How Journaling is a Natural ADHD Remedy

Journaling is a powerful natural ADHD remedy? Yep.

So, a daily journaling practice has tons of evidence-based benefits for your ADHD, your productivity and even your health.

But I know, you’re worried that to get these benefits you have to go out and buy a leather-bound diary with the little key, and then somehow sit down for an hour a day documenting your entire day and every thought that crossed your mind. What a pain in the butt! But no…

You don’t need to do much writing to get many of those benefits…..

Intrigued About the Potential for Journaling as an ADHD Natural Remedy?

Think about this: You’re already writing or word processing every single day! And all I’m talking about here is devoting a fraction of your daily writing energy to a journaling session of as little as two minutes a day.

I dedicated an episode of Crusher™TV to The Power of Journaling, in which I’ve assembled 3 Ways to Journal That Are Not a Pain in the Butt…The first takes just two minutes. Another one takes just five minutes. Plus, I share 6 Foolproof Tips for Building an Effective Journaling Ritual. You can preview it below.



P.S. You might get a lot out of watching that entire episode of Crusher™TV where I dig deeper into this topic. (You can become a member for a buck and cancel any time ya like.) It’s Episode 78 , and you can preview that episode at either link.

3 Ways to Journal


10 Responses to “4 Ways Journaling Is an ADHD Natural Remedy”

By William Bentley - 24 July 2017 Reply

Jim Rohn was the first to draw my attention to this phenomenon. I’ve evolved my writing to be more supportive and reflective and I write in the third person, i.e. Talking back to myself, which has made me less self-conscious in the writing.

I can’t recommend this enough and even diarises 20 minutes every morning at work for reflection and planning, which is inclusive of a journal entry which outlines the risk present in the day, the mindset and behaviours I wish to adopt and reminds me of the key mantras of fluid, mono-tasking and allocating time slots for subsequent tasks.

By ADD Crusher - 25 July 2017 Reply

Sounds like you’re really working several great hacks — journaling, mono-tasking, etc. Keep hack-stacking!! AB

By Angela - 18 July 2017 Reply

Bought a book to journal in “the cover spoke to me”

By ADD Crusher - 20 July 2017 Reply

That is great Angela. Just do your best to use it every day. It’s hard for us ADDers to maintain a consistent ritual, but journaling even just a TINY BIT every day or night is really helpful for keeping us on track!!!!! -Alan

By Therese - 12 June 2017 Reply

I love journaling in the morning. It’s my version of prayer. I’m given insights while writing & breathe easier when done. (really)

By ADD Crusher - 13 June 2017 Reply

Love that verbiage — “my version of prayer”. Tx for chiming in and passing along the positive results of journaling!

By Hope - 12 June 2017 Reply

I have been telling my clients to journal. Glad to see that I am backed up!!

By ADD Crusher - 13 June 2017 Reply

We got your back! Keep sharing good word!! AB

By John Lampland - 12 June 2017 Reply

Well written, Alan!

By ADD Crusher - 13 June 2017 Reply

Thank John!! I’ll put that positive thought in my journal tonight!

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