Atlantic Magazine - "The Value of Remembering Ordinary Moments"

There's a new article on the Atlantic magazine: "The Value of Remembering Ordinary Moments" by Cody Delistraty. If you are interested in journaling, you should read the whole thing. The article describes research from Ting Zhang of Harvard University, in which she discovered that students' interest in reviewing events of their lives increased as time passed after documenting them. And of the moments, ordinary ones were more interesting than significant ones. 

The people in the study were most interested in rediscovering the mundane experiences. Asked to write down what they were doing on an ordinary day (a few days before Valentine’s Day) and then on an extraordinary day (on Valentine’s Day), participants had more pleasure reading their entry about the ordinary day three months later than their entry about the extraordinary day. The ordinary experience had also been more difficult to remember than the extraordinary one and so its rediscovery felt fresher.


What was more interesting was that the subjects tended not to want to spend time, even a few minutes, documenting those events. Yet their regret over not writing them down was significant:

Given a choice between writing about their day for five minutes or watching a talk show host interview an author for an equal amount of time, only 27 percent of people chose to document their day and only 28 percent of people—regardless of whether they chose to write or not—thought that they would care later about what they were doing that day. Three months later, 58 percent of people said they regretted choosing the talk show clip over journaling. They were bad at estimating how much they’d value the present once it became the past.

So, journaling is good for you; research says so!