Journal writing has been done by some of the most influential people in history. They kept journals or diaries all about their lives, experiences, and feelings. Many of them found these writings helped them to keep track of their daily activities as well as giving them an avenue for helping to release and / or express their emotions. Writing is a very creative activity. That is why keeping a journal can help you understand yourself better by being able to review and reflect on how you feel and the things you have done. Your journal can become an excellent tool in helping you to monitor your own progress. It is similar to a verbal photograph of your own growth. In fact, research has shown that writing about things you find to be stressful can lead to improvements in your health physically as well as psychologically.
Tips for Successful Journal Writing
To be successful at anything you have to make time to do it. So schedule a time each day to sit down and write! It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, 15 to 20 minutes is all you need to jot down a couple things on what you did that day and how you feel. It is also important to make sure your journal or diary, whichever you wish to call it, is kept private allowing you to be honest with yourself about how you feel. Also take it easy on yourself when you are writing. No one is going to be reviewing your journal or diary, so how neat it is or if it is grammatically correct doesn’t matter! So schedule your 15 or 20 minutes right now, grab a journal book or a steno pad and begin writing!
Ideas for Items to Record in your Journal
- Weekly Weight
- Pain Level – Best to use numbers on a scale of 1 to 10
- The Weather
- Your feelings – Stressed, happy, angry, or sad. You can even record your feelings by drawing pictures.
- Major Decisions
- Things you are worried about
- How well you slept
Health Benefits of Keeping a Journal
According to Psych Central there are many health benefits for journal writing. Journal writing helps you express and understand your emotions. It serves as a guide in getting to know and understand yourself better and how you react to certain things. Seeing this type of guide to your feelings and reactions gives you a certain insight to yourself which can make it easier for you to solve problems and resolve conflict. Journal writing also helps you manage stress. As chronic pain patients we know how much stress can impact how we feel and the importance of managing it. Managing our stress can only strengthen our immune systems and help to decrease our pain.
What are you waiting for, block out 15 to 20 minutes of time and begin journal writing today! The American Chronic Pain Association offers several variations of logs to track specific information about your pain, you can view them here. You can also purchase your own journal or steno book from a local office supply store. I also found an interesting article on the Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, you might find interesting.