Journaling to Better Health

Monday, November 12, 2007

"I will write myself into well being." ~ Nancy Mair

Most people consider their work to be stressful. But many writers consider their work a pleasure and, at times, therapeutic.

Journaling, for one, is considered a healthy habit. I don’t find the time to journal every day. Sometimes, my entries go at least a month apart; yet, I make sure I continue to fill my pages. Recently, I glimpsed a local news article about the various benefits of journaling. I didn’t think much of it at first, but then I sat down and discovered the benefits are numerous. Journaling helps with:

• Stress management
• Therapy
• Recording memories
• Self exploration – discovering patterns, achievements, strengths, weaknesses
• Clarity
• Problem solving
• Sparking imagination
• Preventing foot-in-mouth mistakes

This is just a quick list, and I’m sure more advantages exist.

If you’re not a journal writer, but you’d like to give it a try, here are a few prompts to get you started:

• Write about a goal that you made into a reality.
• Choose one of the worst times of your life, and write about the best that came from it.
• Write about your biggest fear and how you could overcome it, even if it means visiting a hypnotist.
• Describe a memorable rejection from a publication.
• List out all the parts of your life for which you are truly grateful.
• Make a list of the people in your life for whom you feel the most grateful.
• What’s the weirdest memory you have? Chronicle it from beginning to end.
• Make a list of all the dreams you wish to come true before you die.
• Describe the strangest dream you can recall, or a recurring one.
• Write about the biggest, best, or most memorable party of your life.
• Spark a story for fiction from an amazing or unbelievable memory.
• Write about the last time you laughed so hard that you cried.
• Reflect on one of the most blissful moments in your life.
• Reveal a random act of kindness in great detail.
• What’s your best quality?

If these prompts don’t spark a series of word streams, then just write whatever pops into your mind. If you feel comfortable, send your journal entry here to put on the blog, even if you want to post anonymously. Let us know. This could be a lot of fun.

One of the best parts of journaling: there are no rules or guidelines to follow. You create your own path.

Now, if we could only walk or hike while we write in our journals, then we’d improve our physical health, too. Unfortunately, I don’t know a single person who can walk and write without bumping a wall, stumbling, or falling down.

Hmmm. Maybe I should ask for a voice recorder for the holidays. ;-)

3 comments: said...

Hello Sue,

After reading you blog I felt compelled to tell you that we launched a new site that is helping thousands journal their way into well-being. check out

Best regards,

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sue, I didn't know you kept a journal ~ that is so cool!

As you've probably read in my sorely outdated bio, I've journaled since I was twelve. It was such great therapy for me then, and I wish I still consulted in my therapist now. In this day and age (I sound old, lol) it seems like blogs are our new diaries.

When I think about recording something now, I'll write it in MS word. I would love to say that's because I'm such an eco-centric gal, but I know that's not exactly the truth, even though I strive for that. Technology has changed, and recording ideas with a keyboard is much faster for me than writing. I'm a terribly slow writer and a super fast typer. I guess that's true of most ladies these days. We're lucky to have spent time in Typing 101! (Unlike most guys) My hubby is the worst typer, I know I've told you this but I call him "Sam Peck-n-Paw." Seeing him at the keyboard makes me wrench and want to take over. "Move!" (a' la SNL)

To get back to your main topic: I think journaling is one of the truest forms of writing. I believe everyone should do it, whether electronically or on paper. I even have a bit of an obsession and look for old diaries and journals on ebay. I think they're fascinating. I even purchased "fake" journals that women wrote (and I knew this as I purchased them) because it was just interesting to me to see how they played it off. The listings would read something like, "Journal found in attic of house I just moved into from the 1800's - steamy!" (LOL) Right off the bat I knew those journals weren't "real" -- but to me, that's what was so fascinating about them. A young woman writing something into an old weathered journal and trying to pass it off as a find in her attic... it doesn't get any better than that! I discovered all kinds of unique and creative writing that way. The thing is... I never thought those were "real" -- I have a bit of skepticism in me, I guess. But I just wanted to know if they could 'play it off' and in many cases they did. It's like purchasing a novel for $100 that only you own the rights to. The cost is nothing when you think about the time spent by these writers. Of course, I would never publish it, but I love having these unique treasures in my possession. I also collect antiques. I could go on about all the "stuff" I've collected or found, believe me!

Anyway, thanks for prompting my rambling response. ;-) I love your posts because they help me recall my memories and the things that I love.



LuAnn Schindler said...

I've journaled off and on for close to 30 years. The most effective journal I have is one that I began on my 40th birthday. My daughter asked me how it felt to have lived half of my life. I told her that genetics are on my side, and I plan on living to at least 100. But her comment got me thinking - why do people look at the negative when they age? Why not look at the positive?

So thanks to her, I started a "positive" or happy journal. I wrote about one thing each day that was positive or made me smile.

Some days it was a simple as having raspberry cake for dessert at dinner! Other days, it was seeing the proverbial lightbulb turn on in one of my student's minds when he or she figured out a concept.

It made me appreciate life to a greater degree and showed that you really shouldn't sweat the small stuff.

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