The Benefits of Journaling
When someone brings up journaling what comes to mind?!? Is it the first diary with a tiny lock that you got as a birthday gift when you were a young girl? Or is it the the journal you kept as a teenager and hid from your siblings and patents?!? Or maybe you have a gratitude of prayer journal that you enjoy as you've gotten older? For me I think about all the half filled journals I have. Journaling is the best way to record experiences, ideas or reflections, or thoughts on your current health situation. I truly feel that in the age of technology that journaling is a lost art. Which makes me sad considering all the amazing things putting pen to paper can do for a person.
I don't know if you are like me and love buying journals and notebooks. Sadly my addictions to all things journal often leave me with a bunch of partially used journals. Truly more than I want to admit! I always say I'm going to make it a habit and journal everyday. Which I do, for a week or maybe a month. But eventually I run out of things to write. So I end up falling off the wagon and don't write anything for a few months. Journaling is truly a form of therapy for many because a journal is a safe place where the writer can really focus on their thoughts and feelings. It is often said that journaling can help an individual gain mental and emotional clarity, validate their experiences and feelings while coming to a better understanding of themselves.
Believe it or not journaling is said to actually improve your overall health. In fact there most be something behind it simply based on the number of medical professionals, friends and family that have suggested journaling to me over the last 6 years. I'll admit that I was skeptical and didn't believe that simply writing my feelings and such on paper would make a difference, until I tried it. Over the last 18+ months I had to keep a pain/symptom journal for my disability hearing. I found that keeping a journal allowed me to see trends in my pain in regards to my activity or what I had been eating. The journal also helped me to accept my illness because it showed me exactly what I could and couldn't do in regards to working and such.
There are several types or way of journaling that are each beneficial in their own way. So let's look at each type of journaling.
1. Bullet Journal- According to Bullet Journal, ”the bullet journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” A bullet journal let's you be you. Most if not all of the pages are blank so you can use it to make lists, or draw, o make your own calandar/planner!! You can use all different color inks and stickers if you like. To me this is more of a planner than a journal, as you can track your finances, your health, to-do lists and all kinda of things. And I'll be honest I'm not artistic or creative in any way so it just wouldn't work for me as it was designed.
2. The standard journal- Like I states above a journal is basically a way to express your feelings in a personal way. It has been said that using a journal helps you to clear your mind, get your emotions in check and reduces stress. And I don't know about you, but I will try anything to reduce to reduce stress in my life. For most this way/type of journaling is most likely to pops in someone's head if someone else is talking about journaling. These journals come either pre-5lined for writing or with blank pages so you can draw or doodle or write whatever and however you want!!
3. A Health Journal - This can be kept anywhere. You can document everything in a standard spiral bound notebook, a journal or wherever you want. So what do you journal about your health?!? That's the beauty of it being yours, you can document anything from mood, to pain levels, any symptoms you experience on that day, to how you are tolerating your medications. You can totally customize it to what you need or want to track. There are also a number of apps that you can use to track your health! But for me, paper is the way to go. I can easily go back and look at what's happening so I can track trends.
4. The Graditude Journal - a gratitude journal is really exactly what it sounds like. It is a diary of things one is grateful for. These are often used by those who wish to focus their attention on the positive things rather than the negative.
Overall, journaling is important for EVERYONE young and old. It can help you relax, deal with stress or track your health. It really doesn't matter what you use to journal in. Just put pen to paper and get to writing. I'll be honest I was very hesitant to start journaling but it turned into a very positive and eye opening experience. There is something about getting what's bothering off your chest (by speaking or writing) that just feels so wonderful. It's truly like living a weight off. Both health journal and gratitude journals are so important for the chronically ill. By tracking your health you can look back and see how long you've been dealing with x or how long you felt like z. And it's a great tool for your doctor as well. They only see you for 15 min (if that) every 3-6 months, so the journal shows them what has been going on. Basically what I am saying is that it doesn't matter what kind of journal you choose to use, just put pen to paper and get those feelings out there!!
PS: I am working to design a sheet (eventually a book hopefully) that would combine the health/ symptom and medication journal on one side and gratitude journal on the other. Is that something you would be interested in?!? Please leave me a comment down below letting me know what you think of this idea!!