I came across a quote by Swiss writer WM Digglemann recently that inspired me to share the benefits of journaling. “Stories,” he said, “are weapons against disease.” Writing stories had helped him overcome destitution and had given him identity.
I personally began to journal when I was in my 30’s. Journaling creates that quiet time where I can escape to reflect on my emotions, gain perspective or simply lay a line of gratitude or hope. It amazes me when I look back at what I’ve written, especially when I was on my healing journey with Breast Cancer. I am amazed at the changes I have made and how much I’ve grown and overcome. I believe that journaling is an excellent tool for Healing Your Emotional Wounds.
Journaling is creating an account of emotions and events that you experience.
It’s a way for Breast Cancer Conquerors to express the many deep emotions you experience that perhaps you are not comfortable in sharing with anyone else. There is a real power associated with self-expression, which enables you to release bottled up emotions that may be holding you back.
In fact, scientific research shows that expressive writing can reduce stress and promote a range of benefits for those facing and surviving cancer:
• In a recent pilot study of expressive writing among Chinese speaking Breast Cancer survivors, participants were asked to write 20 minutes each week for three weeks. Participants experienced a decrease of fatigue, intrusive thoughts, and reduced post-traumatic stress three months later. There was also an increase of qualify of life and positive affect, even after six months.
• Another study showed that simply one 20-minute writing session may be enough to change the way people with cancer think and feel about their disease almost immediately. Three weeks later, the writing session still had a positive effect on the person’s quality of life.
• A study of expressive writing for people with cancer found that women on a Breast Cancer journey who wrote their deepest thoughts and feelings reported the fewest symptoms and had the fewest unscheduled visits to their doctors.
That’s because we all have a personal narrative or inner voice that shapes our view of ourselves and the world around us. Our inner voice may not get it right all the time and some researchers believe that writing and then literally going back and editing your story with the outcome you desire can lead to a new outlook on how you view the obstacles that stand in the way of better health. In other words, you can create the life of your own design by seeing yourself living the life that you WANT to live.
It’s not clear why putting your thoughts down on paper is so impactful. But you can see that the practice allows you to process and express difficult feelings, clarify what you want, work out how to move forward and simply cope with the challenges you’re facing.
How to start journaling
If you’re interested in journaling, it’s easy to get started:
1. There are no rules. This is your space to express yourself in the most authentic way possible. Some people like to choose a pretty journal, a special pen or many pens. Others prefer to keep an electronic journal on their computer or mobile device.
2. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Let your thoughts flow using many words, a few, a list or even doodles, photos and found objects. No one is grading you or looking over your shoulder so don’t get caught up in perfection.
3. Dedicate at least 10 minutes per day to journaling to gain the most from the experience. I like to do so before going to sleep at night. I keep a gratitude journal in my nightstand and I express all the many things I am grateful for. At other times, I choose quiet time early in the morning to focus on my goals, aspirations and dreams.
The most important thing to remember is that you should express what’s in your heart and on your mind. Don’t hold back because this is YOUR time and space. Journaling is not about a description of your day or a list of things to do. Your journal is where you can sort through your feelings by articulating them, breaking them down and eventually revamp them with hope, goals and action steps.
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is the founder of The 7 Essentials System ™, a step-by-step guide that teaches you exactly how to prevent and heal Breast Cancer Naturally. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 day mini e-course, and to receive her weekly action steps and inspiring articles on the power of Natural Medicine, visit https://breastcancerco.wpengine.com/.