The Healing Effects of Journaling

The Healing Effects of Journaling

Posted by Lillie Shockney, R.N., M.A.S.
on Sun, Dec 24, 2006, 5:11 am PST


You may not see the value of committing your thoughts to paper, but I’ll try to convince you anyway.

After my own experience with breast cancer, I’m convinced that journaling during breast cancer treatment should be required therapy. Though no one but you may ever read what you’ve written, you will find that expressing yourself this way is a type of healing in itself.

Recording your thoughts and feelings, anxieties, successes, and future hopes can be reassuring. Even if you only write one or two sentences each day, it is worth it. So, select a special journal book to use, find or go buy a great pen that feels good in your hand, and start writing. Once you get started, you’ll find that words you never allowed yourself to speak aloud will flow out of you onto the paper.

Allowing yourself to recognize your limitations is nurturing,
especially when we are assessing our body’s limits. Even recording acts
of kindness done by others for you is healing. Granting yourself space
and time for emotional healing is important, too, and those thoughts
and wishes can be put to paper. Making a list of the goals you want to
achieve in the future is wonderful, both short and long-term goals. One
of my goals was to see my daughter grow up and happily marry. Ten years
later, I did.

There may be some days when you won’t feel like
writing. That’s OK. Journaling shouldn’t become a chore. You might just
write one word or phrase that sums up your day, like "hair in the
sink." Later, when you re-read that passage, you’ll know exactly what
you were thinking and feeling that day, and why.

Remember, you’re
not keeping a journal to share with others, though some women do turn
their journals into books (I have, twice). Its main purpose is to give
you a clear place to hold your thoughts, release your worries and
fears, create hope within yourself, and see that you are making it
through this journey. One day at a time.


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