Close the Book on Your Past

image of person writing in a journal

Did you know that the age-old practice of journaling falls under the umbrella of mind-body practices?

Those of you who kept a diary all those years ago deserve a pat on the back. You were actually contributing to your own self-healing!

The process of writing about your experiences, thoughts and feelings can help you to build self- awareness. This can help release any stored pain and break down internalized barriers that may be creating stress or worsening actual physical symptoms.

Dr. Jonas describes journaling as a path to awareness, control and wholeness. In the popular YouTube video he explores three techniques you can use:

  • Split page technique
  • Split person technique
  • Dream journal

Decoding the Science
Journaling may help you deal with stressful life events, but it has also been used in the treatment of depression, hypertension, infertility, teen socialization and eating-disorders including emotional eating. One study even exploring journaling to reduce relapse or recidivism among substance-dependent jail inmates.(1)

  • A 2014 study of expressive writing in patients undergoing treatment for kidney cancer concluded that expressive writing may reduce cancer-related symptoms and improve physical functioning. Evidence suggests that this effect may occur through short-term improvements in cognitive processing. (2)
  • Just one 20-minute writing exercise lead to cancer patients’ reports of improved quality of life in a 2008 study. (3)
  • Expressive writing improved depressive and PTSD symptoms in women with a history of childhood sexual abuse. (4) 

These studies and others have shown that journaling can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health, and can be used to make psychotherapy more effective.

Pick up a Pen or Reach into Your Wallet
With stress being a major contributor to chronic disease, you could be decreasing your future health care costs. Stress has been found to be related to or triggers of heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, Alzheimer’s disease, accelerated aging, and premature death. (5)

Journaling is one example of how a mind-body technique can empower individuals to manage stress and cope with past or current experiences. Taking 20-minutes a day to write is manageable, cost-effective and doesn’t come with the stigma of other treatments.

Book those 20 minutes of writing today to reduce your stress and lower your health risks.


Need more information before you take out your pen and paper?
  1. In one of our most popular YouTube videos, Dr. Jonas, an avid proponent of journaling, showed the importance of connecting with your inner self through the written word. Watch the 4-minute video.
  2. Not quite ready to do-it-yourself? The University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine, provides a free program complete with writing exercises and affirmations to get you started. 
  3. Learn more about optimizing health and healing in all facets of your life by downloading Your Healing Journey, a free downloadable e-book.


Sources:
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21362642
2. http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/01/21/JCO.2013.50.3532.abstract
3. http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/13/2/196.full
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23875721
5. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/10-fixable-stress-related-health-problems