A wellness journal can be important in achieving your goals.
The use of a journal can help to Clear the mind, allow for Self-reflection and Emotional expression, Provide accountability, Reduce stress, and improve overall Problem-solving. It can be supportive of personal growth and may lead to a greater sense of empowerment in one’s life.
It is also considered an inexpensive form of self-care!
Writing therapy with the use of a journal has been used in a range of scenarios related to overall health and wellness. Essentially what can make journaling supportive to health is when it is leveraged in a concerted way. More on this can be found through PositivePsychology.com under “writing therapy”. Also, a brief synopsis on the history of journal writing as a form of therapy is available from the Center for Journal Therapy.
In scientific studies, various associations between creative expression and health outcomes have been observed.
Self-reflection exercises, such as those that can be applied through the use of a journal, have been used to support people in overcoming grief or trauma. The rationale behind this is that expressive writing can help people to acknowledge traumatic events, organize thoughts, and, then, help them to make sense of things. Essentially, it is a way to learn from the experience and move forward. Experts in this area point out the need to find the right amount of time spent on journaling vs. over-reliance on the tool which could result in rumination.
Studies that have focused on people with chronic health conditions have shown improvements in overall well-being even if the act of journaling was only once a week. Furthermore, there has been some evidence to suggest the simple act of using a journal can boost the immune system and, therefore, benefit health overall. This could have been a bi-product resulting from stress reduction.
Improving immune health is especially relevant when health conditions have been diagnosed.
For general wellness and personal growth, journals can be used to create healthy habits. A few ways in which a journal is supportive for goal setting and forming habits include;
- Definition and visualization of goals
- Organization of information and supportive details
- A catalyst to plan necessary steps and your time
- Leverage of self-accountability and check-ins
Furthermore, the use of a journal can be a great way to notice patterns in your behavior and possible triggers that throw you off track.
When incorporating health and wellness into your journal, you can also use sections to monitor Food and Water intake, Sleep or fatigue, Exercise, Self-care, and factors or symptoms associated with a health condition.
Using a wellness journal is not only a good way to plan out your favorite healthy activities, but also to draft and track other personal goals, such as those related to Productivity, Altruism or Volunteerism, and/or Relationships.
In my wellness practice, I leverage a symptoms journal approach that also incorporates factors related to well-being. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly participants will notice something they hadn’t before completing the journaling exercise. Recently, I added a simple journal tool for general health and wellness. It is conveniently named Live Your Best, Healthy Life!
Photo credit(s): Wellness Stock Shop
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
In need of formalized support to make healthful lifestyle changes? Contact me through my business site.
Ackerman, C.E. (2019, Nov 20). Writing Therapy: Using a Pen and Paper to Enhance Personal Growth. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved from https://positivepsychology.com/writing-therapy/.
Baikie, K.A. and Wilhelm, K. (2005, Sep). Emotional and Physical Health Benefits of Expressive Writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5), 338-346.
Center for Journal Therapy (n.d.). A Brief History of Journal Writing. Retrieved from https://journaltherapy.com/get-training/short-program-journal-to-the-self/journal-to-the-self/journal-writing-history/.
Murray, B. (2002, Jun). Writing to Heal: By Helping People Manage and Learn from Negative Experiences, Writing Strengthens Their Immune Systems As Well As Their Minds. American Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology, 33(6), 54.
O’Connor, M. (n.d.). Evidence of the Healing Power of Expressive Writing. The Foundation for Art and Healing, The UnLonely Project. Retrieved from https://artandhealing.org/evidence-of-the-healing-power-of-expressive-writing/.
Pennebaker, J. W. and Smyth, J.M. (2016). Opening Up by Writing it Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain, (3rd edition), New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Smyth, J.M., Stone, A.A., Hurewitz, A., and Kaell, A. (1999, Apr 14). Effects of Writing About Stressful Experiences on Symptom Reduction in Patients with Asthma or Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Trial. Journal of American Medical Association, 281(14), 1304-09.