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Journaling - A Tool for Healing and Growth

The word "journal" comes from the French. It dates back to the 14th century and means daily. As recently as April 26, 1999, "Newsweek" magazine ran an article entitled "Pen, Paper, & Power. Confessional Writing can be Good for You."

Recently, the JAMA had completed a study in which sick participants wrote about their feelings and events in their lives. "Newsweek" wrote, "Researchers found that asthma patients who wrote about painful experiences, improved their lung function by 19%. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis saw their symptoms decrease by 27%."

Journaling can be a wonderful experience. It can be a place to express feelings not yet ready for verbal communication. The journal provides a private and safe place to reveal yourself. It can serve as a reflective experience to explore and interpret your inner feelings. It can also offer a tool to express your anger and hurts. It is a vehicle to help you to get the feelings out of your body. When we repress negative feelings, we may experience headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure, to name a few.

Do not worry about grammar, punctuation, or spelling. Let your words flow freely and do not judge them. This is a place to unwind, to focus, and to experience clarity.

If you take the time to write out your thoughts and feelings, you will discover that you usually feel much calmer than when you started. And you may find that the answer you seek is a few lines away.

Sound too simple? There are some guidelines to help you along the way. You can buy a notebook or plain paper. The important thing is to keep it in a safe place but get everyone in your family, home, office, to agree not to read it should they come across it.

Where to begin? A simple exercise can be writing down your name. Look at it and think about what it means to you. Free association can be very helpful too. Here are some other ideas for getting started:

Write down words to a song and what they mean to you.

Make a list of important people in your life and what they mean to you.

Write about what makes you happy.

Write about what makes you angry or sad.

Write about what hurts.

Write letters that you are never going to send, about your anger, sorrow, disappointments with someone.

Also be sure to write about some positive things in your life also. This is not a place to dump on yourself.

If you feel your emotions are getting out of control, you can stop writing for a time. It is important to return, but sometimes a pause is healthy.

If you seek more information, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Although not a substitute for professional help, should you need it, journaling can offer joy, relief, and insight.

Karlynn Baker grew up in Los Angeles, California, and moved to Arizona in 1972 to receive her MS degree in rehabilitation counseling. She also specializes in addictions. She owns her own counseling business and enjoys life with her husband, David, three daughters, and three adorable grandsons.

In The News:

Holidaymakers among 7 dead as helicopter and small plane collide in Majorca
Sun, 25 Aug 2019 14:22:00 +0100
Seven people, including two children, have been killed in a collision between a helicopter and a small plane in Majorca.

Police draw their guns after being attacked by Hong Kong protesters
Sun, 25 Aug 2019 11:10:00 +0100
Hong Kong police have drawn their guns and one fired a warning shot into the air after they were attacked by protesters with sticks and rods.

Major nations close to agreement on Amazon fires, says Macron
Sun, 25 Aug 2019 13:52:00 +0100
Emmanuel Macron has said leaders of the world's major industrialised nations are close to an agreement on how to help fight the fires tearing through the Amazon in Brazil.

Full scale of devastation in Amazon rainforest is impossible to tell
Sun, 25 Aug 2019 05:07:00 +0100
It was only after the wrath of world leaders was unleashed on Friday that the Brazilian president responded with meaningful action.

Child among 22 migrants rescued from Channel
Sun, 25 Aug 2019 11:00:00 +0100
French authorities have rescued 22 migrants who got into trouble while trying to cross the Channel.



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