Journaling and Writing for Health

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Stress Management and Relaxation
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Journaling for Health

       Journaling will be more effective as a health tool if you maintain complete confidentiality. Find place where you can have privacy while you write, and keep your journal inaccessible to other people. If we think someone is going to read what we’ve written, we start editing the content and spend unneeded energy finding just the right word so we won't be misunderstood.

        Write thoughtfully and emotionally about stressful topics. It is more important to write about how you perceived and experienced an event, than it is to get all the details correct. Write continuously, pausing as little as possible. Don't worry about grammar, spelling, or word choices. Even if you find writing awkward, keep writing. You don't have to be good with writing for writing to be good.

       Write about the things you have difficulty speaking opening about -- your deepest thoughts and feelings, especially anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. Write about your past as well as the present, and even your fears about the future. Initially, you may feel even more sad or depressed when you first get in touch with and express these deep feelings. The sadness usually dissipates within a day or two, eventually leaving a feeling relief and happiness.

       Write for at least twenty minutes, three or four days in a row. During periods of high stress, such as divorce, serious illness or another emotional crisis, you may want to write daily. Writing more often is better than writing less often, so write whenever something bothers you.

       Write whenever you find yourself thinking, "I don't want to think about that!" Write when you feel upset about something, but your intellect tries to tell you that you "shouldn't" be so upset. Sometimes our unhappiness doesn't surface until after we start writing, so if you feel unsettled but don't know why, just start writing. Your spirit will lead you to the answer.

     Here are some health writing suggestions from the pioneer and expert in this field, Dr. Pennebaker: health writing tips

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