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Kathy Marshack News

Journaling Improves Your Health

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


journaling is good for your healthThere’s a long history of people recording their life events, thoughts and dreams in their diaries. These histories have proved valuable for future generations, but are there any benefits to the writer? Can writing in a journal improve a person’s health? There has been interesting research on this subject recently that I wanted to share with you.

Creative activities like journaling produce a natural “high”. Recent studies are showing that creative activities like journal writing can improve your immune function, raise your energy levels, build self-confidence and reduce stress. When you are creatively engaged in an activity, your body releases a chemical called adrenocorticotropic. This chemical is a neurotransmitter that fosters communication between the two halves of the brain and produces a natural “high” that makes you unconscious of the time passing.

Journaling uses your whole brain. While you’re engaging your left brain in the analytical elements of writing, your right brain is free to be creative. This removes mental blocks and uses your whole brain to better understand yourself, others, events, and problems.

Journaling strengthens the immune system. According to James Pennebaker, PhD, psychologist and researcher at University of Texas at Austin, journaling 20 minutes a day for four days about your deepest feelings concerning an emotional upheaval strengthens your immune cells called T-lymphocytes. In another study conducted, he and Keith Petrie, PhD. and others at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, noted that journaling reduced HIV-related stress and significantly improved the function of the CD4 lymphocytes.

Journaling relieves some of the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.The American Psychological Association reports that Joshua Smyth, PhD, of Syracuse University studied the effect of journaling on the immune system and discovered that writing “helped the subjects to get better and keep from getting worse.” A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that there are definite health benefits to those who suffer from asthma and rheumatoid arthritis when the subjects of the study wrote in their journals.

Researchers agree that there is much to be learned about why journaling helps. They also agree that success depends on the way people use journaling to not only vent but to interpret and learn how to work through the feelings expressed. If you’d like to learn how to get the most benefit from journaling, especially if you're coping with a difficult situation, you can contact my Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA office for an appointment.



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