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October 2019

Jot This Down: Journaling Could Boost Your Well-Being

For better health and well-being, you already know the basics: eat well, exercise, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep. But there’s something else you should add to the list that can yield major benefits: journaling. Research shows that regularly writing down what’s on your mind can help you release emotions and make sense of what’s going on in your life. It can also help improve your relationships with others, lower your blood pressure, and decrease symptoms of depression.

Older man sitting against a pile of logs, writing in a notebook

There’s no ‘write’ way

There are many different ways to go about journaling. You could write about your thoughts and feelings. Or, you could use your journal to help problem-solve. Try taking a big problem that you’re facing and then make a list breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts that you can tackle one at a time so the issue no longer feels so overwhelming.

You could also journal by jotting down a few things that you’re grateful for. Shifting your focus from your daily hassles to gratitude can help lower stress, improve your mood, boost the quality of your sleep, and even reduce inflammation in your body, studies show.

Put pen to paper

Journaling can protect your health in surprising ways. People with diabetes are often told to log their food intake and activities, but journaling your feelings can make a difference, too. When you have diabetes, you may experience a blood sugar spike during times of stress. By journaling, you can start to identify what’s triggering your stress and take steps to address it.

There’s no right way to start journaling. The key is finding what feels best for you. To make journaling a part of your daily routine, try linking it with a habit that you already do. For example, after brushing your teeth in the morning or in the evening, take a few minutes to write in your journal. Over time, writing will become just as automatic—and beneficial—as reaching for your toothbrush.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2019
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