A person writing in a journal.

How Journaling Changed My Lupus Outlook

I have been journaling since I could write. It has always been a part of my life to get things out of my head, especially in trying times in my life. I was given my first journal at five years old. My mother called it my special diary. I was so excited. It was pretty with butterflies and flowers. I can see it as clear as day in my head, bringing back such fond and precious memories. I remember any time something happened in my days. I would run to write it in my diary. It became a habit that stuck with me throughout the years.

What is journaling?

Journaling is a simple way to record the moments and thoughts throughout your day. For me, it is a record of memories and self-expressions that help me throughout my days. I have used journaling as a self-care and coping technique. Ultimately, it has been a sort of retreat without ever leaving my house. Additionally, I have used a journal to chronicle my health and living habits. Most importantly, I have used journals to keep me self-aware and hold myself accountable to me.

Why journal?

Keeping a journal can be a powerful tool to help in self-care, personal growth, and expression. It can be a fun and creative way to help you keep track of your health and emotions. Primarily it can create a personal space that helps you through difficult times and inspire you as you see your growth.

Benefits of journaling

There have been so many benefits for me in journaling. Journaling has been a saving grace for me since I was a child. When my mother passed away when I was nine years old, I used the journals she gave me yearly to release those hard emotions of loss. It always stuck with me what my mother said when handing me a new journal. “Use this journal to let it all out. It’s just for you, and it will help you all your life.” For this, I believe the most important benefit of journaling, to me, is a release.

Decreased anxiety

I know with lupus comes a level of anxiety that cannot be denied. With journaling, I began to put those negative emotions out of my head and onto the paper. This helped me let it go and move past it all. I could see my fear or doubts and work at not duplicating those feelings again.

Reduce stress

Stress is a number one emotion than causes me flares. Doctors have proved that stress can damage your physical, mental, and emotional health. I have used journaling as a stress management tool and habit to decrease stress and stay healthy beyond lupus.

Boosts mood

I have found journaling creates a better mood within me. Sometimes the issues of lupus can really get me down. Once I take out that journal and write what’s on my heart, it brings me a greater sense of overall emotional well-being and happiness. Gratitude journals especially help me focus on what’s good beyond everything that lupus can bring to me.

Keeps memory sharp

Because lupus fog can really take a toll on me, I found that journaling kept my memory pretty sharp. Writing it all out helps to boost my memory and comprehension. As a result, I am not as severely affected by lupus fogs. Additionally, journaling increases my working memory capacity, which has helped me with cognitive processing.

Better communication skills

As a result of journaling, I have felt much more comfortable communicating with others. I am not bogged down by negative thoughts or emotions, providing an open heart to communicate better. Consequently, I communicate much better with myself. I can get clear about any issues, build discipline, get to know myself better, and even sleep better.

Lupus, for me, has been such a learning journey. I have had to learn ways to cope that reap the best benefits in my life beyond lupus. I keep journals for gratitude, health, food, and emotions. They all serve a purpose in my lupus life.

Journaling may work for you and help you establish a habit of dealing with your lupus issues differently. For me, journaling has been the ultimate help in setting the tone I have for myself in my lupus journey. When I was first diagnosed, it was instrumental in helping change my outlook on how I would fight this lupus fight daily. In short, a habit that my mother started in childhood has dramatically helped me in adulthood. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Do you journal? If so, what are the benefits you have received from keeping a journal?

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