Journaling has many health benefits. A study into the health benefits of journaling by Dr James Pennebaker, a research psychologist, found that writing for just 15 to 20 minutes per day for four days produced increased immune system functioning. These changes lasted up to six weeks after the end of the experiment and months later participants had fewer visits to health clinics and doctors for stress-related illness.
I first noticed the health benefits of journaling when I was in hospital following a breakdown. In hospital I started to journal. It was a way of basically journaling myself back to wellness – sorting out the rational from the irrational thoughts.
Getting out of hospital I really embraced my creative side and signed up for creative writing classes. I started with short stories but more and more my writing concentrated on real-life experiences so I took a course in that too. I even toyed with the idea of setting up a business writing people’s memoirs but dropped the idea to retrain to be an English teacher. I got a job taking notes for disabled college students and eventually set up a business as an English teacher. Through helping students with their writing I thought of the idea of being a copywriter and started a business in that.
A lot of this time I was in therapy and writing for therapeutic purposes. It was when I was looking for journaling prompts that I discovered the field of therapeutic writing. It was one of those pivotal moments in your life where things just seem to slot into place. I did an introductory course in therapeutic writing and the best moment of the course was when we did journaling. It was through that course that I discovered the Centre for Journal Therapy and started their course to be a Journal Facilitator.
I still write for therapy and have started working with others. Journaling has been one of the best things I’ve done for my health.