The emotional and mental health benefits of journaling almost seem like common sense and those benefits are well documented. But there is empirical scientific evidence for improved physical health as well.
In one study (Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 2009) , injured elite athletes spent 20 minutes a day for only 3 days writing in journals about their negative experiences related to their injuries and treatment. Four weeks later, as you might expect, their psychological stress levels and mood disturbances were significantly lower than the control group's outcomes.
And that isn't all! Writing in a journal also also produced measurable health benefits in a physical way, including enhanced immune systems!
The many benefits of journal writing are some of the primary reasons life coaching online works so well for Positive Changes Coaching clients. Consistent, purposeful journaling between coaching sessions provides clients with an ongoing space for reflection and for unlimited contact with the coach.
The process of journal writing (with or without journal writing prompts) is a key strategy we use to to help clients be mindful of where they are and to help them move from where they are to where they want to be.
We offer a free online journal program that clients may access, even if they are not a client at Positive Changes Coach.
A lot of empirical research has been done around writing in a journal. The following two abstracts are quotes from
PsychiatryOnline.org an article entitled "Can Therapy Affect Physical Health." Two of the research studies they cite are about the therapeutic value of journaling.
Pennebaker and colleagues demonstrated that healthy college students who write about traumatic events have stronger immune functioning, visit university health clinics less frequently, and experience greater subjective well-being compared with control subject
Another study cited on the same site speaks about the benefits of journaling for people with asthma and arthritis. Interestingly, the patients in this study wrote in their journals 20 minutes a day for only 3 days, the same amount of time as the elite athletes mentioned earlier.
A sample of 61 patients with asthma and 51 with rheumatoid arthritis wrote about either highly stressful or emotionally neutral events for 20 minutes a day on 3 consecutive days. Four months after the intervention, those in both disease categories who wrote about traumatic events were significantly improved compared with those writing about neutral events.
The asthma patients showed improved lung function as measured by forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and rheumatoid arthritis patients showed improved disease function as rated blindly by an examining physician. In total, 47.1% of patients who wrote about stressful events achieved clinically significant gains
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