Why Write?
Discover Your Most Powerful Vehicle To Success - Write Now!

For centuries people have used the journaling process for a myriad of reasons: to stimulate a healthier mind and body; to vent and express thoughts and feelings in a healthy, constructive manner; for increased self-awareness; to document life experiences; even to get closer to God.

Today, journaling is widely accepted as a powerful tool to promote increased emotional intelligence. For coaches, trainers, mental health practitioners, and leaders of all types, journaling is perhaps the most effective coaching tool that exists - yet one of the most underutilized resources. Until now.

Dr James Pennebaker, professor of Psychology at the University of Texas in Austin, pioneered research into the links between writing and health.

Pennebaker conducted a study in which student volunteers were asked to write about a traumatic event in their lives and the associated emotions. Pennebaker found that people who'd written revealing accounts of a personal trauma showed an "impressive drop" in visits to the doctor, compared with control groups who were assigned other writing topics. "Writing about their deepest thoughts and feelings about traumas resulted in improved moods, more positive outlook, and greater physical health."

Subsequent experiments have shown that writing boosts health in myriad other ways, including strengthened immune function, a decreased reliance upon pain medication, improved lung function in asthma patients, and reduced symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Some studies have further demonstrated reduced blood pressure and improved performance at work and school.

There is an endless supply of testimony to the power of journaling. We listed some of the more recent and impressive accounts below:

  • Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research recently completed a 36-month study on Weight Loss Maintenance. During phase 1 of the study, they found that their participants who kept a food journal lost, on average, double the amount of weight then those who did not.

  • "Keeping a food diary is not easy," says lead author of "Weight Loss ... Maintenance," Jack Hollis Ph.D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon. "People often tell me, '... it is the most effective tool I have for managing my weight.'"

  • "Writing about your daily progress gives you insights and records what works and what does not for the personal journey you are on. As a holistic coach for over 30 years I have seen what works best and have trained many to follow their client's recovery by journaling and discussing it in weekly visits the first month." Talismae Allen, PhD , on journaling as an important tool used to quit smoking.

  • "One of my many responsibilities as a School Psychologist is to teach the students with whom I work strategies to help them cope with and manage life's many challenges. I frequently suggest journal writing. Journal writing is an effective and simple stress management strategy for people of all ages... It is free, helps to organize our lives, increases self-awareness and requires no specialized training. It may also help with problem solving life's obstacles." Jo Ann Winkler , School Psychologist, certified Personal Trainer, Nutritional Consultant and Holistic Stress Management Instructor.

  • Dr Laura King, of the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, concludes "...expressive writing has health benefits."

  • Curt Rosengren, author of the book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work, did an experiment where every morning for 30 days (to start with) he wrote in a journal in which he would focus on only two things: 1) What's positive in my life? 2) What's keeping me from focusing more fully on the positive in my life?

It started with simple curiosity: "I wonder what effect it would have if I created a space where I focused only on positive things."

"The first thing I discovered was that my brain started more actively noticing the positive...second, incorporating gratitude journaling created a great reminder of how many things there are in my life to be thankful for. It helped keep things in perspective. Ultimately, the experiment had a significantly positive impact."

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