A journal is a place to record thoughts and emotions, a place to vent or dream. Journaling can lead to finding hidden or overlooked truths. Your moods may begin to make more sense. You and your doctor may discover a missed diagnosis for symptoms whose source had been overlooked. Journaling lets you see the pattern of your activities, and your emotions, moods and thoughts.
Keeping your journal private makes it easier to write more honestly about thoughts and feelings, while journals limited to activities and facts may aid in diagnosis and treatment through sharing with professionals. In general, I suggest to my clients that they not allow anyone to see their journals. It's one thing to share information, but if you allow anyone else to see your actual journal, it's hard to counter the temptation to begin writing to that reader, which inevitably changes what you choose to write. The choice, however, is always yours.
Journals can help you relax (which may help moderate physical pain) and may help you cope better with difficulties. Remember that a journal doesn't have to contain written information. You may prefer a book of pictures, drawings, clippings, or a collection of musical compositions. You'll know what feels best.
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Updated on 06/28/2002