Journaling and Cardiac Health

Written by KURA Guest Writer- Doris Lu-Anderson, PhD, E-RYT500, I-CAYT

You may have heard about the positive powers of journaling, from improving memory and reducing stress to reducing your blood pressure. Journaling provides an opportunity to calm the restless mind, get settled, fill, and reconnect with your inner self.

What is Journaling?

Journaling is a way to record our thoughts and emotions to track our life. There are no rules for journaling. It can be done daily, weekly or any time without a set schedule. It can take the form of writing, painting, singing, and even taking pictures.

Journaling allows us to track patterns, improvement, and changes over time. It creates opportunities for us to reflect upon thoughts, calm down our minds, communicate with our inner self and/or inner child, and express our emotions. Looking back at our previous entries might illuminate past problems we have been able to overcome.

The Benefits of Journaling

During the cardiac healing process, there are various emotions that aggravate or inhibit our progress. One of those emotions is stress. A way to manage stressful moments is to journal because it is a helpful tool to calming our anxious mind (monkey mind), filtering out thoughts and emotions, and coping with depression (e.g., Smyth et al., 2018). In addition, journaling helps control symptoms and improve your mood by:

What are the Styles of Journaling?

We are fortunate to have various journaling styles available to us. Select the one, or two (or more!), that resonates with you the most.

Here are several examples:

Other styles use a variety of other mediums to a journal. For example, taking pictures to a journal, painting a piece of art into a journal, recording music or songs.

How Do I Start to Journal?

Try these tips to take your first step:

Journaling is a tool we can use to reflect upon our thoughts and de-stress. Studies have shown positive health benefits you reconnect with your inner self. There are many creative ways to journal so select one or two ways that resonate with you and begin your journey to healing.

References

Mills, P. J., Redwine, L., Wilson, K., Pung, M. A., Chinh, K., Greenberg, B. H., Lunde, Ottar, Maisel, A., Raisinghani, A., Wood, A., & Chopra, D. (2015). The role of gratitude in spiritual well-being in asymptomatic heart failure patients. Spiritual in Clinical Practice, 2(1), 5–17. doi: 10.1037/scp0000050

Smyth, J. M., Johnson, J. A., Auer, B. J., Lehman, E., Talamo, G., & Sciamanna, C. N. (2018). Online positive affect journaling in the improvement of mental distress and well-being in general medical patients with elevated anxiety symptoms: A preliminary randomized controlled trial. JMIR Mental Health, 5(4). doi: 10.2196/11290

University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Journaling for mental health. In Health Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 5, 2020, from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1

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