8. Keeping a Journal

There is a surprising amount of research on the health benefits of keeping a journal.

 Look after your emotions
  • Writing in a journal is a powerful exercise in stress reduction. There are few opportunities in life to spill out your deepest emotions without fear of judgement and journaling is one of them. 
  • Using a journal helps to get negative emotions out of your system and has a cathartic effect. It might seem strange if you have never journaled before, but you will probably grow to view writing as a form of therapy. It's simply a space to write down how you truly feel and process your thoughts. 
  • Recording how we feel about a particular event, argument, emotional upset etc. tends to put things in perspective. Often we find that when we revisit how we reacted to or felt about a particular event, we realise how irrational we were 'in the heat of the moment.' Recording our thoughts on paper often helps us see them more clearly. 
  • Journaling is perhaps the greatest tool you have to document your progress when you are making dietary changes aimed at  better health or weight loss. Any climb back to health requires you to pay attention to your body, notice what is going on and adjust according to what works for you. Try writing down what you eat and how you feel after eating meals and snacks. You will be so much more aware of your reactions to certain foods. 

When it comes to keeping a food diary, know this about the food you are eating: If you are eating real food that is right for you, you should feel satisfied after the meal and you should not have any cravings. You should have abundant, solid energy, not nervous energy or tiredness and you should not feel moody or depressed (unless you have good reason). Irritability for no reason is a symptom of a poor diet. Keeping a daily journal will help you make observations like these after each meal. Eating foods we are sensitive to and junk foods can cause stress to our bodies and can be a major contributor to numerous health issues. 

Finally, journaling is something you do for yourself and no one else. Get yourself a beautiful journal that inspires you to get started.  For more information on keeping a health journal go to the three articles I wrote for the website Anything Goes Lifestyle Magazine on keeping a health journal, in particular noting the effects of Nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress.