Benefits of Journaling for Ovarian Cancer Patients
I have kept a journal off and on for most of my adult life. Even as a child, I would occasionally write about my thoughts and experiences. I’ve discovered that my journal saves me time, helps me to clarify my thoughts and feelings, and keeps me on track to stay healthy. Journaling provides an excellent outlet for dealing with the challenges that life throws at me. Keeping a journal especially helpful when confronting a difficult problem, such as an illness. Journaling helps me to assess where I am in life and identify steps that I need to take in order to create the life that I want to live. If you have a diagnosis of ovarian cancer or another serious illness, you may find journaling beneficial too.
Tools for Journaling
A journal is a refuge, not a chore. The equipment needed is inexpensive. A simple spiral ringed notebook and a pen or pencil is all that you need to get started on this delightful journey. Purchase something to write in that is reserved only for journaling. Do you prefer lined or unlined paper? Would purchasing a book designed for journaling with a beautiful exterior appeal to you, or are you happy with a note book with a brightly colored cover? If you think that you may want to include mementos of your experiences in your journal, consider purchasing a loose-leaf binder which has room for pockets that can be used to store your treasures.
What do you like to write with? Inexpensive ballpoint pens are convenient. Do you prefer the feel and look of colorful gel pens, or fine tipped markers? Do you need pencils for drawing? Keeping a journal is all about comfort. Choose tools which appeal to you.
Benefits of Journaling
Your journal can provide you with a safe refuge for your most intimate thoughts. You may write things in your journal that you would never say out loud. As you write, you may be surprised at your ability to see clearly and accomplish your goals. Your self-knowledge will increase, and you will become aware of your true feelings. You will begin to see patterns in your life. As you identify themes and patterns emerge, you will be able to concentrate on what is working well in your life and rid yourself of unhealthy habits which you previously were not conscious of.
Create a Refuge for Journaling
While carrying your journal to medical appointments as an outlet to write in while sitting in waiting rooms is useful, to get in touch with your deepest thoughts, you need a nurturing environment. Decide where you would like to journal most frequently. As journaling becomes a habit, simply entering that place and beginning to journal becomes a sacred ritual which supports healing of your mind, body, and spirt.
Are you most comfortable in a plush old chair in a corner of your bedroom? Do you like to sit outside in your garden, surrounded by the sounds of songbirds and gentle warm breezes? Where are you the most secure and least likely to be disturbed? A calm location for journaling will help you to relax, concentrate, and enter deeply into the journaling experience.
Develop a routine for journaling. Some people choose to write a specific number of pages each day or to write for a certain amount of time. It’s your journal. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Let your family know that your journaling time is an important aspect of your wellness journey and that they mustn’t disturb you. Don’t answer the telephone. You may enjoy soft instrumental, background music; but otherwise turn the radio and television off. Some people light incense or candles. Others use aromatherapy diffusers to help create the perfect setting for journaling. Do you have a special beverage, such as an herb tea which soothes you as you journal?
Journaling is much more than sitting down and writing “Dear Diary”. It is a profound journey into your soul. Your journaling experience can be a full immersion into all aspects of your life or you may choose to use your journal as a means to guide you towards a specific goal. That is the beauty of journal keeping. Your journal is whatever you need it to be. As your needs change, your journal will too.
Starting your Journal
You may already have an idea of how and why you want to keep a journal. If you don’t, consider these options.
Start your journal by making a list of what you want to accomplish by writing. Are you attempting to improve your coping skills? Do you want to become physically fit? Are you searching for the deeper meaning of life? Do you hope that keeping a journal will help you to figure out what you want to do with your life? A journal can be an effective tool for accomplishing all of these goals and more. What you can accomplish with your journal is limited only be your imagination.
One unexpected benefit that I have discovered by stating my goals is that once my goals are written down, they are much more likely to come into fruition. I am not sure if this is because I am more focused on achieving them or if an inexplicable power sets circumstances in motion for my goals to be accomplished once I clearly identify them. What I do know is that writing down specific goals in my journal is a powerful tool for improving my life.
One thing that I do each time that I write in my journal is to list five things that I am grateful for. Most of the time, the things that I am most grateful for are the blessings of ordinary life. I have eyes to see with, my first daffodil bloomed today, my sons visited. Sometimes there are the big victories. The medicine worked, my income tax refund arrived, or I visited with a friend that haven’t seen in years. Being grateful, especially when life is hard, heals the soul, connects us to what really matters, and provides clues to who we are. When we know who we are, and who we are choosing to become, we begin to live authentically. Life gets simpler. We concentrate on living a meaningful life rather than getting bogged down in the inevitable difficulties which life presents. Being grateful improves the mood. As our mood improves our immune system functions better. We become stronger physically and emotionally and more generous with others.
Why Journaling is Worth Trying
Keeping a journal can help you to regain a sense of control and purpose. Living with ovarian cancer may make you feel like a victim. Journaling can help you to cope with the roller coaster of emotions and physical challenges that you face. As you write down your goals, break them down into manageable steps, and document your progress, you will begin to reclaim your power. With each victory, your confidence will grow. Instead of focusing on being a victim of a terrible illness; you will gradually begin to focus on each day and moment instead of living in fear and dread of what may lay ahead. Life can be magnificent even when faced with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Your journal is a tool which makes it possible to live well, be grateful, and be at peace with who you are.