“Dear Diary – Johnny said ‘hi’ to me in the lunch line today. I think he’s super cute and I hope I get to sit next to him in chemistry class today….”
No. That is not the type of journaling I’m talking about. Ick!
Journaling is merely keeping some type of log regarding the happenings of your life; and it’s a very good idea. For one thing, it helps you work through a situation as you are going through it. Sometimes just getting your thoughts down on paper (or virtual pen and ink) can help you process the information better.
Also, it provides you with material you can look back on and see progress or identify areas of patterned weakness. For example, if you look back and see that you frequently have a nasty headache after a heavy workout, you can try to narrow down the cause of it. It could be that you are just dehydrated, and drinking more water before and after your workout will help.
In addition, when you journal, you will be better equipped to talk with your doctor about your symptoms, activity levels, etc. during your follow-up visits. A good thing to do before you see your doctor is to go back and read over your journal since your last follow-up visit, and jot items down on a piece of paper and give it to the doctor at your visit. This is valuable information to him/her about your progress. It also helps you to talk through issues in an organized manner.
Perhaps even better, you can look back on your progress and see that the things you once thought were impossible have become possible as you move forward one step at a time. This is will be extremely encouraging to you when you hit a plateau or when you feel like just giving up.
So, give journaling a try. You have nothing to lose, and so much to gain.