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Positive Impact of Journals
Guest Article 2004-08

How Journaling Can Positively Impact Your Physical Health

Copyright 2004 Patti Testerman
Journal Genie

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association,
writing about stressful life events helped reduce symptoms of asthma
and rheumatoid arthritis in patients with these chronic illnesses.
The effects of the writing exercise were still evident four months
later and resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in patient

Interestingly, studies showed that asthma patients who wrote about
their most stressful life events showed a 19-percent improvement in
lung function; similarly, rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 28-
percent reduction in symptoms.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence that links mental
and emotional health to physical well-being. Although researchers
aren't sure exactly how expressive writing can lead to health
improvements, they theorize that writing help people cope with
stress, and stress—as well all know—clearly impacts health.

University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James
Pennebaker believes that regular journaling strengthens immune
cells, called T-lymphocytes. He theorizes that writing about
stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing
the impact of these stressors on your physical health.

Louise Moran, a nurse coordinator, has written about a patient who,
during a serious illness, sent daily e-mails to friends and family
about her illness, a practice the woman believes played a pivotal
role in her healing process. Moran said another patient felt that
journaling helped her create a new life after breast cancer. There
have even been studies suggesting that journaling in healthy people
actually improves the immune system.

Resource Box:

Patti Testerman is content manager at,
the only online site that analyzes your writing and
then gives you instant feedback. Discover self-defeating
patterns, find better ways to communicate in a relationship.
Contact her at

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