Fibromyalgia and the Benefits of Journaling

We all have habits, some not so good for us and the ones that serve us well  like cornerstone habits.  A cornerstone habit acts as a foundation to build upon and could start a chain reaction of positive change, such as journaling or diary keeping, that with very little effort can transform your life.

Like any habit it may take several attempts before it becomes ingrained and I have to admit that when I first started journal writing it felt like a bit of a chore, just another thing on my list of “to do” stuff that mostly never got done!

With this lack of motivation I had to find a “why” …….. a solid reason to do it. To get inspired I tagged it to a time for treating myself and made it part of my self care routine.  So, by giving myself a special time to sit with a nice cuppa, pen and paper, getting comfy to enjoy the sounds and view of nature, I soon discovered my “why”  to this little ritual as it became a precious gift to me. It didn’t take long before it most certainly did kick off a chain reaction in giving me a time to be mindful, engage with my senses to enjoy a few moments in the here and now.

I found that writing about my emerging thoughts and feelings brought a discovery of the energy draining patterns I was unknowingly following.  Over time it enabled me to  find solutions and the benefits began to shift into other areas of my life, particularly my ups and downs of managing fibromyalgia.

Receiving a diagnosis and learning to live with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia is no doubt a life changing experience. You can easily find yourself lost in a stormy sea with no idea how to navigate your way through it.  You find yourself going round and round, flare after flare, like being in an never ending whirlpool! Life becomes overwhelmingly stressful and resulting with a mind full of  fears and worries.

All these “what if’s” and a body riddled with pain goes on to drain any remaining energy you’re holding onto just to get up in the morning. It feels like it’s never going to stop!

Yet life has to go on despite fibromyalgia and there might be times when you have to manage this on your own. Some of the people you talk to just don’t get it or they don’t understand, they can’t help.

Journaling allows you to express your voice in what you truly think and feel.

Internally, your journaling offers you the space to be your only judge, it directs you to listen to your inner-critic and SHUT IT DOWN!   Writing your journal is your time where you can really get honest with yourself, without judgement and in complete privacy.  Go for it!  Say it as it is, I mean really go for it!!  

On the external front, how many times have you found yourself avoiding  conversations because you are sick to your teeth of justifying your situation?  So often we find ourselves not saying what we truly think and feel for various reasons, maybe fear of rejection or from lack of understanding from others, or you may even be sick of hearing yourself!  So why not bash it out on paper, get creative and stab the paper with your pen!  Let yourself have a good old vent!

Unexpressed thoughts and feelings that don’t serve you begin to fester but getting them out onto paper helps to release them.  The act of acknowledging and giving thoughts and feelings a label helps them to dissipate.  When you take away their power you can begin to let go of any fears, hurts or blame and is a truly wonderful therapeutic process you can give to yourself.

Through journaling you can give yourself quality “Mindful” moments.

We all know that it’s essential that we have to manage our own fibromyalgia, to give ourselves self care and to remember to pace.  There’s nothing quite like some quiet time amongst all the clatter that goes on in our lives and a time to silence all the internal chatter.

Heightened sensitivity goes hand in hand with fibromyalgia and we can easily become stuck in freeze.  The stress response doesn’t switch off and we’re on auto-pilot, mechanically playing out all our bad habits such as overthinking, ruminating and catastropyzing etc.  Our minds will only go in the direction you tell it to go!  Make sure you’re telling it to go in the right direction!

When our stress response becomes too good at its job, the negative bias takes control.  The outcome is yet more fibromyalgia flare ups, increased pain and ill health.

It’s really helpful to set an intention to keep tabs on this by recording and organizing your thoughts on paper to pin point where your stress is coming from.  Only then can you find solutions.

When we find ourselves spending a lot of time in our heads, why not make it a good place to be?  Journal writing helps you to mindfully reflect and bring clarity to disordered thinking giving some space to write a few lines and acknowledge some gratitude in your life.  To create a shift sometimes all it takes is to notice the small stuff, like a flower or the sounds in nature.  It’s amazing what you can find when you actively search for it!  Here a few benefits of journaling for fibromyalgia:

  • Improve your sensitivity to build resilience
  • Reveal unhelpful patterns and bad habits
  • Direct your intention to find coping strategies
  • Discover and track flare triggers
  • Challenge self doubt and improve self-trust
  • Highlight symptoms and stress triggers
  • Increase self awareness and clarity of thought
  • Regularly shift your focus to experience moments of calm

Why not put pen to paper and give it a go, who knows what you’ll find! author Jok Saunders, Mindfulness Coach

 

 

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