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another gift idea: journals, Part 1

Posted Dec 11 2009 12:00am

I have been posting gift ideas for all of you who might want to get something for the person in your life who’s a member of the brave metastatic breast cancer warriors.

Today and tomorrow I am concentrating on a single gift idea. Journals.

Journals have been part of my life since my mom got me a pink diary for my seventh birthday; even then I loved to write. I can still remember thinking it was the most exciting gift and immediately took it to a private corner to write my first page. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I know it started with Dear Diary. Since then I’ve acquired journals of many types in which I write, sans Dear Diary, about every part of my life. I have one journal that I write only to my mom; I started this journal in 1997 when she danced into the light. I have two other journals that I keep; one holds my writing, while the other includes odd bits about thoughts and perspectives that seem important to me to remember or to cue me for writing. Anything that does not fit neatly into a writing entry goes here as a seed, a premature thought, an incomplete thought. I also keep online journals of my poetry, including a daily haiku journal. Tomorrow I’ll continue this topic with Part 2 that will include links to sites where you can either buy a journal to match your personality and pen preference or where you can post, privately or publicly, online.

Writing to express emotions seems to have an established role in helping patients with various health challenges cope. Psychiatrists and support groups recommend that subjects and members keep a diary or journal in which they write about not just events but about feelings toward events. With expression of emotions seems to come a kind of catharsis that helps ease symptoms of stress, pain and symptoms. I have felt the catharsis of journal writing. With so many symptoms, side effects, pain and fear, we face many stressors, and we all cope with these in our own way. Support from others is key to continued coping; various drugs help ease symptoms and pain; alternative and complementary treatments are gaining acceptance and use; and participation in religious or spiritual beliefs has a long-standing tradition. Writing to express ourselves privately has recently established its own role in this group of coping with stressors. Here are a few articles that you may find helpful.

And, don’t forget to check Part 2 tomorrow for suggestions on how to get started and where to get journals to support the brave and special cancer warrior in your life.

The Wellness Community: Frankly speaking about cancer treatment and side effects

Musa Mayer, blog entry: Write your heart out

PsycheCentral, Maud Purcell: Health benefits of journal writing

menorah and star

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© 2004-2009 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.
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