Could Keeping a Journal Help With Symptoms?
Keeping a journal seems like a simple, benign activity, but it’s actually more powerful than you might imagine. In fact, experts from different medical fields agree that expressing your thoughts and feelings on paper (or a screen) can help with everything from chronic stress to arthritis, and that means that COPD patients could find value in journaling, too.
How Journaling Could Extend Your Life
When you live with COPD, you’re always suspicious of your environment. Irritants and pollutants can come out of nowhere, and they can lead you right into a respiratory emergency.
However, as you begin to record your daily actions and reactions you will begin to notice patterns, and then you can avoid triggers more easily. In the end, journaling will help you solve problems before they start.
Although it seems like a purely intellectual hobby, keeping a diary can bring some surprising physical benefits, too. In fact, you may notice improvement in some of your COPD symptoms, since regular journaling has been shown to:
- Strengthen immunity. Evidence suggests that journaling helps to build T-lymphocytes, the cells responsible for fighting off infection and disease. Since COPD weakens the immune system, anything you can do to build up your natural defences will be advantageous.
- Help relieve asthma symptoms. A 2008 study revealed that writing about stressful life events significantly reduced asthma symptoms in many patients. Those who used “expressive writing” regularly showed a 19% improvement in certain lung function tests. It’s possible that you could benefit from the potential relaxing effects on your airways, too.
- Reduce the consequences of stress. Unloading psychological stress is undoubtedly good for your mind, but since mental stress translates to physical stress, writing about your troubles can also ease the pain and fatigue that comes with the flood of stress hormones. Less fatigue and a better emotional state means you can’t handle exacerbations quickly and efficiently.
Even if you don’t see any sweeping physical changes right away, keeping records of your thoughts and feelings on your illness will help you feel in control, and maintaining a sense of control is vital for better disease management. In the least, you will reduce the weight of stress and worry, plus you will free up time and brainpower to enjoy the better parts of your days.