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Can Writing Help you Cope with Cancer?

medical team

For many patients undergoing cancer treatment, the stress of dealing with day to day activities can be overwhelming. Writing has become an increasingly popular and beneficial resource for managing the anxiety and stress that arises from adapting to a new lifestyle as a result of diagnosis and treatment. Writing daily or weekly in a personal journal is one way that patients and family members impacted by cancer can express themselves in a completely uninhibited and honest way.

Many of us have days in which we might feel overwhelmed and unable to express our feelings to others, but taking a moment to write down our thoughts allows us the opportunity to work through complex emotions and develop new insights on stressful situations. There is no protocol or limit to what we may choose to journal about nor is there a time minimum or maximum for how long is appropriate to compose a journal entry. The choice falls on each individual to decide what works best for them. Journal topics can include writing about daily milestones, happy and sad moments, the support of family and friends, the things for which one feels grateful, the difficulties of undergoing treatment, and dealing with the wide range of emotions including anger and pain. Through journaling, we can fully express ourselves because writing is one of the few avenues we have to truthfully express how we feel in a safe, nonjudgmental and unbiased manner. As a result of including writing in our lifestyles, we can take steps towards better understanding ourselves and we may find it easier to deal with circumstances that we previously found daunting and overwhelming. Writing may be particularly beneficial for individuals who tend to feel better after expressing their emotions.

In an article published in Cure Magazine titled, The Write Stuff: Expressive Writing about Cancer Promotes Healing and Well-Being, Loree, a recently diagnosed cancer patient details her journey through cancer and how she was able to utilize journaling as an additional resource for copying with her diagnosis and treatment. To read the full article click here.

For more information on the benefits of journaling:
Psych Central
Cancer Net

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