Can journaling help your health?

Apparently it can. Both PsychCentral.com and Psychology Today agree that journaling can help your health.

Reduce stress, be more productive

According to PsychCentral, the benefits might be as minimal as reduced stress or help you manage your emotions. The article indicates journaling can help:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
  • Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
  • Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
  • Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
  • Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict. (article).

Write out difficult experiences

Whereas Psychology Today goes much deeper. They spoke with Dr. James W. Pennebaker who is a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He talks about how writing can be tremendous therapy for people who have experienced traumatic events.

“When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experienced improved health. They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function. If they are first-year college students, their grades tend to go up,” he says.

I have definitely experienced all of the bullet points listed above from Psych Central. What about you? Have you been able to keep a journal long enough to find benefit in it? Leave a comment by clicking here

Tips for fall/winter running

Source: Tom Cochrane

One of the biggest things preventing me from running in previous years was the ‘what do I do in winter?’ problem. It often happened where I would get inspired in September or October only to decide to abandon the idea before I even started because I didn’t know what to do in the winter. I was/am loath to spend $60 a month just to run a treadmill inside. Or – if gyms are anything like my experience when I went to my University gym – pay $60 to wait for a treadmill to run on.

This year, I did some research into how I could run throughout the fall and winter. With the help of google and some tips from friends, here are the two main things that have helped me on those cold mornings that I’ve run in recent weeks.

Dress for 15 to 20 Degrees Warmer

“Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. Dressing for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is will allow your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.” (Winter Running Tips by Active.com)

What to wear

Thanks to the advice from a friend, I figured out what to wear based on the weather and the advice above.

Now on days that it’s -5ºC, I wear a long sleeve moisture wicking shirt and a shell jacket, tights, socks shoes. -5 is no longer a scary concept. Once it gets colder I’ll add a fleece layer over top the long sleeve.

Most important lesson

These two pieces of information have given me the information I need not to be afraid of running. I already had all of these wardrobe items. There are only a few more that I think I will need to add: better (smaller) gloves, wool socks, and a toque that leaves a hole for my ponytail! I’m no longer afraid to run in the cold because I’m prepared.

I’m a little nervous about what it will be like when it’s really cold and I’m breathing in cold air into my lungs all the time. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

What about you? Do you have any more tips on how to run in the fall/winter? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Week 3: progress

Source: tetraconz

I had a mentor once that told me I didn’t celebrate my victories enough. So this post is about celebration. I have finally moved up to Week 3 of Couch to 5K (after idling at week 2 after being sick for so long). You know what this means? I ran for two minutes. Multiple sets of two minutes. And I (mostly) survived.

Two minutes is a long, long way away from the 5 hours it takes most women to run a marathon, but it’s still progress. So I’m celebrating!

A pep-talk

Source: marianovsky

Pep talks are key to my success. Business leaders or others might call it ‘casting vision’ for what you’re about to do. To make meetings less boring I (try to remember to) remind my staff why this meeting is important. It’s not just us sitting here for an hour and a half wasting our time, it’s because the decisions we will make in that hour and a half will impact our achievements that week and could change the course of our year entirely. That hour and a half could change our jobs, it could impact the world.

I don’t think we can have success in very much without pep talks or vision. Without being reminded of why we’re doing things, it’s so easily to get lost in the what or the why does this suck? of present reality. This is why I loved this pep talk by Chris Baty, the founder of Nanowrimo. It’s a bit long, but it’s worth the read. The last few days I’ve been feeling my novel is crappy (it was never meant to be published), more than crappy, I still had 30,000 words to write and very little plot space left to achieve what I wanted. I made some changes, but the writing was ARDUOUS at best. At the beginning, I was pumping out my daily 1,667 words in under an hour. Yesterday it took me THREE.

I needed someone to remind me that it will get better. Because it does. While this could be a pep-talk for life as well (it usually does get better), I’m reminded of the importance of vision and having people around me to encourage me, who are rooting for me to succeed. Do you have those people?

Here’s Chris’s pep talk:

You’re watching a movie. And halfway through it, the hero crumbles.

He or she is lost. Surrounded by zombies or forsaken by love or separated from their favorite wookiee. They stare forlornly at the mess their life has become, hope fading that things will ever be put right again.

Screenwriters call this moment “the long, dark night of the soul.” Every Hollywood movie has one because we love seeing our protagonists pummeled for a while before they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and head out to kick some ass.

NaNoWriMo participants go through their own long, dark nights of the soul halfway through November. If you haven’t experienced one already, you will very soon.

I say this with certainty because we’ve spent a lot of time and money making the middle stretch of this year’s adventure especially difficult.

We don’t have the costumes or the makeup budget to send a convincing-looking group of zombies to your door. Instead, we’ve relied on smaller, cheaper things to demoralize you mid-month. We’ve convinced your bosses and teachers to heap projects on you at the last minute. We’ve gotten your family to pitch fits when you need to get caught up on your word count. Most insidiously, we’ve paid your novel’s cast to stumble through their scenes with all the eloquence and charm of a baked potato.

Why? Because we have to do something to make your novel-in-a-month endeavor a fair fight. Which it isn’t. Look at you! You’re a fantastically gifted individual, with fierce courage and an imagination powerful enough to knock out a dozen books in November.

If you don’t believe me, just scroll back through all you’ve written so far. That’s more than most people achieve in a year, and you did it in two weeks. It may be less than you’d hoped, and the quality may be crappier than you’d envisioned. But first drafts are supposed to be rough, and I guarantee you’re too deep in the process right to recognize all the great stuff you’ve put on those pages. Despite our meddling, you’ve achieved a truck-load of literary goodness. And it’s just a taste of what’s ahead.

Because the second half of this noveling marathon is when things really begin to move. For starters, the NaNoWriMo-funded interference will end. This is partly because we’ve realized the whole “fair fight” thing was a dumb idea, and partly because we blew all of our harassment budget on yesterday’s spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to crash every word processor in Manitoba.

Shenanigans aside, the back half of NaNoWriMo has always been a place where writers get their second winds. As long as you keep working, your potatoes will turn back into charismatic protagonists, and your imagination will build a path right out of these mid-month doldrums.

You can help build that path faster by hitting your writing goals for the next three days. This may sound like a small thing, but little, consistent writing achievements open the door to huge writing breakthroughs.

If you’ve fallen behind on your word count or lost the thread of your story, you may think no breakthrough will be big enough to save your book. Take heart: There are 300,000 of us out there right now living that exact same movie. We’re all struggling to balance our books with the crazy stuff life has chucked at us these past two weeks. We’re all wondering if we have what it takes to see this thing through. And we’re all about to stand up, dust ourselves off, and go kick some major ass.

The long, dark night is ending, my friend. The homestretch lies ahead.

I’ll see you at the finish line.

Chris

Morning routine + being sick = grace

Photo by Jason

Photo by Jason

I have to be honest with you. I’ve been sick in various ways for the past three weeks. I haven’t been getting up at 6:45AM these days because I want my body to have all the rest it can get so my nose will stop running and I’ll stop coughing and sneezing. I have kept running, but only once a week (instead of three) and a more low-key run. You know what? I’m still quite pleased with myself!

It has taken determination to get out on those runs when it was -5ºC out and I was coughing up tons of phlegm and I did it with the encouragement of my husband. I didn’t want to lose the memory of how I actually enjoyed the runs and they weren’t as bad as my mind was making them seem. I’ve been too afraid to increase the intensity of the runs while being sick, too, so I’m still on week 2 of Couch to 5K. But again, I’m OK with that. I realize that part of what I’m doing is developing habits of running and so it’s not the end of the world if I’m not increasing intensity every week because at least I’m running.

Sometimes ‘productivity’ isn’t just about getting things done, it’s about the long-term implications about the choices we make every day. Which is why, I’m perfectly happy to not push myself maybe too hard and believe that it’s 100% perfect or don’t bother. There’s something worth celebrating in that last sentence. I used to be a person who thought if I couldn’t reach my standard of perfection I might as well give up entirely.

I’m really looking forward to this cold going away so I can not be a disgusting mess in public, but also so I can run again (because I actually like it!).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...