Can Journaling Benefit Those With Cancer?

How Can Cancer Journaling Help Cancer Patients?

Cancer Journaling

Living with cancer can be overwhelming at times. Feeling ill, worrying about the future, side effects of medications, and financial concerns can make living with cancer frightening and exhausting.

Modern medical treatment is essential; however, it does little to help you cope with the day to day stress of living with the disease. In fact, traveling to appointments, fighting with insurance companies, and sitting in waiting rooms while you are ill often adds to the stress of living with cancer.

Some people who live with a diagnosis of cancer have discovered that journaling helps them cope better.

The Differences between Healing and Curing

Modern medicine uses tools such as surgery, medication, and radiation in hopes of curing cancer. These treatments are effective if the disease is discovered in its early stages. However, sometimes a cure is not possible. The good news is that while curing the cancer may not occur; healing is always possible.

Curing means getting rid of the cancer. Healing means living well despite your prognosis.

What Can a Cancer Journal Do for You?

Journaling can reduce your levels of stress and depression, help you to discover what makes you feel better, clarify your goals, and enhance your spiritual life. It may even reduce your levels of pain and improve your energy. Journaling is free, portable, and adaptable so that is can help anyone. Journaling heals.

The beauty of journaling is that it is entirely up to you how you want to approach it. This can be empowering. While coping with cancer, you may often feel that you are at beck and call of your disease, medical appointments, and energy levels. While you journal; you are in control.


Whether or not you tell people that you are keeping a journal is up to you. This is your time. Feel free to write whatever you want.

No one ever needs to see what you write. You can say things in your journal that you might be appalled to say out loud. Getting those feelings out can relieve stress. Relieving stress benefits the health of your immune system, affording your body with the opportunity to fight your disease more effectively.

Journaling also helps you to let go and move on from thoughts which are keeping you up at night and draining your energy.

You have more important things to do than continually dwell on challenges that your illness and life present. Journaling can help you to move forward and live better today.

Cancer Journaling 101: How to Prepare a Cancer Journal

Beginning a journal can be as simple as carrying a notebook with you and writing when you have a moment. However, you will reap more rewards from journaling if you implement some of the following strategies.

  • Set aside a regular time and place each day for journaling. This way you will be more likely to stick with it.
  • Create a scared space to write in. An ideal location is a quiet room or a comfortable lawn chair. Some people choose to have a silent location; while others enjoy soft music while journaling. You may enjoy journaling while sipping on a special tea, or other beverage. Consider lighting candles or purchasing an aromatherapy diffuser to enhance the ambiance of your writing environment.
  • Let your family know that you do not want to be disturbed while you write. Turn off the ringer on your phone. View your journal time as an essential part of your healing process.
  • If possible, use an attractive book to write in. This may be a homemade book, a simple spiral bound notebook with a colorful cover, or an exquisitely bound book filled with handmade paper. Having something special to write in helps you to keep focused on your healing.
  • Choose pens which are comfortable. You may want markers, paints, glue, and stickers. None of these tools need to be expensive. They just need to be comfortable and meaningful for you.

Next page: Cancer journal tips for patients, including how to start your cancer journal journey and more.

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Patricia BratianuPatricia Bratianu

Patricia is a registered nurse with 40 years of experience. She has a PhD in natural health and is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild.

Feb 11, 2015
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