Do you ever feel that people do not understand the nature of fibromyalgia and how it really affects your life? Do you get tired of explaining your symptoms over and over again?
You may want to consider writing a symptom journal. A symptom journal is an excellent way to relieve chronic stress, express emotions and discover new ways to cope with fibromyalgia. A symptom journal does not have to focus specifically on your fibromyalgia symptoms but can be an open diary on your physical, mental and spiritual health.
What is the Journal For?
Writing in a journal can be very personal or it can be an open diary on your life that you share with family and friends. Most people keep private journals to identify their changing moods, to set goals, improve communication skills, or simply to release pent up emotions. Whether you like to write in point form or in paragraphs is not important when writing in diaries.
For most people, the purpose of a journal is to understand yourself better, to get a better idea of who you are and what you want to do with your life. What makes a fibromyalgia symptom journal different is that you can also keep track of your symptoms and flare-ups, possibly identifying certain triggers.
Make a Commitment to Writing
You could begin by making a commitment to write about your symptoms, moods and feelings on a weekly basis. You can document your fibromyalgia symptoms, your moods and feelings during the day, what triggers your fibromyalgia symptoms and when and if you were able to relax. You could write down a list of tasks and errands that you want to get done that week and check them off every night when you go to bed. This will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment at achieving your goals. Later on you can move on to bigger goals and write out the steps to achieve those goals.
If you make journal-writing a habit, you will eventually detect the patterns of your thoughts and feelings associated with fibromyalgia. You can go back through your journal and re-read your entries to see how your attitude or feelings have changed or stayed the same regarding fibromyalgia or any other aspect of your life. You can also notice any emerging trends as to when your symptoms or better or worse. This may help you avoid those factors that can trigger symptom flare-ups or seek our fibromyalgia relief before your symptoms get too unbearable.
Benefits of a Symptom Journal
There are several benefits to keeping a symptom journal a few times every week. The major benefit of keeping a journal is discovering what can trigger a fibromyalgia flare up. When you have a written record of a fibromyalgia flare up, your symptoms, your mood and the events preceding the flare up, you are better equipped to deal with that type of situation the next time it arises. Other benefits to keeping a journal include:
- relieves stress
- organizes appointments, finances, fitness or health goals
- enhances communication skills
- strengthens your friendships and relationships
- builds self-esteem and a sense of independence
- increases awareness of fibromyalgia symptoms
- powerful tool to fight fibromyalgia
- Look for your preference of a lined or unlined journal or scrapbook that allows for creative space
- Find a private desk and chair or anywhere you are comfortable writing where you can be alone with your thoughts
- Develop a routine for writing, writing at the same time and place every day or every few days
- Keep your journal in a safe and secure spot and let your family know the importance of your privacy
- Date every entry so that you can become aware of patterns and cycles in your life
- Avoid the need for perfectionism, your journal is private and is a personal tool for self-discovery.
- The more open and honest you are with yourself in your writing, the more you can notice your subconscious thought patterns, motivations and beliefs about yourself and others.
You can also keep a food journal or health journal to find patterns in what you eat, what may be causing flares in your fibromyalgia and how to eat healthier. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you know the havoc that sugar, caffeine, alcohol and fatty, fried foods can wreak on your health. Keeping track of what you eat can make you aware of eating patterns and what may be exacerbating fibromyalgia symptoms like headaches, urinary problems or constipation.
Example of a Food Journal
|Breakfast||1 bowl of cereal|
low-fat 1% milk
|1 sliced banana||1 glass of orange juice|
|Lunch||1 Chicken falafel with hummus||2 tangerines||1 garden salad|
with light Italian
|Snack||1 low-fat granola bar||1 strawberry yogurt|
|Dinner||Beef Stroganoff and brown rice||1 cup of steamed asparagus||1 glass of orange juice|
|Dessert||1 low-fat chocolate pudding||1 glass of low-fat 1 % milk|
|Calories Consumed||Breakfast-325 calories||Lunch-511 calories||Snack-240 calories||Dinner- 885 calories||Dessert-204 calories|
|Total Calories||2165 calories|