Whether you are journaling the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper or taking advantage of technology and the vast amounts of new apps available to you; the point is you should be journaling. Journaling during your health complications has many benefits whether it is for something minor or for a chronic condition.
Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of the journaling app Journal my Health and Dr. Marta T. Becker, a Board-Certified Otolaryngologist share the top 6 benefits of journaling.
Read below to see why you may want to jot down your symptoms the next time you notice something abnormal.
Benefits of journaling
1. Allows your care team to work together
When you are dealing with a chronic condition, you will likely have a care team of several doctors working to treat you in different areas. However, unless your doctors are in direct communication with each other, it can be challenging to get treatments that don’t conflict with each other. Journaling not only your symptoms, but what medications and treatments you have received will help your doctors work together to treat you.
“There are all sorts of difficulties right now with doctors sharing information so it falls on the patient to collect their own data and bring it with them so that they have a central repository to not just the symptoms, but the treatments and how the treatments have worked. Were there any side effects? It’s essential to preparing to have a good visit with a provider,” Dr. Becker shares.
“One of the things that happens when you have a chronic condition is whether you are in diagnosis, pre-diagnosis phase, treatment or maintenance phase, you’re dealing with a lot of different health care people, not just physicians, I was dealing with a chiropractor, physical therapist and massage therapist,” Welson-Rossman, who was in a car accident shares. “I had all these different people who were supporting me in this journey and you would have to remember in between each different appointment what was going on with yourself– what happened in between. And I don’t know about you, but I’m lucky if I remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.”
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2. Provides organization
Oftentimes, we have a hard time telling our doctor what we are experiencing or even remembering how and when we experienced symptoms. This can create confusion and disorder and give the doctor a hard time pinpointing a cause. Providing your doctor with a detailed guide of the exact time, day, etc. you experienced symptoms can help.
“I think it’s important to how we’re presenting this information in a cohesive manner as you prep to go to your appointments so that when you’re showing that information, you’re not just showing six weeks of information and having the doctor take a look at it. How can we distill it and make it easier for the healthcare provider to create some actionable discussion around it?” Welson-Rossman adds.
“If a person were to journal and come in with a printout of their symptoms. It would just be like oh well it started here and it goes up and down here. It’s all there in literally one glance,” Dr. Becker shares.
3. Reduces the chance of being misdiagnosed
“When a doctor can’t pinpoint your symptoms, you have an increased risk of being misdiagnosed. A guy the other day who was able to describe to me a little bit better about his ear symptoms was able to notice for instance that it was better in the morning and then as he got up all day it got worse,” Dr. Becker notes. “You know that doesn’t sound like a huge breakthrough amount of information, but in his particular disease process, which is actually particularly rare, that piece of information for him was critical for me to understand. The more information he gave helped me figure out a treatment plan.”
4. Empowers you to notice key factors about your health
When you journal, you may notice things you hadn’t before, such as when you drink you may sleep badly or feel depressed. Noticing things