There’s no skirting around the psychological toll of living with cancer. Fortunately, there are ways to ease the burden and cope with these adverse circumstances.
Many experts are proponents of one technique suggested to cancer patients: starting a journal to document their experiences.
Below, are some of the exponential benefits of using this coping mechanism:
Benefit #1: Helping You Appreciate What You Have
One method of journaling, suggested by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, revolves around being grateful.
Of course, nobody would blame someone for feeling bitter and let down by the world. Yet, there's something incredibly liberating about focusing on the positive.
Furthermore, it keeps the patient existing 'in' the moment versus thinking about what's to come. Journaling allows people to further appreciate the moments they have, instead of worrying about the time that might be taken away.
Benefit #2: Bolstering Your Memory
No matter the severity of a diagnosis, it’s crucial to mitigate the toll it takes on one’s quality of life.
Chemo treatments drastically hinder a patient’s short-term memory—the condition is called chemobrain.
According to the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Center, journaling combats this memory loss.
The result? No missed appointments or forgetting important events, and patients will keep on top of meaningful conversations with friends and family. This will help establish some semblance of normalcy and control during the day-to-day—offering comfort and bolstering one’s overall quality of life.
Benefit #3: Channeling Your Emotions
Also discussed by the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Center is how journaling helps patients deal with their emotional response to their circumstances.
There’s a gamut of emotions that anyone with cancer faces. Naturally, sadness, anger, anxiety, and bitterness will make themselves present. All the same, feelings of happiness, gratefulness, and hope can prevail.
Regardless of the emotion, writing down those feelings will be a valuable tool when it comes to controlling the ensuing chaos and volatility. Furthermore, it allows patients to understand their feelings in a given moment—which will provide introspection and self-reflection.
Being in tune with feelings can keep someone feeling grounded. Also, the more negative emotions won't seem so turbulent. It's common to resent oneself for being angry—but reflecting on the reason for feeling such a way allows for self-forgiveness and understanding.
Take the Time to Start Your Cancer Journal
Coping with cancer is never going to a squeaky-clean process. However, by filling out a daily journal, patients can achieve peace of mind and a sense of wholeness during their difficult journey.