Journal to Show Yourself the Love

Looking for a way to show yourself some tender loving care? As a nurse, you already treat your patients with kindness and consideration, but do you always treat yourself as well? Probably not. Here’s a fun and easy way to start knowing yourself better – and to show yourself some of the same appreciation that you’d lavish on a good friend.

Find a fancy journal (or use a simple shorthand notebook) and set aside 15 minutes a day to capture what makes your life unique. You’ll find that your ordinary discontents disappear when you jot down the answers to these self-inquiry questions. Likely, you’ll find that you’re in an incredibly good place in life after all.

Don’t feel that you have to write a prize winning essay or please your persnickety 8th grade English teacher with your prose. Just let the words flow in whatever way they come. Write fast so that your internal editor doesn’t get in there and try to clean up your words and thoughts. (First thought is often best thought.) Don’t bother correcting your spelling or grammar – this is just for you, nobody else needs to read it.

Let each of these questions (known as “prompts” in the journal writing world because they get the pen moving), inspire you to explore topics you may not have considered otherwise. Make up your own prompts, too, so that can wander the whole of your life without having to stick strictly to this script. (Or anyone else’s script, either.)

What Do You Love About Your Life?:

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

But I’m glad I became a nurse instead…

When I want to be inspired, I…

The best compliment I ever got was…

After initial dislike, I came to love my…

If I weren’t me, I would like to be…

In the future, I hope I’m …

What most people would be surprised to know about me…

Do you journal now? The simple act of writing about your life has been shown to help relieve stress, anxiety, and even improve physical health.

The trailblazer in this research is James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin and author of “Writing to Heal.” In his studies, expressive writing (journaling) was proven to be an effective route to healing for all kinds of folks, from college freshmen to crime victims to medical patients.

Jebra Turner is a health writer based in Portland, Oregon. You can reach her at www.jebra.com.