Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 06, 2017

Traditional Journaling: From Then to Now

Journaling as a means of mental health treatment is difficult to measure and hard to track, but provides immense value to those who do it nonetheless. In fact, several studies investigated the process and found practical and chemical benefits to journaling.

Like other processes, traditional journaling is undergoing a 21st-century facelift as digital tools provide an easier, safer and more convenient experience. And, many platforms offer further enhancements including guidance and support.

For decades, parents and therapists alike have recommended journaling to help people slow down and process their thoughts, elucidate their feelings and even achieve emotional clarity. Though it can certainly be time consuming, the value of journaling has never been in question. Instead, the question was whether the payoff justified the effort.

Why Journal?

A meta-analysis of several studies suggests that habitual journaling offers significant emotional and mental value. Among the benefits: journaling reduces stress and anxiety, increases emotional awareness, copes with depression, improves mood, enhances memory and removes mental blocks. Though several of these factors are interrelated, research conclusively demonstrates the wide-reaching utility in journaling.

At the same time, journaling provides a host of practical benefits as well. By logging your feelings, you can track your triggers and symptoms, prioritize your problems and develop greater self-knowledge and understanding. Scrutinizing a backlog of your immediate emotional reactions and responses, you can better understand yourself and track your growth over time.

In addition to the meaningful but expected value journaling adds, a study at the University of Texas at Austin found that it can also strengthen immune cells called T-lymphocytes. This means that while enhancing emotional dexterity and awareness, journaling improves your biochemical makeup as well.

Advancing with the Times

Over time, more and more processes have digitized. Health records, energy, even cities are all taking steps toward complete digitalization. Both to keep pace and to modernize, journaling must match the widespread adoption of digital tools and embrace the digital age.

As established, there is substantial data to support the notion that regular journaling is helpful. The downside, beyond the antiquated method, is the encumbrance of the journal itself – of having to constantly carry it, while keeping it safe and private.

Digital journaling is the process of the future. It sacrifices none of the positives – it still reduces stress and anxiety as well as improves mood while eliminating the drawbacks. Journaling on your phone is simply adding another feature to the number of things for which you already use it for.

At its most basic, digital journaling on your mobile device is more convenient. The ease and frequency of access is unparalleled by traditional pen-and-paper efforts. It is likewise, on effective platforms, password protected and secure. For private, intensely personal information, old-school elastic-bound journals simply do not offer sufficient data security. Using standard mobile security features, and platforms adhering to HIPAA-compliance, digital journaling affords far greater peace-of-mind.

Digital journaling provides therapeutic benefits as well. With immediate and constant access to a digital journaling platform, you are able to log your feelings or anxieties more rapidly, ensuring that they best reflect your immediate reactions to particular issues or concerns, and likewise expedite your stress reduction and mood improvement. And, digital journaling tools are now offering to guide the process through automated questions and responses. While free-flowing emotional cataloguing is valuable, the ability to capture focused and responsive reactions can unveil valuable insights about your thought process.

Journaling is a first-step therapy for those suffering from anxiety. Therapists typically recommend doing so to track stress and analyze the feelings that prompt it. The immediate introspection it requires and the retrospective analysis it enables contribute to the value it affords clients and their therapists. Still, as life becomes progressively more cluttered, digital journaling eliminates many of the inconveniences inherent to the traditional pen-and-paper method while providing heretofore inaccessible benefits like security and accessibility. Despite healthcare’s reticence to adapt to technological developments, the decision to promote digital journaling should decidedly not be a source of stress. 

By Special Guest
Kouris Kalligas, CEO and Co-Founder, Therachat ,

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