Advertisement

How does journaling help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
An important use of journaling, or expressive writing, is processing your difficult emotions and stressful experiences before they lead to physical or emotional illness. Journaling helps you to recognize and manage your stress, alter the meaning of illness and overcome negative thought patterns.

Here are three suggestions for expressive writing to cope with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):

1. Write about your most stressful experiences and write from your heart. Don't keep a travelogue of events; write about your feelings and thoughts. A travelogue reads like this: "I woke up at 8 AM, went to walk the dog. I arrived late to work and my boss was angry with me." A journal entry looks like this: "I woke up feeling sad again. I don't know why. I am so upset by what happened at work yesterday. I just don't want to face another day. It makes me so angry when they treat people unkindly. I can't stand it." Notice that a travelogue describes events, whereas a journal entry describes your feelings about events.

2. Ask yourself, "Was there something traumatic that happened in my life before the irritable bowel syndrome began?" Or ask, "What happens emotionally in my life when my symptoms get worse?" Think carefully and be honest with yourself. Raising these questions and writing about them can help you to identify a relationship between your IBS and painful emotional events you may be unaware of.

3. Keep a daily journal for several weeks. This is an excellent way for you to get to know yourself better and enhance the connectedness of your mind, body and spirit. Keeping a journal can help you to take charge of your emotional and spiritual life and give you a sense of mastery and control over your thoughts, feelings, memories and life events. It may also help both you and your doctor find new ways for you to heal.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

More About this Book

Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

One in five people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or other functional bowel disorders. As a result, irritable bowel syndrome is the second leading cause of worker absenteeism. This...

Continue Learning about Living With IBS

How does irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) pain affect quality of life?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Irritable bowel syndrome can be not only uncomfortable, but it can affect the quality of your life ...
More Answers
How much should I exercise if I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
William B. Salt II., MDWilliam B. Salt II., MD
Exercise is an essential element of a plan for self-care and wellness and can be beneficial in m...
More Answers
Got IBS? Get to Know FODMAPs
Got IBS? Get to Know FODMAPs
5 Safe, Natural Remedies for IBS
5 Safe, Natural Remedies for IBS

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.