Can using a Journal improve gut health?
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on the internet. This post, and anything else you find here is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. If you'd like to view my full disclosure & disclaimer, you can click here.
What does writing words on paper have to do with healing your gut? The answers might surprise you. There has actually been a surprising amount of research done on the benefits of keeping a journal.
Journaling can help your digestive health in a few ways. Let’s talk about it.
Reduce Stress and Digest
Writing in a journal is a powerful exercise in stress reduction. There are few opportunities in life that allow us to spill out our deepest emotions without fear of judgement, and journaling is one of that we can always return to. You could even say that digesting life (through writing) can help the body to literally break down, absorb and assimilate nutrients from food. Pretty incredible, right?
The nervous system LOVES when you get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper.
Stress challenges digestive health, and a huge percentage of people who experience any sort of IBS-related symptoms (bloating, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, etc) also have plenty of stress. Demanding jobs, a demanding home life, and feeling a need to put tremendous pressure on ourselves all contribute.
Putting pen to paper has this magical ability to start pulling those effects back a bit.
This connection between stress and digestive health isn’t commonly known or understood by many, yet the average person exists in a stressed physiological state more than 70% of their ENTIRE LIVES.
It seems we could all use a collective group hug and a few pages to place our thoughts upon.
Stress inhibits healthy digestion, and chronic stress can even lead to more severe conditions like leaky gut and autoimmunity.
Yet the cathartic effect that comes from using a journal to vent negative emotions and get them out of your system? It isn’t woo-woo - It changes your physiology. It’s POWERFUL.
Keep Track of Your Reactions
Another huge benefit of journaling for gut health is the opportunity to track what goes into your body and your reactions to it. You don’t have to do this forever, but if you want to get on the fast track to healthy digestion, it’s necessary.
Some reactions happen up to FOUR DAYS after you’ve eaten the food that caused it. If you don’t remember what you ate for lunch four days ago and you have digestive issues of any kind, TRUST ME - this can benefit you.
Try writing down what you eat and how you feel for one week and you’ll be so much more aware of your reactions to certain foods. It doesn’t have to end at how you feel physically either, because like the brain, the digestive system holds many neurotransmitters and “emotions.” Write down every single shift you feel: Digestive symptoms, emotional symptoms, itchy skin, brain fog, and so on. Then you can look back on the past week and have a bird’s-eye view of what may actually be causing your discomfort.
Perhaps eating soup makes you feel comforted and cozy, where you find yourself feeling anxious after eating a sandwich. Write it all down and over time you’ll be more conscious of only putting food in your body that’s actually nourishing you.
Here’s an example: I had a client recently who ate a really well balanced diet, yet she couldn’t for the life of her understand why she became so uncomfortably bloated after many meals. At my advice, she gave using a food journal a try for just a few weeks and had an ah-ha! moment. Of all things, she was reacting terribly to avocado! Her symptoms have since completely resolved themselves thanks to simply checking in with herself on paper for several weeks.
One more tip: Make it Special
Journaling is such a beautiful act of self-love. For many, it’s a simple practice to implement that can pay huge dividends for their own emotional (and physical) well-being.
Get yourself a beautiful journal that inspires you to take action. Choose one that you love to pick up and it will inspire you to actually use it! Whether you know what to write or not, just put pen to paper and commit to writing down whatever you’re thinking about for 5 full minutes. Some days, you may not have much to write about while other days you may find yourself lost in your writing for an hour!
The hardest part is getting started, so if you’re new to writing, just buy yourself a book and give it a go!
After all - What’s the worst that could happen? ;)
Coming Soon - Restore Your Gut Health!
If you’re seriously interested in getting healthy, restoring digestion and boosting your energy then check out my new comprehensive program, Restore your Gut Health. In this program, you get a ton of delicious satisfying recipes as well as strategies that will help rebuild your intestinal flora. Click here to learn more.
Or join me on my Facebook page, Digestion 101, where I’ll be sharing more information, tips and recipes to help you live a happier, healthier life.
But seriously - Start with journaling, k?