In the process of healing from disease, we usually attend most keenly to the physical body, urging it with therapies, drugs, and other interventions to return to wholeness. But it’s important to attend as well to our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves with just as much focus and care.

Serious illness of any kind is terrifying. The mental repercussions of contracting a serious disease or suffering a debilitating accident can render the individual utterly helpless and depressed. And then, deprived of inner fortitude, the patient succumbs to the malady without defense.

But we do not have to sacrifice ourselves so completely. We can create a relationship with healing through journaling. Here are a few suggestions for such a process.

• Set a regular schedule for journaling and stick to it. Remember that the times when you don’t feel like journaling are likely to be the times when you most need to do it, and you end up with the most powerful entries.

• Journal in your own handwriting if at all possible. There’s something cathartic about handwriting that you can’t get through the keyboard. Do not worry if the writing’s messy or misspelled. Use the pen to emphasize your emotions and reactions, huge or teeny, dark or light, flowing or choppy, or whatever. And don’t ignore your urges to make little sketches or paste in objects or graphics at whim.

• Talk to your disease, to your body, to your healing process. Go ahead and write out the dialog. What does your disease say? How do your heart and soul respond? Taking on the persona of your illness is scary but revealing, and ultimately curative.

• Be sure to go back and re-read your entries now and then. While journaling is in itself rewarding, the crowning glory of the process is in seeing where you were back then, and how you are different now.

By establishing a dialog with your inner being, you establish a true and powerful control over your process of healing. You create a relationship between your deepest desires and your physical body. You begin to understand the totality of your being, inside and out. You are able to gain a new perspective, one that reconciles all aspects of your awareness. Through journaling, you begin to comprehend who you are and how you got here.

We tend to succumb to illness without defenses, but this is not necessary. We can set about countering the negative consequences of illness by meeting it head-on, demanding dialog and cooperation. We can work with it in our journals to grow and evolve, purge and renew, understand and find peace.

Author's Bio: 

By Mari L. McCarthy - The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Journaling for the Self of It™. Mari offers counseling and encouragement as well as hundreds of prompts through her many online journaling resources as well as private consultations. Please visit One of Mari's many publications is Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life, which is available at She also leads a 27 Day Journaling Challenge designed to bring you to yourself in new and inspiring ways.