Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

When I was seven, I made my own journal out of legal pad paper—a little book that sparked a lifelong passion for writing down my thoughts, feelings and desires. E.M. Forster asks, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Here’s my take: “How do I know who I am until I see what I think?”

Journal writing has been proven to combat stress and help treat eating disorders, depression, addiction and other psychologically rooted problems. People who write about past traumas show stronger immune systems.

After my mom died, my Crohn’s disease flared up and I dropped to ninety pounds, unable to digest food normally. I made mistakes at work, snapped at my children and avoided my friends. I wanted to curl up in a ball and stay in bed. But each winter morning, I lit a candle, practiced yoga and wrote in my journal. Soon I renewed my friendships, enrolled in graduate school and embarked on a new career. Years later, my morning journal-writing practice still fuels my days.

Sharpened pencils pointing up
Waiting to write…in color by
Angie Garrett. CC license.

Jenny Patton
Jenny writes a weekly blog about writing and journaling. To receive prompts by email contact Patton at or @JournalWJenny.

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