A health journal is exactly what it sounds like: a diary for recording information about your health. Writing in it doesn’t take long, and the benefits are amazing. Aging doesn’t have to be some big mystery. Journaling about your health is like having a map to guide you to personal wellbeing.
1. Alleviates Inflammation and Pain
Some foods, movements or lifestyle habits make pain and inflammation worse. There are also good foods, such as turmeric, that have powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects for many seniors. The key is to figure out what helps and hurts you personally. That’s where your health diary comes in.
2. Teaches You What Your Body Likes
I’m a big believer in listening to your body. By keeping a health journal, you can find out if certain things are triggering mood changes, anxiety, pain or sleep problems. You can also discover positive triggers that help you sleep better, feel happier and stay healthier. For example, if you notice that valerian tea helps you sleep like a baby, then you’ve discovered an important secret for your health!
3. Makes You Happier
Natural foods and positive activities have the power to improve your mood. Many people feel less stressed or depressed when they follow a Mediterranean diet of fresh fish, lean meats, olive oil, fruit, herbs and lots of leafy green veggies. Exercising — even if it’s just going for a walk in the morning — can be another key to feeling happy and energized. Your health journal keeps track of things that help you wake up with a smile.
4. Helps You Make Smart Decisions About Your Health
I love my health journal. It turns me into a detective. After a few weeks or months, I can see “clues” that warn me when something is going to make my body hurt, make me irritable, or mess with my immune system. That way, I can avoid many of the aches and pains that are supposedly “normal” in aging.
5. Keeps You in Control of Aging
I don’t like it when people make decisions for me without asking me first, and I really don’t like feeling helpless. That’s what’s amazing about journaling. It gives you a measure of control over your health. Your family history may not let you avoid gout completely, but you can definitely figure out ways to have fewer gout attacks and better mobility.
6. Makes It Easier for Your Doctor To Pinpoint Health Problems
Always take your health diary with you when you have a doctor’s appointment. The details in there can help your doctor discover the underlying cause for symptoms. For example, instead of instantly responding to a rise in blood pressure with medication, the doctor may see lifestyle clues that you can change instead.
An Easy Way to Journal About Your Health
Keeping a health journal doesn’t need to be complicated. Some people prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper. Others use modern smartphone apps to make things easier. What should you keep track of?
- Foods you eat (including snacks)
- Vitamins or supplements
- Amount of water you drink
- Sleep quantity and quality
- Illnesses or health problems
- Pain or inflammation
- Energy levels
- Digestive health and/or bowel habits
Don't forget to include details about surgeries or new treatments. Whatever works for you, I highly recommend getting into the habit of journaling about your health. It can help you stay active and feel great as you get older!