A recent study shows that cancer patients who write about their feelings experience positive effects on their quality of life. Patients don’t have to write the great American novel or worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation. Short bursts of journaling, such as 20 minutes at a time, can help them express their feelings and provide new perspectives.
Kathleen Emmets was an author long before she was stricken with cancer, but she discovered that it was a fantastic outlet to express her raw emotions after her diagnosis. This was true not only for herself, but for many other cancer patients. As a result, she founded Visible Ink, a writing program designed to help cancer patients express their innermost feelings.
Kathleen Emmets believes that writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings creates a sense of freedom and empowerment for oncology individuals who are struggling with cancer. It is sometimes impossible to verbalize your worst fears out loud, but you can do it surreptitiously via writing in a private journal. The words that you write are meant for you and you alone. No one ever has to see them, but the simple act of jotting them down can be very therapeutic. The freedom to actually verbalize your true thoughts can be a freeing experience and also helps patients process their emotions.
Some cancer patients worry that the stress their loved ones feel once they are aware of the patient’s diagnosis is enough of a burden to carry. They don’t want to burden loved ones more by sharing their anxieties and worries. Writing in a physical or even online journal gives patients an outlet to oust their feelings and ultimately let go of the negativity. This emotional release is freeing and also allows them to step back and review what they have written, almost as if it were someone else’s words. This results in providing them with a fresh perspective and a more positive outlook.