A recently published study [r1] reminded me of the importance of taking time to think about goals and values. A group of women at college were given a writing assignment. Half were told to spend 15 minutes writing about a value or goal that was important to them while the others were told to write about a value that may be important to someone else. They were also weighed at the time of the class. Upon returning 4 months later, the women that had undergone self reflection by writing about themselves experienced an average of 3 ½ pound weight loss while the other students had a 2 ¾ pound weight gain—typical of new college students. This finding does not surprise me as I have long advocated that my patients begin journaling to help them in achieving their goal of becoming pregnant. Here is an excerpt from my book PERFECT HORMONE BALANCE FOR FERTILITY[r2] where I explain a bit further:
Journaling is one of the most effective tools for managing emotions and relieving stress. Writing is more powerful than talking because it calls for more introspection, and it helps you carefully identify your feelings and reactions. Many people have reported that journaling brings physical benefits along with emotional relief. Studies show that by journaling regularly, your words begin to reflect a greater sense of optimism, your memory improves, you become more effective in your daily activities, and you’re less bothered by intrusive thoughts. Try to spend at least 15 minutes writing every day—especially in times of greater stress. If you’re new to journaling and aren’t sure what to write about, try freewriting, which entails writing continuously to fill a page, without stopping. Write whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.