Q:  A friend of mine with lupus has been trying to convince me to write in a journal but I don’t see the point. Is there really any benefit of is it just a waste of time?

A:  I must agree with your friend. Keeping a journal is a form of therapy. Writing in a journal can help you to work on personal issues which affect your health and to explore and improve relationships. A journal can be a safe way of working through and releasing negative emotions, allowing you to think more clearly and evaluate yourself and situations more objectively. It allows you to connect with yourself on deeper level and to get in touch with feelings which may reside below the surface. A journal is a venue for exploring dreams and creativity (through poems, wishes, letters and songs), exploring beliefs, grieving losses and setting personal goals. Keeping a journal also provides a consistent record of your experience. For example, if you keep track of your stress level, sleep, activities, symptoms and medications you may eventually be able to identify patterns which contribute to flares. But you don’t need to plan what you are going to write. Just let it flow. Write what comes to your mind and don’t worry about grammar or style. Be sure to keep your journal in a safe and private place. Enjoy your journey of personal growth.