Journaling for asthma management is a must if you want to keep your symptoms under control.
I wouldn’t call myself the self-reflective type, but I’ve found keeping a record of my symptoms really helped in my recovery. Obviously we’re big on home remedies for asthma here – but how will you know which work for you if you’re not keeping track?
Turns out there’s two recommended ways to journal for asthma management. The first is by keeping a daily log of your symptoms. The second is a more internally-focused, general practice of writing about your life and stressors.
It’s easy to combine the two, to get the benefits of both. And taking just a few minutes with pen and paper each day can really help curb your asthma symptoms.
You don’t need anything fancy to start journaling. Yes, there’s all sorts of beautifully-bound (and quite expensive) journals you can get – and if having a nice journal makes you more inclined to write, go for it.
But a cheap exercise book you can pick up at your grocery store works just as well. No doubt there’s great apps and software too if you prefer to go the digital route. Let’s jump into how you can use your new diary to get a handle on your asthma symptoms.
How To Journal for Asthma Management
Keeping a daily log is really important while tracking how well your asthma management plan is working. Every day, record if and when you need your rescue inhaler. Record if and when you feel winded or tight chested (and if you’re able to sit quietly and let the moment pass). And record any other symptoms you experience.
It’s a good idea to start this process before you start any alternative treatments for asthma, to get your baseline.
Next, record the date that you start your new home remedy, and compare your symptoms to your baseline.
You probably want to give any new alternative treatment 4-6 weeks, to see if it has any noticeable effect. If it does – great, you’ve just discovered a new treatment your body responds to. If it doesn’t – stop and move on to the next treatment.
Remember, we only suggest trying treatments that are healthy in their own right. So maybe you’ll find that the tea we love for treating asthma has no noticeable effect on your symptoms, but you like the ritual of drinking it each morning. Or that your Omega-3 supplement isn’t specifically helping you breathe better, but you like the way you feel overall when you’re taking it.
Use your journal as a guide to your whole health, not just your asthma.
Finally, some sources recommend using a peak flow meter to record your daily lung output. I personally don’t use one of these (but looks like you can get a well-reviewed one on Amazon that’s reasonably priced if you want to go that route).
An alternative is recording your Buteyko control pause, to keep track of any improvements in how your body is processing oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Journal to Reduce Stress and your Asthma Symptoms
An important medical study in the late 1990s discovered a really helpful fact: people with asthma who write about their stressful experiences actually and clinically see improved health and symptoms – specifically a 19% improvement in lung function. Those are stats we can get behind!
There’s a growing body of evidence that writing about our life experiences and emotions can have specific health benefits. And we already know that stress affects asthma. So spending some time getting your thoughts down on paper can really help.
So set aside some private time each day to let it all out! Remember, no one is going to be reading this but you.
Write about your day, and all the feelings you had. Grammar doesn’t matter, spelling doesn’t matter. If you’re stuck for where to get started, try these writing prompts.
But ultimately, the goal is to just write whatever comes to mind, as freely as possible. I know Emma (my wife and blogging partner in crime) swears by Writing Down the Bones.
Ultimately, we think journaling for asthma management is so important, not just because it tracks your symptoms, but because it helps you feel in control of them. Not only will the process reduce stress, but knowing that you’re being proactive about your health will, too. Happy writing!