Journaling Helped Me Through Cancer


Many thoughts went through my mind during cancer, and journaling allowed me to organize them and helped me to feel better.

cartoon drawing of blogger and mesothelioma survivor, Tamron Little

One thing I always say is that, everyone isn’t a writer, but everyone can find something to write about. I’m a person who is a natural “talker” so I guess you can say I’m a natural “writer” as well.

During my cancer journey with peritoneal mesothelioma, I’ve learned a lot of things to help me get through challenging times. One of the things is what I like to call “brain dumping,” which is pretty much another phrase for journaling. You will see me use these two words interchangeable throughout this article. Brain dumping is when you take a moment to write your thoughts, feelings and or ideas.

In the midst of cancer, so many things went through my head. There were many things to remember, medications to keep up with, you name it. But then there’s other things that played in my mind such as fear, anxiety and my future. Brain dumping helped me to not only keep up with things, but it helped me get things off my mind. When I felt overwhelmed journaling enabled me to think more clearly and ease my anxiety. I look at it as a mindfulness exercise.

Here’sI got started with journaling, and my advice for others:

  • Find a journal you like. There are so many journals and notebooks on the market now that you should be able to find one or two that may tickle your fancy. They come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Don’t forget your pen or pencil too!
  • Place your journal in an easily accessible area. I have my journals on my nightstand. This way for the nights I can’t sleep I just pick it up and start writing. You can even place it in your purse or bag. When you know where it is, you won’t have to go looking for it.
  • Don’t overthink, just write. Don’t think you have to write all day every day; whenever you feel as if your mind is racing, you can’t think straight or you need to get something off your chest, just write. Whatever comes to mind, write it down,don’t worry about things being misspelled or grammatically correct.
  • You can draw, too. I’m not good at drawing but use your journal as you see fit. If you want to draw go ahead and do what feels right and most comfortable to you.


My reasons why you should start journaling

  1. Decreases stress
  2. Helps organizes your thoughts
  3. Improves focus and concentration
  4. Can help improve memory and recall
  5. Declutters your mind

More than a decade after cancer, I continue to brain dump and over the years have added many journals and pens to my collection. It’s become apart of my weekly routine.

Try journaling and remember that you’re doing something good for your mind and body. It’s simple and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Figure out what works best for you and practice that. You will thank me later after you’ve started journaling.

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