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A Science-Supported Journaling Protocol to Improve Mental & Physical Health

Huberman Lab

Scicomm Media

Science, Life Sciences, Health & Fitness

4.923.3K Ratings

🗓️ 20 November 2023

⏱️ 98 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In this episode, I explain a specific writing protocol shown in hundreds of scientific studies to significantly improve immediate and long-term health. I explain how to implement this specific protocol, which takes only four days and 15-30 minutes per day. I also explain the mechanism for how the four-day writing protocol affects neuroplasticity (brain rewiring) and brain function in the short and long term. I explain how these brain changes positively impact our physical health, including our system's immune function and thus our ability to combat infections, improve sleep, reduce feelings of physical and emotional pain, lower anxiety, and bring about healing from traumas. This episode ought to be of interest to anyone seeking better mental and/or physical health through the use of brief yet highly effective science-supported protocols. For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit hubermanlab.com. Thank you to our sponsors AG1: https://drinkag1.com/huberman LMNT: https://drinklmnt.com/huberman Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/huberman Waking Up: https://wakingup.com/huberman InsideTracker: https://insidetracker.com/huberman Momentous: https://livemomentous.com/huberman Timestamps (00:00:00) Journaling Protocol for Mental & Physical Health (00:03:06) Sponsors: LMNT, Eight Sleep & Waking Up (00:07:16) Journaling & Confronting Traumatic Events (00:11:25) Tool: Expressive Writing (00:14:38) Morning Notes, Gratitude Journaling, Diary Journaling (00:18:00) Tool: Consecutive Writing Bouts; Trauma Definition (00:24:38) Low Expressors vs. High Expressors (00:29:29) Tools: Language, Vocabulary & Emotion; Analyzing Writing (00:35:02) Tool: Writing Session Tips (00:39:31) Sponsor: AG1 (00:41:02) Positive Mental & Physical Benefits (00:46:45) Expressive Writing & Immune Function; Brain-Body Connection (00:57:02) Sponsor: InsideTracker (00:58:10) Neuroplasticity, Prefrontal Cortex & Subcortical Structures (01:05:00) Structured Writing, Trauma & Narratives; Truth-Telling (01:08:56) Neuroplasticity, Truth-Telling & Relief from Trauma (01:15:32) Honesty, Brain Activity & Narratives (01:22:01) Overcoming Trauma & the Brain; Stress, Emotions & Honesty (01:26:41) Expressive Writing Protocol & Benefits (01:36:16) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, YouTube Feedback, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac Disclaimer

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Welcome to the Huberman Lab Podcast, where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life.


I'm Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine.


Today we are discussing journaling for mental and physical health. I want to


emphasize that today's discussion is not a general discussion about the value of journaling.


Rather, it is a discussion about a particular form of journaling that the scientific peer review data says is especially powerful for improving our mental and physical health.


In fact, what I will describe today is a journaling method that is supported by over 200


peer-reviewed studies in quality journals. And I frankly was not aware of


this journaling practice prior to researching this episode, but in researching this episode have come to discover that this practice should easily be placed among some of the other critical so-called foundational pillar practices in terms of its impact on improving mental and physical health,


including things like lowering anxiety, improving sleep,


improving immunity to things like cold, fl etc as well as reducing the symptoms of


autoimmune disorders such as arthritis lupus and also providing some relief for


fibromyalgia which is a condition of excessive pain.


The particular journaling method and protocol that I will describe has also been


shown to improve various metrics of everyday living including improved memory, decision making and on and on and on.


So much so that again I was very surprised that I had not heard of this particular journaling




One would think that if such a powerful method existed that


everyone would know about it, but it turns out that this particular journaling


method has been somewhat cloistered within the fields of psychology and


psychiatry. It's not that nobody was aware of it. In fact, I learned about it for the first time from our associate chair of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, my colleague and collaborator, Dr. David Spiegel, who, as some of you may know,


has been featured as a guest on this podcast previously.


And upon hearing about it, I decided to explore the primary research,


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