Writing down our thoughts and feelings, as in keeping a journal, is a proven method to relieve stress and improve well-being. The expression achieved through writing in a journal on a regular basis, or during times of high stress, helps to clarify and focus on what we are actually feeling and experiencing. Putting down on paper what we are frustrated about, worried, and concerned with, helps us to begin to understand in a clearer, more concise manner, what we are going through. That understanding can help us to realize what actions we can then take to work through the stress.
Journaling on a regular basis about daily events, joys, and struggles alike can actually help us to face our day and solve our problems with less stress. When we record our days on paper, or on the computer, we are processing our feelings, fears, and joys, as we are writing.
To help with the stress in our days we can create a routine and journaling system for ourselves. Ask yourself a daily morning question upon rising. This becomes a check into the day question, and writing the answer down, can be a great way to focus the day. For Example – “What am I going to do today that will support just me?” Or – “What am I going to do today at my work, (or with friends, or family), that is different from I have done before?” Another idea – “What one thing do I want to accomplish today that I have not had time to do?” We can ask the same question each day or ask a new question.
We can also create a journal to record what we need to keep doing, stop doing, do less of, or more of. For example – “I need to stop playing old broken records from my past that no longer apply and no longer serve me. I am enough. I do not have to live in fear. We can journal on that topic alone until it feels finished.”
Another journaling idea is to define what is causing the stress: Whatever or whomever.
For example – “Bob really bugs me when he misses deadlines.”
Or – “I never have enough time to fit it all in, family, friends, work, fun.”
Or – “I am in way over my head on this project.”
Next in your journal write about and define the why.
“When Bob misses deadlines it makes me look bad. I can’t enjoy my weekends when Bob has a project due on Monday, because I keep worrying Bob won’t come through.”
Then ask why again to those answers, and write them down.
“I hate to look bad in front of my peers. It is embarrassing to me. I don’t like to be embarrassed. I don’t need/deserve that.”
Then ask why again. Keep writing, then asking why to those answers. What can be found is the real reason(s) for the stress. After the reason(s) are revealed then processing the root of the stress is easier to address. Then journal about those feelings.
Journaling is something we can all give to ourselves. Find a quiet time in the day and a quiet place to journal. Set the journal where you will see it every day. Using a notebook, a blank book, a favorite journal, or a computer, any of these all serve as outlets for expression of stress. Through journaling, we use that outlet of expression to help us see, process, and understand our stress. Through journaling the toll stress takes can be reduced or eliminated.