Journaling to Relieve Stress

Yesterday I wrote about journaling to connect with your creative side and ended my post by saying a separate journal should be kept to vent your feelings so that the creative energy is not tainted by whatever negative emotions you may be dealing with. Today I wanted to talk a bit more about relieving anxiety and stress through keeping a journal.

Keeping a journal or diary was once a very common practice, but in the age of social media, most people have taken their venting thoughts online. Handwritten journaling remains an effective and beneficial method of releasing mental tension, collecting one’s thoughts, and helping one cope with stress and hardship. Best of all, whatever is written in a personal journal is spared harsh criticism and judgement. Journaling creates a safe space where you can express yourself freely without worrying about how others may perceive you.

Here are a few ways to journal that may help relieve tension and stress:

  • Stream of consciousness free write. For 15 - 20 minutes sit down and just write out every thought that comes to mind, even if it is the same word over and over. It doesn’t have to make sense or be coherent.

  • Focus on one thing that scares or worries you. Evaluate this negative feeling. Where is this feeling coming from? What gives it power? WHO gives it power? Why do you let it torment you? How can you combat them? Tear it apart bit by bit until it loses its edge.

  • You may also tackle fear by writing about why it is worth it to go against your fears anyway. This is relevant especially when you are learning or doing something new. Why are you interested in taking on this new task? What do you hope to do when you have mastered it? Why is that so much better than giving into fear and giving up?

  • Meditate or do a repetitive task such as knit, colour, sing, or exercise for 15 minutes at the start of each day. After you are done, spend at least 10 minutes writing about how you felt during and after the task.

  • Every morning make a “to do” list of things you would like to accomplish throughout the day. Be kind to yourself and understand that you may not get through this list in its entirety each day, but it helps to write down goals. Write down and celebrate your accomplishments.

Taking 10 - 20 minutes to journal each day is an effective way to manage stress, find your center, and cope with difficult emotions. I journal like this every day and ever since I started I have become more productive, more patient, more focused, and generally in a better mood compared to how I was before I started to keep a journal. It has become an essential part of my daily routine.