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Journaling to Reduce Stress

January 04, 2018

Journaling is an incredible and underused form of self-therapy. Anyone can journal for stress relief.

You may be amazed by how much you can learn about yourself through journaling.

If you’re a reluctant writer, there’s no need to worry. You don’t need to be concerned about spelling, grammar, sentence structure, or how creative you are.

Your journal is there to help you express your thoughts and feelings in any way that you need to.

Why Journal for Stress Relief?

Journaling isn’t costly, and doesn’t require more than a few minutes of your time. Many of us are so absorbed in the merry-go-round of our lives that we don’t stop for a moment to take stock of how we are managing our stress and how we feel.

Journaling provides you a time and space to get off autopilot and into the moment. Writing about your worries, fears, or frustrations is a powerful way to acknowledge these feelings and move past them.

Journaling provides a safe space to unload if you need to vent, or take stock of the positives in your life if you need a new perspective.

What you need:

  • An open mind
  • Pen/ paper or digital notebook –  Using a special journal with a favorite pen is a good ritual, but it’s not necessary. The main goal is to write down your feelings.
  • A safe space – Designate a room in your home. Go to a café or quiet place outdoors. I write in bed before I go to sleep while the house is quiet.

If you like, drink a favorite tea, light candles, burn incense, or use an aromatherapy diffuser. Take a few calm deep breaths and start to write.

3 Stress Relieving Journal Techniques

5 Minute Daily Journal

Just take 5 minutes each day to write. Take stock of where you are in your life (or with a specific situation). Write about where you’re most happy and where you’re most dissatisfied.

Review your entries after a few weeks to see the progress you’re making and how your feelings change over time.

A friend who was in the middle of divorce used this technique for a month. By day 30, she had redecorated her home the exact way she wanted to. She had made some new friends and was learning to take better care of herself.

Her grief over her divorce had lessened and she was learning new ways to cope. The 5 minute journal gave her the time and space she needed to deal with her loss and start moving forward.

Gratitude journal

If you’re often frustrated or angry, a gratitude journal is an excellent tool to gain a new perspective. Start by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for, for 15 days straight.

You can start with anything: “I am grateful that I have healthy, fresh foods.” “I am grateful for my family.” Most people find they complain less and are happier after following this technique.

A gratitude journal encourages positivity and can be amazing therapy for people stuck in negative thinking patterns.

The Surrender Box

One of the best journaling techniques I’ve used for stress is the Surrender Box journal. (This is also called the God Box. Call it whatever works for you.)

If you’re under high stress or are dealing with a problem that seems insurmountable, write down your fears on a small piece of paper or 3 X 5 card.

Take a minute to acknowledge what you’ve written. Then, place the card in a special Surrender Box or jar (you can decorate it if you like).

Actively choose to let the problem go and close the box, knowing that the universe is helping you to deal with it in the best way possible.

Some people throw out the box. Others look at it later to see if the situation changes over time. The Surrender Box is especially helpful when dealing with relationship problems or addictions.

Write it Out

I invite you to take the time to get your thoughts and feelings out on paper through journaling. You may not have a solution for every stress in your life, but you can learn to handle it better and find peace.

Journaling helps reduce the intensity of your emotions and allows you to gain a new outlook. It can clarify your thoughts, and help you to be more joyful and stress free.

References:

5 Ways keeping a journal can help you de-stress. (2013, Feb.). Retrieved from Huffington Post,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/5-ways-keeping-a-journal-_n_2671735.html
Legon, J. (2012-2016) The God box: A simple technique to reduce worry. Retrieved from http://www.anxietyunravelled.com/God-Box.html
Peeke, P. (2016) Reduce stress by journaling. Retrieved from Healthy Women,
http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/reduce-stress-journaling
Purcell, M. (2016) The health benefits of journaling.
Retrieved from Psych Central, http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/
Robinson, L. (2016) The surrender box technique. Retrieved from Self Growth,
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the-surrender-box-technique