• Sophia-Joelle Oswald

What We Discovered About Journaling and Stress

journaling and stress
Photo by Team Fredi

Most people have picked up a notebook or diary at some point in their life to jot down their thoughts and feelings. When I was young and found myself needing an outlet I did the same thing. Be it a story involving a not-so-great teacher, my feelings about a kid in my class I wasn’t getting along with, or maybe one I was crushing on. I would write down my thoughts until I felt I had them off of my chest. Keeping a diary helped me feel heard and process things I was going through, even if they weren’t that deep.

That tends to be how a lot of people remember diaries. But keeping a journal isn’t something that only kids can do. Journaling is just as valuable for adults, maybe even more so.

Stress Journaling Exercise

Journals offer a great way to clarify your thoughts and feelings. This can help people feel more in control of their lives. Being able to think through your problems and life events can help you process just about anything you’re going through. Even simple things can seem like a lot sometimes and writing can help you process and prioritize everything.

While journaling can’t completely cure anxiety and depression, it can help manage the stress that is often a result of these mindsets and something that when not processed continues to fuel them. Answering these questions can be helpful:

  • On a surface level, what's the issue?

  • How has this issue shown up in your past?

  • Is the issue unresolved?

  • What fears arise when you think about how this issue could impact your future?

  • What can you do to heal and move forward in confidence instead of fear?

  • In what way can gratitude play a role in this particular situation?

Journaling doesn't have to be a formal experience.

There isn’t even a need to purchase a physical journal, it can be on your computer or the notes app on your phone. Some people find it easier to write in a beautiful journal and spend time picking out the perfect one. Either way is just fine!

Journaling can look different for everyone. Some just want to scribble out whatever is on their mind as quickly as possible and others spend hours drawing out the perfect borders and doodles to go along with the words they are putting on the page. Examples of journaling include bullet, gratitude, manifestation, and ones reserved for emotional releases. Some people just use them to plan things out which is great for the mind too. There truly are no limits to the variety of styles to choose from.

You can write every day or just when you feel you need it. Similarly, you can write for 5 minutes or 25 minutes, however much time you feel is necessary to express yourself or get out what’s been weighing you down.

Write whatever you need to get off your mind or anything you want. Don’t feel you need to go back and reread every sentence. There is no reason to worry about grammar or stress yourself out trying to make it perfect. In the end, this is just a practice for you and no one else needs to ever see it.

If you’re looking for a new way to release stress, pick up a journal and get to writing. Having something that creates a routine and gives you at least one thing you have full control over can be a wonderful thing for anyone who is stressed out. This is a great practice to start in order to put your mind at ease.

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