Journaling as a stress reliever is something we had already discussed once in one of our post here.
But today I want to help you familiarize with the process and maximize the positive effects of doing so.
Since some of you may or may not heard of Journaling before I am going to walk you through on how to get started and make it happen.
This might just be the perfect opportunity to find a stress reliever that works for you.
What is Journaling?
Journaling is simply the act of writing your thoughts down, experiences and emotions down for the sake of safe keeping, exploring, and as an activity of mental release.
I would even go so far as saying that it is a way of life, a lifestyle change that forever transformed how I do my activities and how I think.
In fact, it is scientifically proven how journaling is something that can definitely improve your mood and push you to become more productive.
The psychologist and Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile has shared her findings and analysis of 238 diaries from different artists, creators, and scientists in this video.
In case, you are not convinced yet by the power of journaling and its effect on body, mind, and soul.
Here is the list of the major changes you can and will experience as you go through the process of journaling in these aspects:
Aspect of Stress Management
- Decreasing symptoms of various health conditions;
- Improving your cognitive functioning;
- Strengthening your immune system;
- Examining your thoughts and shifting your perspective;
- Reducing rumination and promoting action;
- Planning out your options and considering multiple outcomes of a situation (Scott, 2018).
Aspect of Mental Health
- Boost your mood/affect;
- Enhance your sense of well-being;
- Reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam);
- Reduce intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma;
- Improve your working memory (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).
Aspect of Anxiety
- Calming and clearing your mind;
- Releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress;
- Letting go of negative thoughts;
- Exploring your experiences with anxiety;
- Writing about your struggles and your successes;
- Enhancing your self-awareness and teaching you about your triggers;
- Tracking your progress as you undergo treatment (Star, 2018).
Types of Journals
In case you are wondering there are actually different types of Journals you could choose to do. In case you are an artist, a businessperson, scientist or polymath just like Leonardo the Da Vinci (he keeps a journal), there is a journal that could fit your interests and needs if you are not satisfied just yet in keeping:
- A daily journal, where you keep your activities or any memorable idea, an experience you had.
- Dream Journal, if you have a hard time remembering your dreams or wants to try Lucid dreaming these ones for you
- Hobby Journal, where you write about your interests
- Learning Journal, you write about the things you learned or progress you have on a skill
- Sketch Journal, for the artists out there, unleash your creativity and practice your craft
- Travel Journal, keeping records of your excursions
- Expression Journal, a space to pour out your feelings.
- Gratitude Journal, where you list all the wonderful things you have received
- And so much more
Thinking of starting now but do not know how to do it?
Well if anything all the essential stuff you need to think of to begin your journey in using Journaling as a stress reliever is a pen and paper.
It is a piece of cake, no matter where you are or what are you doing all you need to do is start writing.
You do not have to overthink just what kind of pen or notebook you want, just start scribbling away all the things that are running through you head.
Let the stream of thoughts and emotions flow through the movement of your pen against the paper, do not sweat it out and pondering just what kind of journal you will be starting today.
There is also something called the ‘write and burn method’, wherein you simply do the three-step process: write-tear-burn. This is most effective if you are feeling extra angry or sad is something we all felt at one point, so in my opinion, this is one of the best choices when those episodes do happen.
Make it a Habit
After trying out writing your emotions away, why not make it a habit or goal?! A daily or even weekly practice that could easily get rid of the edge you feel after a busy work day or a busy day full of over energetic kids.
Adding journaling as a stress reliever for me 2 years ago, had a definite profound effect on my overall mood and productivity.
I felt more in tune with my surroundings, more present, more focused, happier and more dedicated to the things I devote my time with.
Life became more beautiful, refreshing, charged, happy and meaningful as my perspective as a person and individual radically shifts
That why I am really pumped to share to you how it gave rise to change my life style and the way I view life in general.
I want you to also feel this way, be more, do more, accomplish more and feel more, because if we let things overwhelm us and drown us we fail to live life fully.
So by making this a habit you that makes you love yourself and taking into consideration the loved ones that are waiting for you. To help you out and make it habit/ goal try doing these 3 easy steps to achieve your goal and the following:
Do it Before Getting Up
Instead of doing it at the end of the day, where you already exhausted your energy and just wanted to sleep in. Do it just after your alarm goes off and put the notebook just next to your bedside table for easy access. In case you do this just before you get on your feet, you are sure to get it done plus you just gave your brain a great wake up.
No Need to Use Full Sentences
No need to do full sentences to try to make it sound romantic/poetic. As opposed to popular belief you could just do whatever you want and write whatever you want inside your journal. After all, you are using the journal to relieve stress, this ultimately makes sense since it is way faster. Try using bullet points, the easier something is easier to attain it.
Blend it into Your Day
You might prefer blending it into your day. Just carry the notebook around, wherever you go. By doing this every time you have some free time or felt the urge to do so. Also, it is not some bad to sneak in some personal writing time other than just writing emails and whatnot.
Write on a Calendar
Just write a sentence or two every day. In case you find it daunting to write or start writing just make a light task for yourself in a small part of your calendar. This works because usually if you start anything you just keep going when you pick up your phase. Take, for example, flossing your teeth if say you flossed one tooth would you stop there or keep going? Chances are you would finish it quite quickly and cleanly.
Get Some Inspiration
Sometimes we just need a bit of a push on our back to start something wonderful. So why not read some of those inspiration quotes or if you find that cliche, watch some talks/speeches about writing or anything that you may fancy. You could also search for “journaling prompts” in Google for some fun ways to start journaling.
Do it Once a Year
I know it does not sound like a habit at all if you do it once a year. But we do stuff that is occasional at times that just became a sort of tradition or yearly ritual for us, like birthdays for instance or festivals they are yearly habits/rituals. This is best as well if you feel like you can’t really do it every single day or what not but instead use it as an occasional or monthly wherein you use it as recapitulation or reflective tool.
Apart from using journaling as a stress reliever, we can also use this as a tool to increase productivity. In case you are wondering what is productivity, it is simply when you do things more in the best area of your life passions.
In other words, doing more work towards the thing that matter more and is meaningful depending on your priorities.
One thing I could say is that apart from doing journaling as a stress reliever, it is also a masterful tool to become more productive.
By that I mean we can utilize another type of Journal, specifically a Bullet Journal. In case you haven’t heard of that it is basically a journal but with a different format because of the flexible dot grids which looks something like this:
It is something that I personally use to organize my plans, tasks, and goals I am working on.
Some organizing tools are not as flexible and adaptable as a Bullet Journal could get.
It is a simple yet elegant way to maximize your organization, a productivity system which is simply an amazing design.
Moreover, it is so much more than that it is a mindfulness practice and trying to live with intentions.
Journaling is one of the best ways to unravel and release the thoughts and emotions that are cluttering your mind and thinking. It is a practice that I personally religiously do and incorporated in my daily life and which is something you could do too.
Whether you are going to start or already started your journey in this activity, it is best to keep in mind your intentions and reasons as to why you started this in the first place.
Whenever you feel anything unpleasant or distasteful just scribble away your thoughts and feelings on the paper.
As always take care and do not forget to consult a medical professional whenever you are feeling that stress and anxiety are way too much for you to handle.
Tell me about your experience after doing journaling or any thoughts you have, happy to hear them out.
In case you have any questions or suggestions you can contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org