There are several benefits to jotting your thoughts down in a journal and it is a terrific stress reliever. A few topics to write about to assist you in alleviating stress could be writing about stressful events in your life, traumatic experiences, or simply expressing your feelings. By doing so, will help you process your thoughts and emotions.
It may seem like a daunting task, but it all starts with building good habits of keeping a diary or journal. Slowly explore your personal thoughts and feelings. This is by no means a quick way for relief and works best when done consistently. Think of it like jogging. It is quite difficult to jog 10 miles if you are not in shape. The first few weeks may be difficult, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes and eventually you reach a point where they call getting a “runners high”.
Start with one entry a week, or it can even be sporadic journaling until your habits kick in. One of the most effective ways to reduce stress with writing is to journal about the stressful events that have happened to you, and how you feel about it, what you think about it; just do what feels right.
To many of you, this may seem like mumbo jumbo. But journaling allows an individual to reflect on their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining a deeper insight into themselves. It also serves as a great problem-solving tool, as it is oftentimes easier to see the solution and identify the problem on paper.
It has been scientifically proven by Harvard Health that there are health benefits of journaling. Research show:
There are several writing methods to explore and if you already have a favorite journaling habit, keep it up! See what works best for you. But here are a few to try out:
Gratitude & Appreciation Journal: This main point of this approach is to help you discover happiness through what you have already. Rather than focusing so much on what you don’t have and take time to appreciate. UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center has a 14-day gratitude challenge to record your positive thoughts that you can try out online with Thnx4.
Keeping a daily appreciation journal is quite popular and easy to do. You can easily start with 3 or more aspects of each day that you are grateful for. This works really well because it helps you focus on what you have already in a positive manner. And the more you record, the more you will realize all the good things that happen in your life as well as growing a habit of appreciating even the littlest things in life. If you’re feeling down in the future, you will have something to flip through to remind you of those positive feelings
Writing in a journal provides an outlet to vent and release those toxic emotions that would have been bottled up. It is a safe place to let go of obsessive thoughts that build up. It finds an outlet to experience genuine self-expression through the tip of your pen without fear of judgment.
It may surprise you how much your thought pattern will affect the concepts you write about. Think about poetry and analyze that for a second. Often times, it reveals a lot about what the author is thinking, feeling and his/her perspective of things. Now use that same logic to your own creative writing and see how it is a healthy form of self-expression. Once it is on paper, it can help you visualize the issues you are dealing with to cope with the stress. And from there figure out ways to include positive healing. Writing about positive feelings and all the good that has happened to you. Expand your mind, find those positive feelings you may have for the good things that have happened in your day.
Bullet Journal: My friends in Silicon Valley love using bullet journals to keep track of what they need to accomplish each day. Whether it is goals they have, the memories they create, and other things they don't want to forget. This method helps organize your thoughts and help de-clutter your mind. Being more organized and balanced is a great way to feel less stressed.
You don’t have to journal every day. Don’t make it something stressful. Start with 10 minutes a week, and slowly increase the amount when you feel comfortable.
Think about how often we dedicate exhaustive amounts of mental activity to our problems. It's all in our heads! But what if we channeled that mental energy into creating another world through our storytelling?
Whether you realize it or not, you’re sharing a piece of yourself when you participate in the creative process of writing.
The highlighting moment of this process is that one day you will go back to one of your notebooks and re-read what you have written. You’ll find that everything you’ve created allows you to reflect on yourself. And it will be from a new perspective because the time you are reading it will be in a new state of mind.
Self-reflection is a very powerful tool to use and combining it with creative writing, you will be unlocking an immense power in your perspective.
Research has found that many college students turn to journal-writing at times of emotional hardship as a form of emotional release.
Another method is to write down your thoughts and physically throwing them in the garbage was an effective way to clear your mind, according to a study published last year in the journal Psychological Science. “Of course, even if you throw the thoughts in a garbage can or put them in the recycle bin on the computer, they are not really gone — you can regenerate them,” Richard Petty, one of the researchers behind the study, said in a statement. “But the representations of those thoughts are gone, at least temporarily, and it seems to make it easier to not think about them.”
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life”. said philosopher and psychologist William James. You are the author of your own story.
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