Find stress relief in a journal
Stressed? Make like your 16-year-old self and keep a journal. Research shows journaling is an effective stress relief exercise, and people who write in a diary see both physical and emotional benefits.
Journaling may help you worry less, too. Expressive writing has been associated with fewer anxiety disorder symptoms, including worry and depression.
Keeping Your Stress-Relief Diary
Researchers don’t know exactly why writing down your thoughts reduces stress, but they think it:
- Allows you to clarify your emotions
- Lets you reflect by looking back at past journal entries
- Gives you time to think about your feelings so you can better understand them
- Provides a safe outlet for expressing difficult emotions, such as anger and frustration
- Can be a way to release your negative thoughts and emotions so you can move on to a happier place
How to Start a Stress-Relief Diary
Starting is easy. All you need is a pen and paper or a computer. (Some people find the experience of putting pen to paper more therapeutic.)
- Find a quiet, comfortable environment where you won’t be disturbed. Set aside a certain time each day or each week for journaling, or just write whenever you feel like it—whichever works best for you.
- Write about whatever comes to mind, and don’t worry about grammar or punctuation.
- Need help starting? Write about your day.
- Try to focus on your fears, frustrations and hopes.
If Writing Causes You Stress ….
If the idea of writing breaks you out in a cold sweat, try these other sources of stress reduction:
- Listen to music. Or pick up an instrument and play it.
- Talk about your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist.
- Join a support group.
- Release your inner artist: Draw, paint, or sculpt.