A SIMPLE WAY TO REDUCE STRESS: JOURNALING
Updated: Apr 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly increasing our stress levels. Putting thoughts on paper may help you manage it.
First and foremost, my heart goes out to those whose lives have been directly affected by the Coronavirus and their families.
For those of us who are physically healthy during this pandemic, we suddenly we have time in our hands and are trying our best to maintain our own emotions…and households!
Kids do not need to get ready for school or daycare.
We are not driving here and there and everywhere.
Some of us may be able to work from home. For the most part, due to the stay-in-place order here in California where I live, most residents are home.
While I am trying to figure out how to keep my own kid busy (yes, that may be my next blog post!), I would like to talk about a simple way to help you process YOUR thoughts and emotions: journal writing.
“But what does journaling have to do with getting organized???”, you might ask.
As women, we are constantly thinking. Experts say that we have thousands and thousands of thoughts per day. I don’t know how they come up with actual numbers, but I am confident to say that we have A LOT of thoughts! Then you throw in feelings along with thoughts and no wonder we get so overwhelmed and feel disorganized!
Then enter journal writing to the rescue!
Many studies show that writing your thoughts and feelings on paper (yes, physical paper and a physical pen) have therapeutic benefits and I wholeheartedly agree. I have also found that writing helps me organize my thoughts once they are on paper!
Studies show the following benefits to journaling:
Clarifies your thoughts and feelings.
Gives you a chance to know yourself better.
Solves problems more effectively.
Resolves disagreements with others.
If you are interested to read more, here is an article that discusses these benefits further: https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/
Because of this Coronavirus pandemic, I want to focus on helping you on the “reducing stress” part. (Yes, I’m feeling it too, believe me!) Journaling doesn’t cost much, and it can help me reduce my stress? Count me in!
Worried about something? Write it down. Angry or sad about a situation? Write it down. Release them onto paper.
“Through your writing you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, nonjudgmental friend. And she may provide the cheapest therapy you will ever get.”- from an article “The Health Benefits of Journaling” by Maud Parcell, LCSW, CEAP
I have been journaling ever since I can remember. My family couldn’t afford too many extra non-essentials back in the day…I often wished I could buy those journals with a lock and key, but they were too expensive. So instead, I had to opt for a thirty-cent notebook from Target, which worked just beautifully. Through the years, I have experienced and continue to experience ALL of the benefits listed and then some!
If you don’t have a journal on hand, it’s okay! Just grab a piece of paper and pen and start writing! You can purchase a notebook or journal online if you need to stay home like me.
I understand that it can be daunting to start writing if you haven’t done so since high school or college so let me help you get started. Write your answers to these prompts (“things” can be anything, even people, you get the gist):
3 things that you are grateful for today.
3 things that worry you.
3 things that make you smile.
3 things that, if money was not the issue, you would want to do just for yourself.
3 encouraging things you can tell yourself, a friend or a spouse…And as a bonus, tell yourself and them!
Don’t worry, no one needs to grade your writing. No one needs to judge you and please don’t judge yourself!
If you have been journaling for a while, I hope that you will share with others how it has helped you and encourage them to journal. We are going through a very stressful time and we all need any help we can get.
Are you up for a challenge? Journal for 7 days in a row, even for just a few minutes. Schedule it if you must. If you get stuck, look back on the prompts I just gave you and let your thoughts flow!
If you enjoyed this post, share it with a friend! Also, catch up with me on Twitter @gracerehman.
I would love to know how you are doing with your journaling!