One of the best ways to relieve stress and process emotional issues is actually free, easy,-and it’s something you learned how to do in grade school. We’re talking about journaling.
The simple act of describing one’s feelings helps people to clear their minds, makes them less anxious, and makes them happier. So to make 2020 the year you pick up a journal again, here’s what you need to start.
[LEARN MORE: https://www.apa.org/writing ]
Find Your Journaling Routine
When it comes to creating a self-care ritual you’ll actually stick with, establishing a routine is key.
- Have a specific set time of day
- A place where you write
It’s about creating the rituals that work for you-there really is no wrong way to do this. There’s no bad, there’s just do. You have to be your own scientist and try to experiment with what works for you.
Focus on Feelings
When researchers talk about the benefits of writing for stress relief, they’re actually talking about something called “expressive writing,” putting down on paper positive or negative life experiences, rather than creating stories. Expressive writing is aimed at trying to understand and come to terms with difficult events in your life. Creative writing, in my mind, is playing with new ideas. While beginning to write may very well get your creative juices flowing, for maximum health benefits, focus your journal on events in your own life and explore your feelings around those events.
Carve Out 15-20 minutes
Simply write for 15-20 minutes to get a handle on the event, and your reactions to it. If trying to understand the stressful event isn’t helpful, you can work to look for some positive features of the event, or something positive that may come from it – There are lessons in everything we go through in life. I would also recommend using a timer to provide some structure to your free-writing.
Try a Prompt
Some people find it easier to begin writing when they are given a prompt that directs them to a topic, like writing assignments in high school when the teacher asked the class to describe their happiest or saddest childhood memories. I will sometimes use prompts to get my creative juices flowing, you can find plenty of websites dedicated to writing prompts.